Ice houses were common in Rocheport. Ice was cut from the river and creek each winter and used the rest of the year. Used by permission of State Historical Society of Missouri.
1804 - Land Before the Town
Prior to its settlement, American Indians used the area we now call Rocheport. The closeness to the river, fertile soils, both salt and freshwater springs, and the protection given by the huge bluffs, rock overhangs and caves were a natural lure for early travelers. The Rocheport area is noted in the journals of Lewis and Clark during their 1804-1906 expedition.
Birth of a River Town
John Gray operated a horse ferry here after arriving in 1819. In 1825, Gray advertised his land for sale in the Missouri Intelligencer. The buyers platted Rocheport in 1832. Rocheport was first intended to be named Rockport. It was changed to Rocheport at the insistence, it is said, of a French missionary who was in the area in 1825 when the town was surveyed. The name means rocky port.
By 1835, there were eight stores in Rocheport. 1837 brought new ferry boats that could carry passengers across the river without delay as they traveled from eastern to western parts of the state. Rocheport became an important landing place and ferry crossing for the Boonslick region.