ST. LOUIS — Work on the long-stalled Ballpark Village is finally heating up, but a history professor says it's the site of a historic battle and hopes it's not too late for the owner to bring historians to the site.
Ground-clearing work is under way in preparation for the area of shops and restaurants near St. Louis' Busch Stadium expected to open in about a year.
But St. Louis Community College-Meramec professor Michael Fuller told KMOX Radio that the site is where the "Battle of St. Louis," also known as the "Battle of Fort San Carlos," took place 233 years ago. Several Native American tribes brought together by the British attacked Fort San Carlos, which was held by the French. As many as 2,000 warriors advanced on Fort San Carlos on May 26, 1780.
Fuller worries that artifacts such as arrowheads, cannonballs, even bones, might be lost for good without an opportunity for an archaeologist to explore the site.
"The early French city of St. Louis had a wall that enclosed it on three sides, and the fourth side was the Mississippi River," Fuller, one of the foremost experts on the battle, said.
French forces used a cannon to fight off the attackers — even after running out of cannonballs.
"So they loaded that cannon up with broken glass and nails and everything they could," Fuller said. "It was actually more effective than a cannonball at that point in time."
The fort, and St. Louis, survived.
Eventually, the old Busch Stadium was built at the site. It was demolished when the new ballpark opened in 2006.