If an epic were to be written about the pioneers who settled at Clarksville, the Mississippi River would play an important part in the story. It is the cornerstone upon which the town was built. Records show that a number of white men passed by the site of Clarksville in their exploration of the Mississippi River. The two earliest were Frenchmen: Pere Marquette, a Jesuit missionary and Louis Joliet, a fur trader.
According to the Pike County Atlas, Clarksville was built on the site of an old stockade, erected during the indian trouble at the time of the War of l812. The business district today is listed on the National Register. Its significant buildings form continuous street frontages on both sides of Howard Street and from 107 South Front Street to 115 North Front Street. Most of the storefronts on Howard Street are intact, and those on Front Street (now called First Street) have alterations of primarily superficial nature. It should be noted, however, that only 101 and 103 North Front may date before the Civil War, while the entire south half of the district was rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1901.
Today, some of these same buildings are standing in the historic downtown area of Clarksville. At the Clarksville Visitor Center, you can pick up the "Guide to Historic Downtown Clarksville" and learn what the buildings originally housed and see what they are used for today.