Due to its proximity to fertile land and the Meramec River, the Fenton area has been inhabited for over 900 years. The earliest proof of ancient dwellers was excavated from the "Fenton Mounds", two conical, earthen burial mounds located near the southwestern border of Fenton. Diagnostic pottery shards from the mounds indicate they date from the Mississippian In 2001, the mounds were leveled for construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
The Fenton territory was occupied by Native Americans and early settlers in the 1770s. William Lindsay Long founded the city of Fenton on March 23, 1818. The original eight square block area is now referred to as "Old Towne Fenton". The city remained unincorporated for the next 130 years. Garrett Hitzert was the city's first mayor after the city incorporated in 1948, his leadership helped build the foundation that much of the city's ongoing prosperity has been based on. He conceived of Fenton's expansive commercial business district that is a centerpiece of the city's fiscal success.