"Mother City of The West", Ste. Genevieve
"Ste. Genevieve, A Rich Blend of Cultures"
As Jill and I entered Ste. Genevieve, all we saw at first was the tall spire of a Church. At that time, we had not yet learned the history of the town and its French Catholic influence. Now, we realize the symbolic significance of that towering Catholic Church spire.
Ste. Genevieve was founded by the French Catholic Canadians who moved from Canada to avoid living under British rule. They came first to the EAST SIDE OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER to what is now Kaskaskia. Later, these colonists moved across the river to settle on the WEST BANK of the Mississippi.
The Catholic influence is quite apparant in the town's name of Ste. Genevieve; named after Sainte Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, one cannot help but notice the architectural and cultural influences of these French colonists.
Because of constant flooding, the village searched for a new site three miles higher up, which is the current Ste. Genevieve. These settlers were attracted to this area because of the LEAD DEPOSITS
30 miles to the west and of the SALT from Saline Springs to the south. Additionally, the surrounding forests provided both food and furs. Locating on the river gave them a port for transportation and trade. But, most of all, the fertile soil called "le grand champ' (the Big Field) gave them rich earth to farm, and it is still being farmed today!
In 1762, France ceded all of her holdings west of the Mississippi River to Spain. For a period of time, the Spanish ruled here; yet, the French influence and language remained strong. Later, for a short period, the French regained power, but in 1803, the Louisiana Purchase made this French speaking town part of the United States. So, Ste. Genevieve has been under the rule of three flags.
In the 1830's German immigrants moved into and around Ste. Genevieve. These Germans were farmers who moved here because of the fertile soil. Most of these Germans were Roman Catholic; thus, their relationship with the French Canadians was a good one.
Currently, Ste. Genevieve reflects the influence of the French, the Spanish, and the Germans.
Thus, Ste. Genevieve is a rich blend of many cultures and architectual styles. As we investigated the town, we saw the French -Colonial style with its VERTICAL logs as well as the charming BRICK homes of the Germans.
So, if you have plans to come to the state of Missouri, I strongly advise you to include Ste. Genevieve in your agenda. It is such a lovely, charming village (of about 5,000 people) where you are able to step back in time, slow down, and soak up the history, the culture, and the beauty.
"Spring in Ste. Genevieve"
The first day Jill and I arrived inSte. Genevieve. we parked the car beside a lovely tree with enormous pink blooms. Neither one of us had ever seen such a tree.
The next time we came (only 3 days later), all the blooms had dropped to the sidewalk. Nevertheless, St. Genevieve appeared to be a fair maiden wearing her pink gown on that first day--a vision of Springtime.
"It's a Tradition While On Vacation"
For those of you who have read many of my pages, you know it's a tradition for me to be photographed eating ice cream.
St. Genevieve was no exception! I have a tip about this wonderful ice cream shop under Restaurant Tips.