If you love history, architecture, and restoration, then you will be so excited to visit wonderful Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.
Before you start a tour, be sure to stop by the Great River Road Interpretive Center Tourist Information Office which is located on the corner of Market and Main Streets. There, you will be able to see a film about Ste. Genevieve, tour the exhibits on display, and gather up any advertisements, flyers, and maps about area shops, tourist attractions, restaurants, and places to stay.
Their phone # is (573) 883-7097
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has designated some homes in Ste. Genevieve as State Historic Sites..
The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America take care of some other landmarks in Ste. Genevieve.
Fondest memory: My favorite memory of Sainte Genevieve is the house tours that Jill and I took. Here is a list of places to see on a self tour:
1. Great River Road Interpretive Center
Tourist Information Office
2. Guibourd-Valle House
4. Shaw House
5. Felix Valle Historic Site
6. Beauvais House
7. Bolduc House
8. Bolduc-LeMeilleur House
9. Green Tree (Janis-Ziegler House)
10.St. Gemme-Amoureaux House
11. Bequette-Ribault House
The second time that Jill and I visited Ste. Genevieve, we visited the Bolduc House, a National Historic Landmark which was built about 1785 by Louis Bolduc. He used some timbers from the owner's earlier home located in the original village of Ste. Genevieve.
The woman who took us on the tour was a real history buff, and her enthusiasm was so contagious. She told us that this home is owned by The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, a private organization. It represents the French Colonial period. She went into detail about the construction of this home. The structure's VERTICAL-LOG WALLS are "mortised into massive sills that rest on a limestone foundation (a poteaux-sur-sole construction).
The home has a double pitched hip roof that is supported by a series of heavy oak timbers that constitute a Norman truss system.
We were told that the Bolduc House is thought to be the first most authentically restored Creole house in the nation. It has been accurately restored with original 18th century furnishings, living quarters, and stockade fence (Settlers built fortress-like fences made of cedar to keep free-roaming cattle from trampling the gardens; they also served as protection from the Osage Indians).
It also has an 18th century French herb garden and a grape arbor.
Fondest memory: The greatest thing about this tour was the woman who conducted it. She brought it to life, telling us that the Bolduc House is a "architectural treasure".
The gift shop was also delightful, and the tour guide and Jill talked about the " Quimper faience".
I loved the gardens and the fact that we could spend as much time in them as possible. I also enjoyed seeing the original kitchen (Bake House) which was built away from the home for fear of fire. It is made of stone with a huge hearth; today it is used to work with the herbs that come from the lovely herb gardens.
Another great feature is the Covered Well. It was the first Covered Well that I have seen.
One of the ways that people can find out about the history of a place is to wander in old cemeteries. Memorial Cemetery is known as Missouri's 'oldest' cemetery.
One of the people buried in Memorial Cemetery in Ste. Genevieve is Lewis Linn. Linn studied medicine and served in the war of 1812 as a surgeon. After the war, he located his practice in Sainte Genevieve in the Missouri Territory. He was elected to the State senate in 1827, appointed to the French Land Claims Commission in Missouri in 1832; appointed and subsequently elected as a Jacksonian (later Democrat) to the US Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Alexander Buckner. He was chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims (Twenty-fourth through Twenty-sixth Congresses), was on the Committee on Agriculture (Twenty-seventh Congress). Four states named counties in his honor: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oregon. Also named for him is West Linn, a city in Clackamas County, Oregon because Senator Linn had advocated the American occupation of Oregon as a counterclaim to the British.
Fondest memory: We spent some time wandering around the cemetery and taking photos which was when I found the memorial to Dr. Linn. You can stroll through the park and read the interpretive panels. This National Landmark site is managed and maintained by the Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve, Inc, which is a non-profit organization striving to protect and preserve the area's historic heritage and its structures. Free