Built in 1818, it was the home of Felix & Odile Pratte Valle; they were from one of Ste. Genevieve's premier colonial families.
Jill and I saw this on our first visit to Ste. Genevieve and feel lucky to have had as our tour guide, Art Papin, who has lived in Ste. Genevieve his whole life and can trace his ancestors back to the first settlers. He was quite well versed on the Felix Valle home, the rest of the Landmark sites in Ste. Genevieve, and the area surrounding the town.
This home is a Federal-style (built of native limestone) building. It has been restored to its original configuration and thus has two doors, one for the mercantile store of the historic trading firm of Menard and Valle.This side has been authentically restocked, and Art pointed out what all the items were. Of course, the second door was for the family's living
quarters. This side is furnished with early Empire furnishings as well as original mantels and interior trim.
There is a back porch staircase that leads to the second story bedrooms. In addition, there is a garden and some original brick and frame outbuildings.
Art also took us across the street to the Dr. Benjamin Shaw house. The white frame building was constructed in 1819 by Jean Baptiste Bossier as a storehouse for his mercantile business. But, he sold the house to Dr. Benjamin Shaw in 1837. Shaw was a local physician, and he made additions to a small building to use as a residence. His wife, Emilie, lived in that home for more than 50 years.
Then we visited the gift shop where I purchased a small booklet about Ste. Genevieve's history.
Guided tours are available daily for a fee.
The brochures say, "The history of winemaking in Ste. Genevieve County is long and rich. French settlers in the 1700s found the calcium-rich limestone soils, rolling hillsides and temperate climate to be very conducive to the craft of winemaking. German immigrants in the 1800s brought their own winemaking traditions and preferences to the area. Today, many descendants of those early pioneers continue the traditions of home winemaking, while commercial vineyards and wineries welcome visitors year round."
Travel Guides place Ste. Genevieve in the section of Missouri called WINE COUNTRY.
I've read about five different Vineyards in the region:
1. Chaumette Vineyards & Winery
24345 State Route WW
Heritage of France runs deep at Chaumette Vineyards in the "heart of Ste. Genevieve County." It is located on 310 acres. You can join them for vineyard and winery tours, and wine classes are also available.
2. Crown Valley Winery
23589 State Route WW
Extensive selection of wines. Located on 125 acres of vineyards. Guided tour of winery and vineyards and tastings. They have a Tasting Bar, Gift Shop, Deli, Indoor and Outdoor Seating and Life Music.
3. Cave Vineyards
21084 Cave Road
OPENING SUMMER OF 2004
4. Sainte Genevieve Winery
(See Shopping Tip)
5. Charleville Vineyards
16937 Boyd Road
Tasting hours: Wed-Sun.
Noon until 5:00 pm
Family owned vineyard located off of Highway WW near Coffman. Near Saline Creek Valley
See a working vineyard.
Tasting room opened in summer 2003.
So, if Wine is your passion, tour the Vineyards of Ste. Genevieve County.
The present Catholic Church with its towering spire began construction in 1876 and was completed in 1880. However, the original Catholic church was built of VERTICAL LOGS in the 1750s at the town's first location close to the Mississippi River. In 1794 that log structure was moved to this present location, and then it was enlarged.
In the 1830s, a STONE church was built on this site. But the town was still in need of a much larger structure, so, the parish constructed the BRICK church AROUND the old stone one!
Interesting, the pillars in the present church are really the stone of the walls of the former rock church. (If only these pillars could talk).
This present-day church seems imposing as it is perched on a hill and towers over the village.
Free admission into the church.
Note: This picture of the church was taken by Jill Martin who was with me on the trip.
Before you delve into the house tours, shopping, and photo taking, stop by the Ste. Genevieve Museum. It contains many different collections of local memorabilia. You can see prehistoric and historic Indian relics, Spanish land grants, old documents, and artifacts from Missouri's first industry, the Saline Creek Salt Works. There is also a scale model of the Mississippi River Railroad Transfer Boat, "The Ste. Genevieve."
Since there is a gift shop on site, you may wish to browse or purchase items.
This museum is open daily
There is a small admission fee
Note: This photo was taken by Jill Martin who was on this trip with me.
We went to the Welcome Center and saw the short video film, but most of the buildings are closed in the winter.
Hours: Everyday from 9a.m.-5p.m.
Afterward we drove around town and I took photos of the outside of the buildings.
This is where the early pioneers were buried. But some of the old stones are hard to read. When we were there, some of the stones were broken and lying on the ground and some had been repaired in in-appropriate ways.
This land was originally given to the 'Catholic Citizens' of Ste. Genevieve by the Spanish Government. Between 3500 and 5000 Catholics, non-Catholics, Native Americans and African American slaves are buried here.
It is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark