Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park

Explore an intriguing chapter in Missouri’s history at the state’s newest national park. The St. Genevieve National Historical Park tells the story of the first permanent European settlement in Missouri and preserves some of the oldest and rarest French colonial architecture in the country.
 
More than 270 years ago, early French Canadian settlers were drawn to the area’s rich agricultural land known as Le Grand Champ (the Big Field) and established the town of Ste. Genevieve by 1750. After the flood of 1785, the town relocated to its present location on higher ground, approximately three miles northwest of its original site.
 
The new national park includes several historic buildings. The Amoureux House is a vertical log poteaux-en-terre (post in ground) structure built in 1792. Only five such houses still stand in the United States – and three are located in Ste. Genevieve. The Amoureux House stands as an architectural gem with a rich past. A former slave named Pelagie, who embraced life as a free woman, made the Amoureux House her home.
 
The Jean-Baptiste Valle House is noteworthy because of its association with the last political and military leader (commandant) of Ste. Genevieve before the American takeover in 1804. The grounds outside the house feature a prominent rose garden believed to be the first one located West of the Mississippi River.
 
The park’s Visitor Center includes exhibits and a detailed diorama that show how the French lived in the area and established the community of Ste. Genevieve. A 10-minute video introduces visitors to the town and its history. Park staff are available to answer questions and provide maps and information. Visitors can also reserve a time to tour the historic buildings.
 
The park was authorized by Congress in 2018 and was formally established as a unit of the National Park Service on Oct. 30, 2020. Work continues to add more historic properties to the park.
 
You can learn more about Ste. Genevieve’s early years at several locations in Ste. Genevieve including the Centre for French Colonial Life the Felix Valle State Historic Site.
 
Throughout the year, the town celebrates its past with a variety of festivals and events. Find details at https://www.visitstegen.com/.
 


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