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Our Story

Our Story

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As Missouri’s oldest permanent European settlement, the village of Ste. Geneviève was settled by French Canadians around 1735 on the west bank of the Mississippi River about two miles south of its present location.

The village was one of several important French communities forming a region known as the Illinois Country, part of the vast territory held by France in North America at the time. 

In 1763, after the French and Indian War ended, France ceded all of its holdings west of the Mississippi River to Spain. Despite the transfer and new Spanish government in the region, Ste. Geneviève retained its distinctive French character and language.

Much of Historic Ste. Geneviève’s charm and ambiance are due to the remarkable preservation of the original colonial settlement. Its narrow streets and fenced gardens surround some of the most significant eighteenth-century architecture in the nation.

These French Colonial-style buildings were constructed from massive, hand-hewn logs that were set vertically to form the walls...

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of the home. Heavy timbers were mortised and pegged into sturdy trusses that supported the impressive double-hipped roof covering the house and its wide galleries or porches.
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 propelled Ste. Geneviève into another chapter in its storied history. Its French-speaking residents suddenly found themselves citizens of the newly expanded United States.
Soon the rush of Americans into the Louisiana Territory left its mark in Ste. Geneviève as well. Merchants, lawyers, and entrepreneurs soon settled in the village, building their homes and businesses...
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among the old French houses. Thus creating the curious mix of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century architecture found today.
Ste. Geneviève’s love affair with the arts began long before the beginnings of its renowned 1930s Art Colony. Today the town is filled with art displays of all types: paintings, poured pewter, thrown pottery, and even hi-tech computer art.
Ste. Geneviève’s National Landmark Historic District offers visitors an unparalleled glimpse into its colonial past. Now under development for becoming a National Historical Park, we are excited to welcome the National Park Service into our community.
Ste. Geneviève’s residents and organizations join together to preserve and interpret this most remarkable community for you to enjoy!

of the home. Heavy timbers were mortised and pegged into sturdy trusses that supported the impressive double-hipped roof covering the house and its wide galleries or porches.

The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 propelled Ste. Geneviève into another chapter in its storied history. Its French-speaking residents suddenly found themselves citizens of the newly expanded United States.

Soon the rush of Americans into the Louisiana Territory left its mark in Ste. Geneviève as well. Merchants, lawyers, and entrepreneurs soon settled in the village, building their homes and businesses among the old French houses. Thus creating the curious mix of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century architecture found today.

Ste. Geneviève’s love affair with the arts began long before the beginnings of its renowned 1930s Art Colony. Today the town is filled with art displays of all types: paintings, poured pewter, thrown pottery, and even hi-tech computer art.
Ste. Geneviève’s National Landmark Historic District offers visitors an unparalleled glimpse into its colonial past. Now including a National Historical Park along with a State Historic Site and our non-profit partners, we are excited to welcome you into our community.
Ste. Geneviève’s residents and organizations join together to preserve and interpret this most remarkable community for you to enjoy!

What People Say

Did the Learning Museum today with our 22-month-old grandson. He loved the dinosaurs. Very nice experience. Highly recommend the Museum. We will go back to see the history exhibits. -- Dena S.
Loved this place. We went yesterday and the kids loved it. -- Rick S.
Love Sainte Genevieve. It's a beautiful town with very friendly people... -- Mildred
Ste Gen is like stepping onto a move set and back in time! It’s a rare place with so much to do. We needed more than a week, so we’ll be back… very soon. -- Phillip
Ste Gen was a great place for our entire family! We loved the tours and wineries, and the kids were SO excited about the dinosaur museum and sweet shops. Ste Genevieve’s water park is now their favorite water park, even with a water park only minutes from our house in Cape Girardeau. -- Abby
Very detailed diorama of old St Genevieve town. Lots of brochures for sightseeing places. Informative ranger. -- Laura H.