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Ste. Geneviève Architecture

A Poteaux-sur-sol or Poteaux-en-terre
Q What are two examples of timber construction methods in Ste. Geneviève used for French colonial structures?

Ste. Geneviève is one of the few surviving homes of these two timber construction methods, poteaux-sur-sol and poteaux-en-terre. Both methods are comprised of closely spaced vertical posts or poteaux.

Poteaux-sur-sol or “posts-on-a-sill” is timber framing in which relatively closely spaced vertical posts rest on a timber sill. While in poteaux-en-terre or “posts-in-the-earth” the vertical posts rest directly into the ground.

Ste. Geneviève Marble…

Protecting Our Founding Documents

Did you know a part of Ste. Geneviève is being used today to protect the United States’ founding documents. Yes, it is! Ste. Geneviève is famous for stone particularly limestone, sandstone, and Ste. Geneviève marble. This marble has been used as decorative panels in buildings across America. Most notably, it is used to protect the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution at the National Archives in Washington DC. Visitors can view an example of the marble in the local post office.

Wine Country…

The Ste. Geneviève Grape

During the 1800s, Ste. Geneviève had its own type of grape. It went by various names, Ste. Geneviève, Amoureux, Red Elben, and American Rulander. It was grown extensively in the Hermann MO and Ohio areas. Today, it is no longer grown.

Ste. Geneviève people have been making wine for its entire existence. Originally, the early French made wine from wild grapes growing up in the trees. The phrase, making the vintage with a hatchet, referred to the practice of cutting down trees in order to get to the grapes. The wine was also made from local fruits and berries.

Many locals still make their own wine. Today, Ste. Geneviève County is home to numerous wineries along the Route de Vin Trail.

Historic Roads…

The Roads Less Traveled

Ste. Geneviève County is home to three historic roads.
Three Notch Road: The earliest was the Three Notch Road that went from Ste. Geneviève to the lead mines at Mine la Motte. 

The King’s Road: The second road was started in 1779 and became known as the King’s Road, or El Camino Real in Spanish, and eventually Kingshighway. There is a rural portion of this road north of downtown Ste. Geneviève that visitors can drive. 

The Plank Road: The third historic highway was the 1852 Ste. Geneviève, Iron Mountain, and Plank Road. Constructed of wood, it was the longest such road built in Missouri and was used primarily to haul iron products from Iron Mountain west of present-day Farmington to Ste. Genevieve for transshipment on the river. 

Visitors can drive a rural portion of Lime Kiln Road west of Ste. Geneviève.

Ste. Geneviève…

The Patron Saint of Paris

Did you know the “Ste” in Ste. Geneviève is the abbreviated form of Sainte because the town is named after a French female saint? Ste. Geneviève lived around 400 AD and was well-loved by the French. She is known as the patron saint of Paris since she is attributed to having saved Paris from Attila the Hun.

The Church of Ste. Geneviève has a large statue of her above the front doors, a side altar dedicated to her, and a famous painting “The Vows of Ste. Geneviève” which is purported to have been given to the parish by King Louis XV. 

Art Colony…



Post Marked!

A wall in the local post office was the canvas for a special mural commissioned by the federal government. As post offices were being built around the country in the early 1900s, 10% of the budget was directed towards art.

Around the same time, Ste. Geneviève established its own Art Colony similar to the one in Providence, Rhode Island.

Members included: Jessie Beard Rickly, Thomas Hart Benton, Aimee Schweig, Miriam McKinnie, Martyl Schweig Langsdorf, Sister Cassiana Marie, Joseph Meert, Bernard E. Peters, E. Oscar Thalinger, and Matthew E. Ziegler 

Today, Ste. Geneviève has an Art Guild. There are also art galleries, art walks, opportunities to participate in Plein Air, “in the open air” painting, and a variety of art-related activities throughout the year.

Literary Influences… 

The Walls Do Talk In Ste. Geneviève

While not known as the birthplace of any literary figures, Ste. Geneviève has hosted its fair share of authors. The Green Tree Tavern was once the destination for writers passing through town.

Henri Brackenridge, a 7-year-old boy from Pittsburgh was sent to Ste. Geneviève in 1793 for three years to learn French. He describes Ste. Geneviève in his book Recollections of Person and Places in the West and on his return to Ste. Geneviève in 1811, commented, “A sign on the other side of the Gabarie having caught my eye, I resolved to make for it – in former times private hospitality was the only dependence of the traveler.”

Other authors who enjoyed the “private hospitality” of Ste. Geneviève were Thomas Ashe and John Maley.

Ste. Geneviève’s Memorial Cemetery…

The Final Resting Place

Considered the oldest cemetery in Missouri, the Memorial Cemetery is home to around 275 tombstones while the number of people buried there is between 3500 to 5000.

Among those individuals are a US senator and his wife who have been buried 3 TIMES! It’s also the final resting place for Missouri’s first United States representative. 

The wide range of peoples interred in the Memorial Cemetery are indicative of the confluence of Ste. Geneviève’s population.

The cemetery was a communal burying ground including early pioneers – Africans both enslaved and free, Native Americans, both American Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers, and a mass burial site for victims of a local steamboat explosion among others.

Local Cuisine…

Foodie Alert

Don’t forget to satisfy your palette with some local cuisine. Here are a couple of local treats on the opposite ends of the culinary spectrum.

Oberle Dog

A little butcher shop on the outskirts of Ste. Geneviève is home to the famous Oberle sausage, or as it’s more commonly known the Oberle Dog. The Oberle Dog is courtesy of Ste. Geneviève’s German heritage. Germans from the Southern Black Forest region immigrated here from the 1830s to the 1870s when the Oberle family brought their sausage recipe to the area.

Nuts for Ste. Geneviève – Pecans

If you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, try some pralines made from the pecans of the Carya illinoinensis tree. Known for its naturally sweet taste, this pecan tree is native to Missouri and can be found growing in the deep alluvial soils of the Mississippi River.

The Perfume of Flowers…

“Flat-boatmen drifting down the river at night could know when they are passing Ste. Geneviève by the perfume of the flowers wafted across the river.” ~New York Times Aug 22, 1935 Page 14

Staying true to their past, the sweet smells of perfume still waft in Ste. Geneviève. Enjoy the colonial gardens at the Felix Valle, J. B. Valle, and the Bolduc houses, as well as several mini-gardens located around town. Also, the Master Gardeners of Ste. Geneviève hosts garden walks and tours each year.

An enduring symbol of Ste. Geneviève’s French culture, the fleur de lis, is based on the lily, the official town flower. Fleur de Lis can be seen all over Ste. Geneviève.

John James Audubon…

Following Nature In Her Walks

“During all these years there existed within me a tendency to follow Nature in her walks.”
~ John James Audubon

That “tendency” inspired the naturalist and ornithologist, John James Audubon to follow Nature when he came to Ste. Geneviève in 1812.

After a brief stint as a storekeeper with his business partner Ferdinand Rozier, Audubon soon abandoned that venture for the work that would define his life.

Visitors can learn more about this visionary in the lobby of the hotel named after him.

Hikers can “follow Nature in her walks” in the same scenic areas Audubon did – Hawn State Park, Pickle Springs, Hickory Canyon, and Magnolia Hollow. And closer to town, visit the Ste. Geneviève Levee Wildlife Refuge and Lake Audubon in Ste. Geneviève.