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.
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.
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.
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.