Historic Structures on the Campus of The Centre for French Colonial Life in Ste. Genevieve, MO
The Louis Bolduc House
The “crown jewel” of our campus, this French vertical log house was thought for decades to have been constructed in the 1790s, but recent research has shown that a part of the house more than likely dates from the late 1780s, while the south half dates from around 1793-1794. It was lived in by members of the Bolduc family until 1949 when the NSCDA-MO purchased it, restored it, and opened it in 1958 as a house museum. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1970, the only structure in the town of Ste. Genevieve to ever receive such a designation.
The Francois Valle II House
For many years, there has been an interesting debate on what this house was. One side argues that Francois Valle II, Commandant of the new town of Ste. Genevieve, lived here. Another side argues that it was an out-building of his, perhaps a kitchen or slave house. In 2016, an archaeological dig uncovered strong evidence that the building that stands now was an addition to a pre-existing structure, probably the residence of Francois Valle II, which is believed to have been destroyed in the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12.
Our plans are to keep the house’s current appearance, but to utilize cutaway wall sections and explanatory panels to illustrate the building's transformation over the centuries: the house will become part of an exhibit that will demonstrate archaeology both above and below the ground.
The Bolduc-LeMeilleur House
The Bolduc-LeMeilleur house was built ca. 1820 for René and Agatha (née Bolduc) LeMeilleur. When compared to the adjacent Bolduc house and its contents, this frame-construction building and its furnishings highlight changes that took place in everyday life in Ste. Genevieve over the course of only a few decades.
Later it became the convent school for the Sisters of Loretto before a second story was added for the Detchmendy Hotel The second floor and other historical detail was destroyed in 1970, when the house was returned to an early-19th century configuration by Dr. Ernest Connally. It was then given, furnished as a period house, to the NSCDA-MO by the Mississippi Lime Co. in memory of Mrs. Matthews. Today, in addition to the period room illustrating the tastes and furnishing styles of the early 19th century, the house includes a room that is periodically used for living history experiences.
The Beauvais-Linden House
Built circa 1820, the two rooms along the north side of the house constitute the original vertical log structure, while the second floor and the rooms south of the hallway were added over various dates.
This building housed gift shop, offices, and archives until 2018; at that time, those functions were moved to the Exhibit and Education Centre, and the Linden house was converted into the Centre for French Colonial Life Hands-On History House.
Located at 116 S. Main Street in Ste. Genevieve -- directly across from the Bolduc and LeMeilleur houses -- the Hands-On History House offers special group programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays and is open to the public on Saturdays during May through September, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On these "Pay-what-you-wish" Saturdays, there is no specific admission charge to get into the Linden grounds and house, but you may leave a donation if you like, and certain activities, such as tomahawk throwing*, do have a minor fee. The programming at the house on Saturdays includes a variety of fun and educational French-themed activities for kids, music, arts and crafts projects, and living history demonstrations. Visitors can experience colonial-era crafts and skills, discover aspects of everyday life by “shopping” in our recreated store, learn about French culture and language in our 18th century school room, and so much more! For information call our programs department at
*Must be age 8 and up, and closed-toed shoes required.
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