Thursday, 4 September 2014

Learning about French America

We recently went on a camping trip near the town of St. Genevieve which is known for its French colonial architecture and vast french history.  St Genevieve is the oldest settlement of Missouri founded in 1735 by the French  and settled as the area was rich in lead and salt.

The oldest buildings in town are built in what is considered the French Creole style also known as pot eau en terre which means posts in ground which  is very different from the rest of the colonial homes during this period
Majority of homes had wrapped around porches with mini stairs leading up to the roof which had storage space.

This home is currently being restored and should be available for viewing soon 

This is called the Bolduc house and is quite famous.  We went on a tour of the home and saw how the interior was constructed as well as decorated.  The fence around the home was common for this era as it was a means to keep out thieves and livestock that roams the town unattended according to the guide

While the home appears large it only has 2 large rooms inside.   This side housed the dining room and was used for entertaining guests

This ornate box is called the bread box and it has a key that the lady of the house had to keep people from eating the bread before meal times.

I like this old chair which could also serve as an extra table if needed

This mirror was the oldest item in the home dating back to the mid 1700's

The other side of the house was the bedroom, here all the adults, children and even guest stayed when visiting

closet and some of the items they may have had

Between the two large main rooms was the owners office

his scales

the French creole homes is known for it unique roof and could be used as additional storage

Another unique design was the upright posts with some at a slight angle to help with the stability of the home during storms.

Outside of the home housed a well, bread oven, servant quarters and extensive gardens

we saw a bread box which is where bread dough was placed so that it could raise before being baked.

Interesting wheelbarrow from that period

The next home we visited was the Felix Valle home and store.  

One side of this house held the general store and here the kids are examining the many animal pelts we found

bolts of fabric

Lead was very important during this period and this lead bar was found in the back yard and it is thought to have been mislaid somehow as it would not have been thrown out as it was very valuable.

The interior of the was much grander than the other home as this family was extremely wealthily

I really like this picture on glass, forget what it is called

The inside of the house again had only 2 main living areas.  the bedrooms were accessed out on the porch by this small staircase.  the bedrooms are being worked on so we were not able to tour this area

Kids spotted a outhouse

size of the wash basin

This small building housed the laundry room and the slave quarters

wooden shoes

looking at the gardens

We learned quite a bit about how the french colonial people lived in this area and how they feared the invasion of the British.  In fact Napoleon handed over this area to the Spanish to rule for 30-40 years before reclaiming it and selling it to Thomas Jefferson.  A period of history I need to read more about.


  1. One has to wonder how they managed to have children if everyone slept in one room. Did they sneak off elsewhere or did the kids just get to listen in???? I do love that table chair thing. Some furniture manufacturer should start making those again!

  2. What a fun trip!
    You are amazing, Anna-Marie!!!!!!!

  3. I love field trips like this. I agree the chair to table feature is kind of cool.

  4. Your adventures are amazing. i really enjoy colonial history and i loved the pictures and explanations. This is a place i would love to visit sometime.
    Blessings for sharing this one!