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Ste. Genevieve (Hardcover)
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In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the French established forts, such as Fort de Chartres, in the mid-Mississippi Valley, as well as villages, such as River des Peres and Mine la Motte. Ste. Genevieve was founded in the late 1740s when French Canadians settled on the rich soil of the floodplain. They built homes, cultivated crops (including corn and cotton), and mined the rich veins of lead and the bluffs for stone. The great flood of 1785, referred to by early residents as l'annee des grandes eaux, swept away the tiny village, and the mighty Mississippi River reclaimed its riverbed, forcing residents to move their village several miles farther west to higher ground. Today much of the early French culture remains in the numerous 18th- and 19th-century Creole houses that line the ancient streets. Germans began to arrive in the early 1800s and left their mark using the abundant clay and limestone for brick buildings and limestone houses. Ste. Genevieve is dotted with landmarks: the famous Bolduc House, the "post-in-the-ground" Amoureux House, the Felix Valle House, and many other historic and architectural treasures.