The Trump Administration establishes Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park using innovative model for 21st Century park management

Last edited 03/12/2021

Date: Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — After years of advocacy by community members and with strong Congressional support, President Trump authorized the establishment of Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, when he signed the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017.  Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt took the last step necessary to formally establish Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park as the 422nd park to join the National Park System and the fourth new park created by the Trump Administration.

“The new Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park is another example of President Trump’s dedication to preserving our important national history for the benefit of present and future generations,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “This pre-Revolutionary War settlement along the banks of the Mississippi River provides a rich story of early French colonization, the increased British presence after the Louisiana Purchase and, later, German American settlers carving out a hard life on the American frontier.”

On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into public law the establishment of Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park “to preserve, protect, and interpret for the benefit of present and future generations the themes of French settlement, vernacular architecture and community form and farming on the frontier associated with Ste. Genevieve.” 

The newly formed park commemorates the early French settlement of Ste. Genevieve, which was the first organized European settlement west of the Mississippi River. In addition to telling the story of farming and community life on the frontier, the park also preserves the largest grouping of still-standing buildings in the iconic French Colonial architecture style that makes the area unique.

The President’s action authorizing the new park required that sufficient land be acquired for the park and that written agreements be in place providing for the land within the Historic District be managed consistent with the purposes of the park before the new national park unit could be added to the system.  Secretary Bernhardt has now completed those actions.

“We are excited about this partnership with the National Park Service and the designation of a new National Historical Park in Ste. Genevieve,” said Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “This opportunity will provide countless education and tourism benefits to the state of Missouri, including the preservation and interpretation of these nationally-recognized French heritage properties.” 

“Today, Ste. Genevieve is taking its rightful place among our nation’s most historically and culturally significant destinations,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (MO). “Establishing Ste. Genevieve as part of the National Park System has been a years-long effort and we owe this success to all of the local residents who have worked tirelessly to preserve and share this unique part of our state and nation’s history. I’ve been proud to champion this effort in the Senate and I appreciate Secretary Bernhardt’s support for getting this done. I hope more Americans will be encouraged to visit our nation’s newest national park and experience firsthand what life was like in French colonial America.”

“Today is possible thanks to the stalwart efforts of the community that has long protected these sites and told stories here. On behalf of the American people, we are proud to welcome Ste. Geneviève to the National Park System," said Margaret Everson, Counselor to the Secretary, exercising the delegated authority of the National Park Service Director."The leadership of President Trump, Senator Blunt and Representative Smith in securing the authorizing legislation, and our follow up work under Secretary Bernhardt’s direction, ensures Ste. Genevieve will be a place to educate and inspire for generations to come.”

"I’m so grateful and thankful for all the hard work and dedication that the partners and stakeholders have contributed over the years to make this a reality,” said City of Ste. Geneviève Mayor Paul Hassler. “I’m looking forward to the future and excited for the citizens of Ste. Genevieve as the dream of our own National Historical Park is now at hand.”

Since 2018, the NPS has acquired Bauvais-Amoureux House and Jean-Baptiste Valle House from Missouri State Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames. The NPS has also entered into agreements with the local government and other organizations to jointly manage Ste. Genevieve’s defining places and preserve its place in American history. Under this innovative partnership approach, the NPS will own and manage only a small number of facilities while providing technical assistance and historical education by park rangers.

Long recognized as a nationally significant place and history, Ste. Geneviève is one of the oldest National Historic Landmark districts in the country. The City of Ste. Geneviève was established after 1735 by French Canadian emigrants, who settled areas west of the Mississippi in search of fertile farmland and new opportunities. In the 1780’s, the original townsite was severely damaged by extensive flooding, leading to the creation of the present townsite on nearby higher ground. The original French habitants left a lasting impression on the community by way of their unique style of vernacular architecture, which adapted building practices brought from Normandy, France. Very few examples of this architecture are still visible today.

People are invited to visit the park and historic Ste. Genevieve Community. Park rangers are available to help orient visitors in the City Welcome Center each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more or plan your trip visit NPS.


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