October 30, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) and U.S. Representative Jason Smith (Mo.) today announced that U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt has completed the final step to formally establish the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park. Blunt and Smith led the legislation, which was signed into law in March 2018, to establish the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park and designate it as a unit of the National Park System. This is the first National Historical Park to be established in Missouri.
“Today, Ste. Genevieve is taking its rightful place among our nation’s most historically and culturally significant destinations,” said Blunt. “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.”
“So many people have worked so hard on this project for so long,” said Smith. “It was my great pleasure to lead the efforts in Congress along with Senator Blunt to establish this historic national park. I applaud the good folks of Ste. Genevieve for their vision to share their city’s rich history. Ste. Genevieve is a jewel in the 8th Congressional District and now, the world will surely come to know why as visitors discover its roots and the thriving community it is today.”
“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.”
Blunt and Smith first introduced
legislation to make Ste. Genevieve a national park in 2016.
The NPS released its final Ste. Genevieve Special Resource Study in May 2016,
which found that portions of the Ste. Genevieve historic district met the
criteria for inclusion in the National Park System.
Blunt and Smith reintroduced the legislation in June 2017. It passed the
House in February 2018 and the Senate in March 2018.
In May of this year, Missouri State Representative Dale Wright led the state legislative effort, along with State Senator Wayne Wallingford, to authorize state-owned historical homes in Ste. Genevieve to be placed under the direction of the National Park Service.
The village of Ste. Genevieve dates back to the early 1700s, making it Missouri’s oldest town. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960, also making it one of the oldest National Historic Landmark districts in the country. It is known for its centuries-old homes featuring unique French vertical log architecture.