Ste. Genevieve Historical District
Ste. Genevieve is the finest example of a French Colonial village in the United States. It was considered so important in representing the French Settlement and Exploration period of American history, the Advisory Board on National Park, Historic Sites, and Buildings and Monuments approved the designation of city of Ste. Genevieve as a National Historic Landmark in 1959. The eligibility was officially announced by the Secretary of the Interior in 1960 and the boundaries of the National Historic Landmark District were approved in 1970. The boundaries encompass most of the town are roughly: westerly on Market Street to Highway 61, northerly to 9th Street beyond Roberts to the Riverview Drive and extends to the Mississippi River to the east to the north boundary line extends to Riverview Drive (beyond Robert Street) and the southern boundary extends down St. Mary’s Road to the Highway 61 intersection; and includes the entire common (big) field area along the Mississippi River.
In recognition of historic resources, in 1969, the Board of Alderman of the City of Ste. Genevieve created the Ste. Genevieve Landmark Register which contains over 80 structures and sites of such age, unique design, time of construction and historic significance, that preservation was deemed important. The Register was ratified in 1993 and 2015 and contains “Landmarks” dating from 1770 to 1887. It also created a historic preservation commission to assure the preservation of historic structures and sites for future generations.
After the flood of 1993, the City acknowledged the significance of its historic structures and wanted to expand recognition of what was deemed historic. It prepared a nomination for a National Register Historic District which contained building, structures and sites representative of the history of the city from its founding in its current location in 1790 to the mid-twentieth century. Included within the district are a total of 824 buildings, including outbuildings. Of these buildings, 646 or 78% contribute to the district’s significance. The district comprises an entity that is significant under the National Register of Historic Places criteria A, C and D. The Ste. Genevieve National Register Historic District was officially entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
The National Register Historic District includes all those contiguous areas of Ste. Genevieve with a generally high level of architectural integrity areas in which substantial development occurred by 1951. The northern edge of the district is defined on the east by North Main Street and on the north by Roberts Street. The district extends west to Biltmore Street at the north edge, Seventh Street in the central section and Fourth Street in the southern section of the district. The southern portion of the district is generally defined by Seraphin Street and St. Mary’s Road. The eastern edge of the district is largely defined by North Main Street, St. Mary’s Road and Front Street. It is within the confines of the National Landmark District.
Because Ste. Genevieve recognizes the significance of its historic resources, the City has adopted a historic preservation ordinance and design guidelines to regulate any alterations, additions, construction or demolition on properties within the historic district. A set of these design guidelines may be picked up at City Hall from the Community Development Director. Prior to demolition, alteration, addition or construction is conducted within National Register Historic District, on a Landmark in the National Landmark District outside the National Register Historic District (known as the H-2 Historic District Overlay) or on a property within 185 feet of a Landmark, a Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) must first be obtained from the Ste. Genevieve Heritage Commission. The CoA application can be downloaded from the “Forms” page on the city’s website. Applications for a CoA are accepted and initially reviewed by the Community Development Administrator and must be submitted by the first Monday of each month to be included on that month’s Commission agenda.
In some instances, actions to historic properties are exempt from review or may be reviewed administratively. All demolitions are initially reviewed administratively and do require Board of Aldermen approval. Please contact the Community Development Department before you take any action. The Director will assist you in navigating the regulations.