176 pages; Ste. Genevieve, MO is a treasure trove of colonial history and historic architecture. Surprisingly, no true house guide book had ever been written about the town. That has all changed. Mark L. Evans' "The Commandant's Last Ride" includes photos and background on about 95 of the city's most historic buildings. Information is based on Historic American Buildings Survey findings and other sources accepted by the U.S. Department of Interior. The book also includes user-friendly neighborhood maps and a section on architectural gems lost during the past century.
Cementing the house descriptions is a fictitious narrative in which 89-year-old Jean Baptiste Valle, the last colonial era commandant of Ste. Genevieve, takes one final carriage ride around the rapidly-changing town shortly before his death in 1849. Valle, who took keelboats of furs to New Orleans, negotiated with Native American tribes and survived two monumental floods and the New Madrid Earthquakes, could reflect on more of the town's history than any other.
The book is a must for anyone contemplating visiting Ste. Genevieve and is ideal for anyone interested in the early history of the Louisiana Territory or in historic architecture. (Ste. Genevieve has more French Creole buildings now than any city in North America.) It also includes original artwork by two outstanding Missouri artists.