Ste. Genevieve, sometimes known as Ste. Geneviève, is a city in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,476 people at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Ste. Genevieve County.
At the time of its founding Ste. Genevieve formed a sort of triangle of French control over the Illinois Country with Fort de Chartres the official capitol of the country about 5 miles northeast of Ste. Genevieve and Kaskaskia, Illinois (Illinois' first capital as a state) five miles southeast.
A census states that Ste. Genevieve was settled at least by the year 1752. Some accounts place the settlement there as early as 1722.
In 1763 the French ceded the land east of the Mississippi to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris that ended North America's French and Indian War and Europe's Seven Years' War. Creoles from Canada and east of the Mississippi flocked to Ste. Genevieve after George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which turned over all of the captured French land -- except Quebec -- into an Indian Reserve and ordered all settlers to leave or get British permission to stay.
After settling on the west bank the French and Creole settlers were to discover that France had also secretly turned over the west bank to Spain to form Louisiana (New Spain) via the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau (1762) although the community retained the French language and character. The capital of Upper Louisiana moved from Fort de Chartres 50 miles up the Mississippi to St. Louis, Missouri.
Following a flood in 1785 the town moved from its initial location immediately next to the Mississippi about a half mile inland and two miles north.
The oldest buildings of Ste. Genevieve, which are described as "French colonial", were all built during the Spanish rule. The most distinctive buildings during this period were the "vertical wooden post" constructions where walls of buildings were built based on slabs of wood "posts" either dug into the ground or on a raised stone or brick foundation, as opposed to the classic American log cabin where the logs are stacked horizontally.
Of the vertical slab houses the ones considered most distinctive are poteaux en terre ("posts-in-the-ground") where the walls made of upright wooden slabs do not support the floor. The floor is supported by separate stone pillars. The walls of these types of buildings, partially buried in earth, were extremely vulnerable to flood damage, termites and rot. Three of the five surviving poteaux en terre houses in the entire country are in Ste. Genevieve. The other two are Pascagoula, Mississippi, and near Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Most of the oldest buildings in the town are poteaux sur solle ("posts-on-a-sill") in which the wooden structure was placed on a raised stone or brick foundation. The town's oldest structure is the Bolduc House which was built as a small structure in 1770 at Ste. Genevieve's original riverfront location but was then moved and expanded in 1785.
Ste. Genevieve celebrates its heritage with an annual festival, Jour de Fete, celebrated the second weekend in August. The Ste. Genevieve-Modoc Ferry across the Mississippi River is nicknamed the "French Connection" because of its link to other French sites in the area.
There were 1,818 households out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 23.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,929, and the median income for a family was $43,125. Males had a median income of $31,546 versus $19,804 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,361. About 7.8% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.