Episode 318: Ste Genevieve National Historical Park

About 620 miles north of New Orleans and 62 miles south of St. Louis, sits the town of Ste. Geneviéve, Missouri.

Established in 1750 by the French, Ste. Geneviéve reveals much about what it was like to establish a colony in the heartland of North America and what it was like for colonists to live so far removed from seats of imperial power.

Claire Casey, a National Park Service interpretative ranger at the Ste. Geneviéve National Historical Park, joins us to explore the early American history of Ste. Geneviéve.

This episode is supported by an American Rescue Plan grant to the Omohundro Institute from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.

Episode Summary

Claire Casey, a National Park Service interpretative ranger at the Ste. Geneviéve National Historical Park, joins us to explore the early American history of Ste. Geneviéve, Missouri.

During our exploration, Claire reveals information about the Ste. Geneviéve National Historical Park and how Ste. Geneviéve became a National Park Service site. Details about early American life in Ste. Geneviéve and why the French established this frontier settlment. And, how and why Ste. Geneviéve changed imperial hands three times between France, Spain, and the United States.

What You’ll Discover

  • Ste. Geneviėve National Historical Park
  • How historic places become National Historical Parks
  • Historic sites within the Ste. Geneviėve National Historical Park
  • Interpreting the historic sites of Ste. Geneviėve
  • Work of National Park Service interpretive rangers
  • Native American history of Ste. Geneviėve Site
  • Why the French settled in Missouri
  • How Ste. Geneviéve connected with the French colonial world
  • Life in colonial Ste. Geneviéve
  • Trade between colonial Ste. Geneviéve and Osage communities
  • Slavery in colonial Ste. Geneviéve
  • Life for the enslaved in colonial Ste. Geneviéve
  • Code Noir in Ste. Geneviéve
  • The Seven Years’ War and Ste. Geneviéve
  • The transition from French to Spanish territory
  • The American Revolution and Ste. Geneviéve
  • Imperial life of Ste. Geneviéve
  • The Flood of 1785
  • Rebuilding Ste. Geneviéve
  • The Louisiana Purchase and American governance
  • The U.S. presence in Ste. Geneviéve

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Complementary Episodes

Episode 102: William Nester, George Rogers Clark and the Fight for the Illinois Country
Episode 108: Ann Little, The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright
Episode 120: Marcia Zug, Mail Order Brides in Early America
Episode 139: Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery
Episode 308: Jessica Marie Johnson, Slavery and Freedom in French Louisiana

Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question


In your opinion, what might have happened if Ste. Geneviėve had remained entirely under French governance until 1804? How might the life and culture of the Ste. Geneviėve community have been different?

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