The Jean Baptiste Vallé House was constructed in 1794 and served as a private home until 2010. Over the course of those 200 years the home and community shifted as the territory transformed from Spanish to French to American. The house reflects some of these transformations through renovations, additions and restoration projects that allowed the home to better suit the families that resided there. The Vallé family who first resided in the house played a role in guiding Ste. Genevieve through its many transitions.
Jean Baptiste Vallé is best known as the last commandant of Ste. Genevieve, a title he and several of his family members held. The commandant was the civil and military leader within Ste. Genevieve and served as a point of contact for the colonial governors and the everyday townspeople. The first Vallé to hold the position was Jean Baptiste’s father, Francois. Francois Vallé started as just the head of the militia but following the French success in the battle of St. Louis, in 1780, he was promoted to civil and military leader. The Vallé’s passed the position down until Jean Baptiste received the position in 1804 and served as the commandant who oversaw Ste. Genevieve's shift from French to American. Despite only serving as commandant for six months, Jean Baptiste was called the last commandant until his death in 1849.
Following the death of Jean Baptiste Vallé, the home was sold first to Anthony LaGrave, and then later in 1860 to Leon Papin and his family. Anthony LaGrave and the Papin family made a variety of changes to the home, which modernized it and made it better suited to meet the various needs of the families. Anthony LaGrave made the largest change to the property by adding an English-style roof and second floor bedrooms. He also transformed the first floor by adding an entry hallway and removing the large French colonial-era central fireplace. The Papins transformed the home by closing off sections of the full wrap-around porch to bring in modern plumbing and a kitchen in the late 1800s.
The interior of the Jean Baptiste Vallé House is available during scheduled program times.