History & Culture

The Creoles of the Illinois Country

They had a unique culture and way of life, radically different from any other place in the Americas, with French, African, Indian and Spanish traditions being melded and fused into what we could identify as a “Creole cultural zone.” Historian Charles Van Ravenswaay wrote in 1956: “ . . . much that the Creoles could have added to our national culture, particularly in the field of architecture and the decorative arts, was rejected, and many of their other notable accomplishments have been forgotten.”

Illustration of 1770 life in Ste. Genevieve. Homes with full length front porches line a dirt street. People tend animals and boats along the river.
Illustration of early scene of Ste. Genevieve in its original location on the banks of the Mississippi River. Cropped from a mural painted in 1924 that is located in the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City, MO. Artist: Oscar E. Berninghaus (1874 – 1952).

Missouri State Capitol

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    Last updated: February 19, 2020

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    Sainte Genevieve National Historical Park
    C/o Gateway Arch National Park
    11 North 4th Street

    St. Louis, MO 63102


    314 435 3138

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