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Foundation For Restoration’s History Conference Hopes To Build On Last Year’s Attendance

Foundation for Restoration president Sara Menard is confident the foundation’s 18th annual History Conference, scheduled for Saturday, September 21, will be another big hit.

The conference will feature presentations related to the history of Ste. Genevieve and the surrounding area.

“I’m looking forward to another good conference,” Menard said. “Last year we had more attendees than we had ever had before.”

Presentations will include:

n Dr. Will Thompson, “The Old Mines-Ste. Genevieve Connection;”

n Dr. Carl Ekberg, “Black Colonial Ste. Genevieve: Two Perspectives;”

n Carol Kuntz, “French Colonial Kitchen Gardens of the Illinois Country;”

n Sandra Cabot, “Update on Ste. Genevieve National Park and Missouri’s Bicentennial;”

n Jim Baker, “Set in Stone: Historic Masonry in Ste. Genevieve;”

n Anthony Starr, “Mine La Motte Domain: A Separate Place;”

n Sharon Person, “Pierre Laclede in Ste. Genevieve.”

Ekberg has been a frequent speaker at the conference over the years. He is author of Colonial Ste. Genevieve: An Adventure on the Frontier and several other books on Ste. Genevieve’s colonial period. He is best known locally for asserting that Ste. Genevieve was founded about 1752, rather than the traditional 1735 founding date.

Thompson, associate professor of French and chairman of the foreign languages department at the University of Memphis, also spoke at the History Conference in Ste. Genevieve last fall. So did Person, an English professor at St. Louis Community College, who worked with Ekberg on an extensive research project investigating traditional beliefs that Leclede founded St. Louis.

Kuntz is a Heritage [heirloom] Master Gardener, who is volunteer curator of the Fort de Chartres Jardin Potager Heritage Project.

Baker served more than 30 years as director of the Felix Valle House State Historic Site and has done extensive research on the community.

Starr is a Madison County historian who has researched lead mining in the region, along with Mine La Motte and the historic Three Notch Road.

Menard was quick to praise local historian Bob Mueller for recruiting the speakers.

“Bob Mueller does such a tremendous job securing speakers that are interesting,” she said. “These speakers like to come to Ste. Genevieve; I think they’re friends of Ste. Genevieve. They’re all really quite interesting.”

Conference attendees are invited to a complimentary reception 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, September 20 at the historic Guibourd-Valle House located at Fourth and Merchant.

?The presentations will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, in the Ste. Genevieve Community Center. Registration will begin there at 8 a.m. and a continental breakfast will be served until 8:55 a.m. Lunch is included.  

On Sunday, conference participants will be offered tours of the Church of Ste. Genevieve, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, and the newly renovated Antoine O’Neille (colonial silversmith) House. This tour will be offered from noon to 2 p.m.

“On Sunday, there’s always some kind of event for people that stay over,” Menard said. “I think people will enjoy those tours, too.”

The cost for the event is $50 per person ($45 for members of the Foundation for Restoration), and it includes the reception, continental breakfast, conference, lunch, and Sunday tours. Menard believes attendees will get a lot of bang for the buck.

“It comes with the Friday night reception, and breakfast and a mid-morning snack and lunch and afternoon cookies,” she said. “It’s loaded.”

To register for the conference, visit or call the Foundation Office at 573-883-9622 to request a registration form.

(Information from a phone interview with Sara Menard, from a Foundation press releaser and from Herald archives.)

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