The Missouri State Penitentiary, located in Jefferson City, was once the oldest operating prison west of the Mississippi River. It opened in 1836 and closed in 2004.
Ste. Genevieve County, located in southeastern Missouri, has a rich and diverse history dating back centuries. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, particularly the Mississippian culture, who left behind evidence of their presence in the form of ancient mounds and artifacts. European exploration of the region began in the late 17th century, with French settlers being the first to establish a permanent presence.

In the early 18th century, French Canadian colonists arrived in the area and founded the settlement of Ste. Genevieve, which would later become the county seat and the oldest permanent European settlement in Missouri. The town played a significant role in the fur trade and served as a trading center for the surrounding frontier. In 1763, following the conclusion of the French and Indian War, the region was ceded to Spain, who controlled it until 1800 when it was transferred back to France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

After the United States acquired the region in 1803, Ste. Genevieve County became part of the new Missouri Territory and witnessed an influx of American settlers. The county played a vital role in the development of Missouri as a state, with many of its early inhabitants becoming prominent figures in state and local politics. By the mid-19th century, the county's economy had diversified, with agriculture, particularly tobacco farming, becoming a major industry. The construction of railroads in the late 19th century further spurred growth and industry in the county.

In the 20th century, Ste. Genevieve County experienced a shift towards a more modern economy, with agriculture remaining important but being supplemented by manufacturing and tourism. Today, the county is known for its historic charm and preservation efforts, with many buildings from the early settlement period still standing. Ste. Genevieve County continues to be a place where history, nature, and industry converge, offering visitors and residents a glimpse into Missouri's past while embracing the opportunities of the present.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri.

  • 1722 - French settlers establish a trading post in the Ste. Genevieve area
  • 1763 - Ste. Genevieve becomes part of the Spanish territory after the Treaty of Paris
  • 1785 - Ste. Genevieve is recognized as a commune by the Spanish authorities
  • 1804 - Ste. Genevieve becomes part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase
  • 1812 - Ste. Genevieve County is established
  • 1850 - The arrival of the railroad brings economic growth to Ste. Genevieve
  • 1943 - The U.S. Army establishes Camp Crowder in Ste. Genevieve County during World War II
  • 2009 - Ste. Genevieve County celebrates its 200th anniversary