Valles Mines, Missouri, U S A

Founded in 1749 by Francois Valle years before he became Don Francois Valle.
The Valle Mining Company's 4500 acre property every year absorbs 21,000 tons of carbon dioxide and puts out 14,000 tons of oxygen.
This is enough to meet the needs of 63,000 people. [USDA Forest Facts] Site Map

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The Company Store

The Valles Mines General Store Building, built
after the first 
        one was sucked up by a tornado. The Valles Mines General Store has a lot of history. Originally the site of the Civil War shootout between Confederate Bushwacker Sam Hildebrandt and Union Army soldiers, the original building met with a tornado circa 1885. About 1914 the Valle Mining Company built the present building as a General Store in the front half, a blacksmith and forge in the middle, and a small stable in the rear. The Company voted to rebuild the Company store for William H. Bunt, proprietor, whose very large family operated it for years as well as the Boarding House and the School. The building got renovated in 1975 as a residence after the unsolved arson of the Welton Rozier House across the street. Here is where miners, farmers, and townspeople came to purchase or trade goods, some weekly, some monthly. They settled their accounts when their crops sold or their mines hit paydirt.

Miners, after registering their claims on the property at the Paymaster's Shack, purchased tools and blasting powder in the earliest days and later dynamite after the 1870's at the Company Store. Valles Mines was once called "Boom Town" after that product showed up in the store.

While the Company weighed the lead ore and bought it, others like Baker's, Carter's in the village at Tunnel Station, Eaton's, and Tarpley's Store down the street accepted it as well. Lead was considered a local currency and was carried and traded as galena nuggets, the lead ore, was heavy and compact. It also traded for different prices at different stores and 'Seller Beware!' DD Frazier recalled that, "Baker's and some others advertised they paid a penny more but their scale was so off that you actually did better at the Company."

Not exactly a gold coin but you could melt down your pocket change to make bullets with it. The only adulterant in Valles Mines lead was silver. Our lead was shipped back and, as of the Declaration of Independence, smuggled back, to Boston, New York and Philadelphia for the Revolutionary War. It might well have made the rifle balls Mel Gibson made in "The Patriot" by melting down his son's toy soldiers. Our lead smelts exactly like that. Some battle scenes in that movie might well have been shot as a documentary of the battle for St. Louis about that time which for some reason has escaped the history books almost completely. No brag, just fact, the Valles fought in it.