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 Lost History Museum of Valles Mines

What happened IS our mission

The Lost History Museum At Valles Mines BEFORE Restoration Museum BEFORE Rehab The Lost History Museum At Valles Mines AFTER Restoration Museum AFTER Rehab

Day by day, slowly we are reconstructing the town and times of Valles Mines, one of the earliest villages of the Lead Belt in Southeast Missouri. Actual physical artifacts are brought to us by former residents and their family members who come from all over the world. Who would ever have suspected that they would someday return and return to bring us their stories...

The Beginning: Here in the History Museum of the old village of Valles Mines, things happen a little differently. One day we left the front door open while sweeping. We had just hung our first historic picture on the wall. A former village resident stopped in and, seeing the picture, mentioned they had a picture of the building that used to stand next door. In the year that followed, this scene repeated itself over and over. Soon we had reconstructed a pretty good picture of the old days of Valles Mines.

So we grew and we had to move next door into the old white (shown above) building to house all the photos and memorabilia people had been so kind as to give us. Turns out, that wasn't just the old white building next door. While repairing the cedar siding we found the old building was actually an old log cabin underneath, the original settlement house, built for Francois Valle and his new bride, Marianne Billeron. If you look very closely at the photo above (right hand side of the front porch), you can see where the siding has been removed and old log cabin has been allowed to show through. Come visit, it looks a lot better up close (14115 Valles Mines School Road, Valles Mines, Missouri 63087).

Our Mission Statement

  • To preserve physical evidence of previous Times, Civilizations and Technologies and if possible
  • To recreate those Eras' events emphasizing how they lead to Demise or Prosperity, and
  • To provide enough context from the Era to avoid its mistakes or content ourselves with its successes.

For centuries people have come into contact with Valles' Mines, lived there, mined there, passed through, died there, or descended from those who did. They number well into the thousands, scattered all over the world now. The Lost History Museum has made it its Mission to find out where everyone went, contact them, receive their contacts, or even bring them back home.

Valle did more than carry lead back to Ste. Genevieve over the French Village Road. He started a subculture of civilization that survives even today. If you know someone interested, bring them to town and come by the Museum. We welcome your company!

Relive Yesteryear

To email us, click here

The Lost History Museum preserves and displays local artifacts from Valles Mines, one of Missouri's oldest settlements. Tours by appointment (573-631-6875). Please call ahead as our hours vary. Walk down mainstreet of this ghost town and visit the general store, payroll office, smelter, furnace tender's cabin, or other historic sites.

The museum itself is housed in the 1749 settlement house of Francois Vallee. Inside is an extensive collection of photos, miniatures, and primitives from a mining mining town that has come back again and again over the centuries*.

* From 1725-1974 all the zinc production in our region from the Potosi-Eminence Mineralization came from Valles Mines. About half came from the Big Lode Mine, closed before 1898.

"In 1780 great great great great Uncle Ferdinand was taken by Indians as a child. I hope someday we find your long lost cousins. And for that matter, whatever happened to Marguerite Valle? "

Click here for more on The French & Spanish Colonial Era


Exhibits you can walk into.

  • Exhibit: Local photos, ledgers, artifacts and documents from the 1800's forward. Many local residents or their descendants have donated their family portraits and work pictures of times past. Valles Mines has former residents and their families all over the world.
  • Exhibit: Mining artifacts. Hand mining on your back all day, blasting with black powder packed in holes made with star drills, eventually steam tools and always brute force. "The men were bulls!"
  • Exhibit: Diamond drill cores from 6 drill holes. Of course the famous one is the Artesian Well now. In 1911, the steam powered Diamond Core Drill struck an underground river making the Artesian Well. You can see it today at the foot of the hill where the Museum stands, where it still flows today.
  • Exhibit: 'Mineral Blossoms' (drusy quartz) gathered from Mines on the property.
  • Exhibit: The present General Store. Before the Tornado sucked up the original building, [CIVIL WAR REENACTMENT SITE] Confederate Bushwacker Sam Hildebrand and his men shot it out with Federal troops during the Civil War.
  • Exhibit: The Paymaster's Shack, a small building with a big history ( Valles Mines School Road, Valles Mines, Missouri 63087). Jesse James blew the safe once. His hideout cave lies a few miles due East.