On Monday, February 5, 2018, Congressman Jason Smith’s legislation to establish the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park as a unit of the National Park System passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith’s bill allows the National Park Service to help preserve the French-colonial settlement.
“For years, the folks of Ste. Genevieve have known that the cultural heritage and history of their area is of national significance, with the action this week, the rest of America will soon know the same. Because of the efforts of the residents of Ste. Gen, the many elected officials who came before me and Senator Blunt, the history of this area will now be preserved for many generations to come,” said Congressman Smith. “It is a great honor to represent the folks of Ste. Genevieve, and working with them on this important designation has been a true privilege and something I have focused on since entering office. Passage of this legislation was the culmination of all of their tireless and hard work.”
Smith introduced the bill that would officially establish the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park on June 12, 2017 and has a strong record of fighting for this legislation. He testified before the Federal Lands Subcommittee on November 15, 2017 about his hope for the French-colonial settlement to become a unit of the National Park System. His testimony resulted in the bill passing the full committee with unanimous consent on December 12, 2017.
“Passing this bill out of the House of Representatives means there are only two more steps to making Ste. Gen a National Historical Park – passing the bill in the Senate and getting it signed into law by the President,” said Congressman Smith.
Senators Blunt and McCaskill have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“The rich, French colonial history of Ste. Genevieve dates back further than our nation itself,” Blunt said. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of generations of Missourians, that history has been preserved and shared with millions of visitors. Including Ste. Genevieve in our National Park System will help ensure this national treasure can be experienced by residents and visitors for decades to come. I commend Rep. Smith’s leadership in getting our bill through the House, and look forward to continuing our work to get the measure passed in the Senate and on to the president’s desk.”
The National Park Service completed a study in May of 2016 to determine whether or not Ste. Genevieve was a candidate for direct park service management.
“As the oldest settlement west of the Mississippi, Ste. Genevieve is not only a treasure to us here in Southeast Missouri, but also part of our Missouri heritage and early American identity,” said Congressman Smith. “The park service study found what the people of Ste. Genevieve already knew, that Ste. Genevieve’s large and unique collection of French vertical log houses are of national importance.”