Dr Benjamin Shaw house


The Dr. Benjamin Shaw house is now part of the Felix Valle State Historic Site, at Merchant & Second Streets

Philipson (Felix Valle) House, Shaw House and DuFour House on Merchant St, 1936 from the HABS collection of photographs.

We toured the Felix Valle site; the tours started in the Dr Shaw house. 

Gregory Franzwa’s book “The Story of Old Ste Genevieve” says, on page 139, that the “front two rooms were constructed by Jean Baptiste Bossier some time after he acquired the property from Parfait Dufour in November, 1818. Bossier, a merchant who served in Missouri’s first legislature, built the 20′ x 33′ building for his store and office.  Silhouettes of the original counters and shelves appear on the original painted wallboards.  Bossier sold the structure to Dr Benjamin Shaw in 1837.  Shaw, a widower, married Emilie Janis Lecompte in 1845 and added a room across the back and two more fireplaces in the house.”

  The Habs record (HABS MO 1120) says that the house was built in the year 1787 by Parfait Dufour, old settler and prominent merchant of Ste Genevieve.  However, the HABS record for the house next door, the Dufour House (HABS MO 1119) says almost exactly the same thing: “This house located in Ste Genevieve, Missouri, was built in the year 1787, by Parfait Dufour, an old settler and land owner.”

Did Dufour build two houses in 1787, next to each other and Bossier added on to one of them? Or did Bossier buy only the land from Dufour and then build the building? 

Both sources say that the house was sold to Dr Benjamin Shaw in 1837, so the store of Bossier & Valle, in “the house now occupied by the Widow Shaw” where Paschal Bequette “was bred to the profession of merchant” must have been this building.

And what’s with the dormers in this town?  They seem to come and go like snow.  I was a little obsessed with taking pictures of dormers as I thought I could show a link between the dormers on the Rodolf house on Clowney street in Mineral Point and the dormers in Ste Genevieve, but we’ve seen photos of houses that had dormers in 1936 but don’t have them now, and of houses that have dormers now, but don’t have them in the early photos (this house is a good example – take another look at the pix, above).  If I looked hard enough, I could probably find houses that had dormers early, no dormers middle, dormers now — and any dizzying combination of this sequence.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s