Valles Mines, Missouri, U S A
Founded in 1749 by Francois Valle years before he became Commandante of the Fort of Sainte Genevieve and The King of Spain made him Don Francois Valle for saving their Fort San Carlos (now St. Louis).
270 years later as The Valle Mining Company, his 4000+ acre property every year absorbs 21,000 tons of carbon dioxide and puts out 14,000 tons of oxygen, enough to meet the needs of 63,000 people. [USDA Forest Facts]
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The Paymaster's Office - 14116 Valles Mines School Road 63087

The Paymaster's Shack This is the building where prospectors came to stake their claim when they were starting out or miners sold their ore later on if successful. Here the Paymaster graded, weighed and purchased ore for the Valle Mining Company and set credit policy for the General Store. The amounts bought, sold and owed remain to this day in ledgers which can be seen at the Lost History Museum across the street.

For security, the Company drove hundreds of handcut nails into the face of the front door (see close up when you visit).

Jesse James - The Legend

At the end of a pay period miners came here to be paid out by the Paymaster after settling their outstanding debts with the Company for their housing, staples, and equipment such as pick axes and later dynamite during the era when Valles Mines was called "Boom Town".

The Paymaster's office held a safe, a safe periodically robbed by highwaymen. On one last occasion, however, the safe was blown open with dynamite. No doubt that was one reason Superintendent "Two Pistol Pete" Frazier carried those guns - to keep law and order down in the valley on Pay Day.

Legend has it that one of the robbers was Jesse James, whose hideout in a cave in the area across what is now Highway 67 was common knowledge back then. Possibly the same cave hid Sam Hildebrand, whose band of Confederates held the last shoot-out with Federal troops at the first General Store, a log building from long before the Civil War. It was sucked up by a tornado and the present General Store (14117 Valles Mines School Road) built in its place.

Today - The Drop Box

The Drop Box is located in the front door of the building. You can't miss it because it looks like a mail slot. Some time in the future when we don't have rural mail delivery anymore because we brought back our Post Office to where it used to be next door, it will be a mail slot again. Until then, we'll pretend it's The Drop Box.