Valles Mines, Missouri, U S A
Founded in 1749 by Francois Valle. 274 years later, now 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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Home : General Store

The Company Store

In The Valley Where Time Stands Still

The Valles Mines General Store Building, 
after the first building was sucked 
                    up by a tornado.
14117 Valles Mines School Road 63087
  • Wed. through Sunday: Open by appointment
  • Monday and Tuesday: Closed
  • Contact Info:
  • Steve Frazier,, 636-551-8705
The original Valles Mines General Store where Confederate Bushwacker Sam Hildebrandt shot it out with Union Army soldiers during the Civil War. Confederate Jesse James blew the safe in our Paymaster's Office [foreground on the left, 14116 Vm. Sch. Rd).

While historically the original building met with 2 tornadoes in 1911 killing seven with only one survivor, in 1914 the Company directors voted to rebuild the Company store for William H. Bunt, proprietor, whose very large family then operated it for years as well as the Boarding House (ruins at #14169 V.M.S.) and the schoolhouse next door, across The Rock Road (foundation still intact).

[Pictured] They rebuilt on the former store site by reusing the timber frames still left standing

Similar to a "Pickerington" Atlantic Timberframes

and visible inside above your head as you walk in.

The General Store building got recent renovation in 1975 as a residence after the unsolved arson of the Rozier House across the street. The present General Store houses The Lost History Museum in the front half, the blacksmith's forge in the middle has become a kitchen and modern bathroom, and the livery stable in the rear is bedroom/storage.


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, after which Valles Mines was called "Boom Town" with 100 foot deep mineshafts then being a lot easier to sink through the solid rock after dynamite showed up in the store.
The General Store Here was where miners, farmers, and townspeople came to purchase or trade goods. Some came weekly, some monthly, to settle their accounts, after their crops sold, their mines hit paydirt. Or, sadly, some never again after they went bust. Not every shaft went down to hit its target, a broken section of the miles of natural caves, many filled with deposits of 'paydirt', galena (lead) that could make you rich. The largest galena nugget: the size of a Volkswagon Beetle.
So often forgotten nowadays, blasting a mineshaft down and hauling minerals out cost a lot and took a very long time, considering no one had power tools for the first hundred years. Back then, a "hammer drill" was not in a Home Depot aisle, it was a 6 foot long steel star-drill you sledge-hammered on, turned, and sledge-hammered again for hours with a 10 pound sledge or a railroad spike maul if your aim was good enough..
The Valle Mining Company bought the miners' lead at the General Store. The store manager weighed a miner's lead nuggets on a beam balance floor scale [see our original scale on exhibit] before buying them, but other general stores like "Baker's, Carter's in the village at Tunnel Station, Eaton's, and Tarpley's Store down the street" accepted them as well. Lead was considered a local currency, carried and traded as a currency in the early days along with minted money. That lead ore, heavy and compact, traded for different prices at different stores. Since our lead ore's only impurity was silver, it made superb musket [and later, rifle] balls.
"Seller Beware! At Baker's and some others, they advertised that they paid a penny more but their scale was so off that you actually did better at the Company Store." Dale ("DD") Frazier

How To Make Rifle Balls

With galena nuggets you could melt down your pocket change

With galena nuggets you could melt down your pocket change to make rifle balls. Valles Mines lead was so pure that its only impurity was silver. Our lead was shipped back East and, as of the Declaration of Independence, smuggled back, to Boston, New York and Philadelphia for the Revolutionary War and our Continental Army.

To see back through Time to an everyday event for colonial riflemen and women, watch the scene in the movie The Patriot where Mel Gibson melts down his son's lead toy soldiers, pouring the molten lead into a handheld bullet mold, a common household tool in those days. Valles Mines' galena nuggets melted exactly like that. Battle scenes in that time period documented how they battled at that time, just like in the French and Indian War that raged just before our American Revolution, where Mel Gibson's character had become so famous. When George Washington ordered the cannons from Fort Ticonderoga be hauled 300 miles to save the Continental Army, they had been left there at the Fort after the French and Indian War.

Just a few years before, when Francois Valle sent his sons and Ste Genevieve's militia, all French loyalists, and a ton of cannon balls and rifle balls, all made of of Valles Mines' lead They fought off, as only 300 men, a British war party of 1000 Iroquois Indians raiding nearby Fort San Carlos, they saved that Spanish outpost forever -- which you may know now as St Louis, Missouri.