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 Furnace Tender's House - 14103 Valles Mines School Road

The Furnace Tenders House - 14103 Valles Mines School Road

The house he lived in

The first smelter

The later furnace the last tender tended (recently discovered under tons of soil near the chimney but ready for restoration.

Former residents Ed and Verna Skiles as I knew them

In the early 1970's when I lived across the street, Verna and Ed Skiles (pictured) told how they grew up in the valley during the Depression. Children of different families, their families grew buckwheat and the kids picked blackberries in season which they sold in town to buy milk.

While living in the Furnace Tender's Cabin they taught us how to live off the land. Verna's wildflower pressings can be found on Exhibit Wall A in the Lost History Museum.

MORE: Here's how the granddaughters of Verna Skiles, Cindy Marler and Kay Williams, remembered them.