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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Relive Yesteryear

Tours by appointment (call the Superintendent's cell before you come - 573-631-6875). Please call ahead as our hours (and weather) vary from St. Louis. Our forest takes 25 minutes to drive around so we aren't always 'home'. So please call ahead.

The Lost History Museum preserves and displays local artifacts from Valles Mines, one of Missouri's oldest settlements. On Main Street in this ghost town you can still tour the General Store, Paymaster's Office, and Furnace Tender's cabin, 3 log cabins, Artesian Well, and the All-Oak Miner's cabin. We keep the Smelter Chimney off-limits to children. Please do not sneak behind its fence.

The museum itself is housed in the 1749 settlement log cabin of settler Francois Valle. Inside is an extensive collection of photos, miniatures, and primitives and a 3D town model from our mining era [NOTE: The Museum building is undergoing chinking if you want to see a log cabin restoration tour up close. The Historic Collection has taken up temporary lodgings in the General store pending completion.]

"In 1780 great great great great Uncle Ferdinand was taken by Indians as a child. I hope someday we find your long lost cousins. And for that matter, whatever happened to Marguerite Valle? "

Click here for more on The French & Spanish Colonial Era


Exhibits you can walk into.

[Many exhibits have been moved to the General Store during restoration of the log house but tours are available]

Exhibit: Historic photos, ledgers, artifacts, and documents from the 1800's forward or before [see arrowheads from Flint Rock Mound]. Many local residents or their descendants have donated their family portraits, Kodaks, and work pictures of times past. Former Valles Mines residents and their families live all over the world now and we try to track them. You never know who you might meet here. Recent visitors came from New Zealand and England.

Exhibit: Mining artifacts from the days of brute force, before Black & Decker. Drilling with star drills and sledge hammers, packing the holes with explosives, hand mining on your back all day, eventually 2 hundred years later with some steam tools. "The men were bulls!"

Exhibit: Solid rock cores from our Diamond Drill prospecting operations. In 1911, the steam powered Diamond Core Drill [pictured] struck an underground river making the Artesian Well you can drink from today at the foot of the hill where the Museum stands. It still flows today.

Exhibit: 'Mineral Blossoms' (drusy quartz) and other local samples you can purchase in the Rock Shop, gathered from our Mines and Works on the property.

Exhibit: A Civil War battle site. [For Reenactments see our Celebrations and Festivals page]. During the Civil War, before the legendary Double Tornado sucked the roof off of the original building of store-forge-stable, Confederate Bushwacker Sam Hildebrand and his men shot it out with Federal troops here. Currently [the 1900's] rebuilt as a General Store, its 200 year old hand-hewn timber framing inside can be seen overhead as you walk in the General Store.

Exhibit: The Paymaster's Shack, a small building with a big history (14116 Valles Mines School Road 63087). Jesse James blew our safe in the building but never robbed the train. His hideout cave lies a few miles due East. [Scheduled for Rehab Phase 1, Summer 2019]

Exhibit: World War II and the Holocaust [Currently under restoration], includes pictures shot by Mina Cohan, a Red Cross volunteer from Philadelphia who stole her older sister's birth certificate "to join the Red Cross and serve coffee and donuts to our boys, and, Brother, did we ever", but who later in England was faced with going back home [she was a volunteer] or landing on Normandy Beach. She chose Normandy Beach and landed on D-Day+4. Later during the Battle Of The Bulge (Dec. 1944 - Jan. 1945) she volunteered to drive her Jeep to the front until she get captured, and did, twice [Red Cross were technically non-combatants by the Geneva Convention], when Nazi orders read "Take No Prisoners"and after assaults and interrogations was fortunately released. For this she was awarded her Medal of Freedom after the War. The exhibit includes her own snapshots and Signal Corp photos from her duty assignment (Apr. 1945) to feed LifeSavers to the Living Dead after the Allies liberated Dachau.

"When we arrived the furnaces were still burning". [Despite her PTSD, Mina served as a past president of the Valle Mining Company from 1983 until her death in 1986].

Click for Map of concentration camps.

Edward R. Murrow radio broadcast from Buchenwald (MP3 audio only)

Exhibit: A letter to William H. Harrison (then Colonel and Patton's youngest General Staff officer, who years later served as Commanding General of the 102nd Ozark Division in Missouri) re:Maude Mueller and Patton's 3rd Army ETO (European Theatre of Operations).

Exhibit: The 102nd Infantry Division, formerly The Ozark Division.[Under Construction]