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]
Site Map

You Are Here:  Home : Start Here : Lost History Museum : Exhibits

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 construction - please call first 573-631-6875]

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 can be found all over the world. 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, packing the holes with explosives, hand mining on your back all day, eventually some steam tools. "The men were bulls!"

Exhibit: Solid rock cores from drill holes. In 1911, the steam powered Diamond Core Drill struck an underground river making the Artesian Well. You can see it today at the foot of the hill where the Museum stands, where it still flows today.

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

Exhibit: [Civil War Reenactment site] During the Civil War, before the legendary Double Tornado sucked the roof off of the original building, Confederate Bushwacker Sam Hildebrand and his men shot it out with Federal troops here. Currently survived by The General Store, its 200 year old timber framing inside remains exposed.

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 needing 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 or landing on Normandy Beach. She did on D-Day + 4 and was awarded her Medal after volunteeering to take her Jeep to get captured, twice, during the Battle Of The Bulge (Dec. 1944 - Jan. 1945) when Nazi orders read "Take No Prisoners". Includes 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". [Mina served as a past president of the Valle Mining Company from 1983 until her death in 1986].

Click for Map.

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