| || |
First, some questions:
Through a series of locks and dams, the Mississippi River is now more easily navigable by large barges and other watercraft. The Melvin Price Locks and Dam is a facility that is open to the public. A family's time is well-spent at the indoor interpretive center which highlights the engineering of the system, as well as the wildlife that relies on the river ecosystem.
Outside of Mississippian and Native American cultures, Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, is the earliest permanent settlement west of the Mississippi River. Founded in 1735 by French-Canadian colonists, St. Genevieve still has buildings that date back to the 18th century.
Through the centuries, the town has gone from being a French colony, to Spain, and back to France before finally being acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 (but that's for a lesson to come much later in our school year).
Poteaux en Terre
The historic structures in Ste. Genevieve have withstood the test of time, but they also display different architectural styles than the structures being built by the British colonists and pioneers. Says Wikipedia:
The oldest buildings of Ste. Genevieve, described as "French Creole colonial", were all built during Spanish rule of the late 18th century. The most distinctive buildings of this period were the "vertical wooden post" constructions where walls of buildings were built based on wood "posts" either dug into the ground (poteaux en terre) or set on a raised stone or brick foundation (poteaux sur solle). This was different from the log cabin style associated with the Anglo-American frontier settlements of the United States northeast, mid-Atlantic and Upper South, for which logs are stacked horizontally.
We will fall far short of recreating these buildings on school property, so let's settle for a simple re-creation in the classroom. First, we need to gather some straight sticks of the correct width and length, so let's head out to the nature area behind the school with our rulers. Afterward, we will arrange our collection to make our own vertical-log buildings (albeit two-dimensional).
Fort de Chartres
| || || |