An outstanding example of poteaux-sur-sole, vertical log architecture is the Guibourd-Valle House. Built in 1806 for Jacques Jean Rene Dubreuil Guibourd de Luzinais, an immigrant from France and San Dominque, the house provides a glimpse into life in Missouri between the times of the Louisiana Purchase and statehood in 1821.
Guibourd came to Ste. Genevieve from France by way of San Domingue (now called Haiti). During a slave rebellion, Jacques Guibourd was smuggled out of the country in a barrel by his slave, Moros, according to family legend. He and Moros made their way back to France, but seeing the chaos and destruction there during the French Revolution, Guibourd and Moros headed to the New World. They had heard of a population of French-speaking settlers in the middle of America. They arrived in Ste. Genevieve in the late 1790s.
An outstanding feature of the Guibourd House is the roof framing configuration of vertical and horizontal beams known as a Norman Truss system. The building’s trusses are original and are some of the finest examples of such framing in the United States. Moreover, visitors can visit the attic of this house and view the actual framing. The tops of each of the vertical log exterior walls are also visible, each secured to a top plate with a wooden peg.
The house was originally surrounded by galleries on all sides, but this was changed with a later update to the house. A brick indoor kitchen and flat gabling of the north and south ends of the house around the same time resulted in the current configuration. The house consists of three rooms and a central hallway. Ceiling joists are exposed in all rooms, and they feature edge beading, an extra embellishment in a mid-Mississippi French colonial home. The house remained in the Guibourd family until 1907.
A later owner Anne Marie Valle became a world traveler and collector of Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture and accessories. When Anne Marie died in 1971, her will requested that the house be maintained as a memorial to her husband and Jacques Guibourd. The Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve acquired the house and its furnishings in 1973.
In Ste. Genevieve, over 30 vertical log structures built between 1790 and the 1820s have survived. Most are private residences, but the Guibourd-Valle House is open for tours.