Ste. Genevieve, MO

Old Brick House: over 200 years old and it's a restaurant

CJ Coombs
Historic Old Brick House building/John Price house in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.Photo byHistoric American Buildings Survey, Creator, and John Price; retrieved from Library of Congress.

The City of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri is all things history. In 1959, the city was designated as a National Historic Landmark, and it became official in 1960 by the Secretary of the Interior. In 2002, the Ste. Genevieve National Register Historic District was formally entered into the National Register of Historic Places.

Ste. Genevieve, with possibly 31 existing 18th century dwellings, is the finest surviving architectural example of a French Colonial village in the United States. (Source.)

While it's hard to determine the exact date the first settlement was in the area, early land grants were made in 1752. One of the buildings that is part of the Ste. Genevieve Historic District is the Old Brick House, also known as the John Price House.

This building is located at the northeast corner of Third and Market Streets. It's believed to be the first brick house west of the Mississippi. The bricks were handmade and laid up in Flemish bond. This building is open to the public as a restaurant. In being over two centuries old, this building holds an interesting and amazing past.

The Old Brick House is believed to have been constructed in 1790, but there are other suggested dates of its construction. In the image below, the building housed a tavern and a restaurant.
November, 1936. - John Price House (Old Brick House), Ste. Genevieve, Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri.Photo byHistoric American Buildings Survey, Creator, and John Price; retrieved from Library of Congress.

John Price

The brick house was built by or for John Price, a Kentuckian, local merchant, and ferry operator. One legend indicates the bricks used on the building were hand-made in France and brought over to North America.

In 1798, Price and his brother, Andrew, were engaged in trade with Louisville and Frankfort, Kentucky. Price was granted a license to operate a ferry from Ste. Genevieve to Kaskaskia for six years.

In 1799, Price married Eugenia Villais, a granddaughter of Francois Valle, the first Commandant of Ste. Genevieve.

The building

Supposedly, this building was also used as a courthouse and school. There was also a fur trading post in the back. The cellar used to serve as slave quarters.

At one time the building was known as the Shaw House. It serves as a restaurant now and is called the Old Brick House. There's a marker indicating the building was constructed in 1785, but due to research, other years suggested include 1780, 1790, and also between 1800 and 1804.

While the marker says 1785 was the year it was built, many researchers have suggested other years, including 1780, 1790, and between 1800 and 1804. According to a book published in the early 1940s, Missouri: A Guide to the Show-Me State, this house was built between 1800 and 1804 by or for John Price.

Price was one of the first Anglo-Americans in Ste. Genevieve. The building is also an early example of Anglo-American building traditions in Ste. Genevieve.
The interior bar area.Photo byFacebook/Old Brick House.

Also according to the book named above, Price's house was sold in 1806 by Sheriff Henry Dodge to Joseph Pratte supposedly to settle a debt. Another resource indicates Dodge acquired the building in 1811. Dodge also made his mark in history. He was a brigadier general of the Missouri militia during the War of 1812. He was also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1820, and a United States Senator (1848-57).

In 1833, Ferdinand Rozier purchased the building. George Sexauer purchased the building in the mid-1800s and supposedly, it remained in his family for over 100 years.

The Old Brick House doesn't appear to have a website, but it has a Facebook page that routinely posts the buffet menu. While the Old Brick House is used for commercial purposes, it was originally erected as a residence.

For more reading on another old house in Ste. Genevieve, visit the Jacques Dubreuil Guibourd House. It's one of the best-preserved examples of French Colonial architecture.

The State Historical Society of Missouri (SHSMO) houses materials associated with French colonial and territorial records of the District of Ste. Genevieve and Ste. Genevieve County records and court records. A third of the documents are dated 1756 to 1804 and the remainder range from 1805 to 1930.

Thanks for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

Kansas City, MO

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