Musée de Venoge........... a National Historic Register House & Property





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   This house is one of the few remaining examples of the French colonial architecture that once characterized the first settlement of Switzerland County. Once common throughout the Mississippi Valley, the house was built ca. 1805-15 by Frenchmen who found themselves without work after Thomas Jefferson negotiated the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

   Possibly some of these men were builders who met Switzerland County founder Swiss native, John James Dufour, during his 1796 sojourn to the middle Mississippi valley to seek help in establishing his new settlement on the banks of the Ohio. In 1802, Dufour petitioned Congress to enter lands in Indiana on credit with the view of introducing grape culture to the United States. In 1805, another French-speaking Swiss, Louis Gex Oboussier bought a portion of that property we call Musee de Venoge.

    The people who lived in this house could have been farmers. No doubt they cleared land, planted vineyards, and helped build the town we call Vevay. Most people would say this home is not important. In fact, it is a excellent example of the French colonial architecture that began in the lower Mississippi Valley and spread into the Ohio.

    The structure is posts-on-sill, timber frame, mortise-joined and wood-pegged throughout.  Brick nogging insulation supported the first floor plaster, hand-split accordion lath the second. The first floor is completely restored and furnished.

   The Venoge Farmstead is located two miles west of Vevay in Switzerland County on State Route 129.  From Vevay, drive two miles west on Hwy 56 turn right on Hwy 129, Venoge is one mile up.

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