Visitors Guide to the
2110 First Street
East Carondelet, Illinois
by Canadian-born Revolutionary War veteran Pierre Martin around 1790, the
Martin-Boismenue House is a surviving example of the French Creole poteaux-sur-solle (post-on-sill)
architecture and one of the oldest structures of its kind in Illinois.
This type of construction utilized upright hewn logs that were seated on a
horizontal log sill and the spaces between the logs were filled with stone
and mortar chinking. The home is typical of many of the Creole type
dwellings that predominated the area in the late 18th century. The larger first floor room
was the parlor, or salle, and was a multi-purpose living area. The
smaller first floor room was the sleeping room, or chambre, and was
a more private area. There was a small attic and cooking was done in the basement. A common feature of Creole architecture
are the broad open porches, known as galeries, located on the front
and back of the house. The galeries offered additional living space
in fair weather as well as to keep the sun and rain off the whitewashed
the end of the 18th century, the majority of European settlement in the middle Mississippi
River Valley was confined to a sixty-mile strip between Cahokia and
Kaskaskia/Ste. Genevieve area. This fertile river bottomland, now known as
the American Bottoms, was the breadbasket for the Louisiana Territory. The
principal crop grown was wheat but other commodities included corn,
pumpkins, oats, barley, flax, cotton, and tobacco. Farmers in the era of
Martin would use a common field called the le grand champ. Martin
would cultivate and harvest his crops with the help of his family, his one
or two slaves, and hired day laborers. Once harvested, Martin would have
transported his crops south to Kaskaskia where it would then be shipped to
New Orleans. Today, the Martin-Boismenue
House has been refurbished
by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the
interior has been furnished with period pieces (photo right)
providing visitors with a glimpse at how the average residents of the
Cahokia area lived and worked in the Lewis and Clark era.
House is part of the Colonial Cahokia State Historic Sites
complex that also includes the Cahokia Courthouse,
the Jarrot Mansion, and a Visitors
Center. Information can be obtained at the Visitors Center about the Holy
Family Log Church and other area attractions.
the Martin-Boismenue House
House holds two annual houses
where the public is invited to view the interior of this early 19th century
homestead and to interact with costumed interpreters to learn about French
Colonial America. Traditionally these open houses are held during
the Fete du Bons Vieux Temps in February and the St.
Nicholas Tradition event in
December. Check our Calendar listings for
current dates and information. If you wish to view the Martin-Boismenue
other times it is necessary to make an appointment by calling
There is no charge to visit
the Martin-Boismenue House, although donations are appreciated.
Directions: From the Cahokia Courthouse: Return to IL-3 and
turn right. Follow IL-3 south for 4 blocks. Veer right off of IL-3 onto
Water Street. Continue on Water street until it crosses a creek and goes
into East Carondelet. Continue on Water Street for several blocks. The Martin-Boismenue
House will be on the left.
W 90° 11.921'
Learn more about the Cahokia area.