Vanishing French Heritage

The Kellerman Foundation for Historic Preservation

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Vanishing French Heritage, A Complete Study of the Vertical Log Homes of the Illinois Country by Jesse W. Francis & Jack Richard Luer

Building upon the pioneering efforts of Charles E. Peterson to catalogue the French vernacular structures of the Illinois region, Jack Luer and Jesse Francis have painstakingly molded a detailed anthology of uniquely ingenious French styles, construction methods and materials. In Vanishing French Heritage they have provided history buffs and architectural academics alike, with an important and fascinating historical supplementary guide to French life and survival in the New World. In their hands, we come to see a French people and a culture filled with balance — where hard work, serenity and love of life were cherished and where observing the land, its climate and geography helped them shape buildings that worked in harmony with the environment. Luer and Francis draw upon every available resource, from historical deeds and family records, to regional and university experts, dendrochronology tests and archaeological finds in an effort to paint accurate portraits of 50 surviving architectural examples.

About the Authors

Jack Luer (1935-2016) was a historic preservation architect with dozens of restorations and renovations to his credit in Missouri and Illinois. His interest in French colonial architecture began around 1958, just before he graduated from the Washington University School of Architecture. Jack has become well known for his work on harmonious infill housing in historic neighborhoods such as Lafayette Park, Soulard, Carondelet and LaSalle Park, and throughout his career was frequently been hired for special restoration projects by the States of Missouri and Illinois. He was a past Member of the Board of Directors for the Center for French Colonial Studies, and past Chairman of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis. He also sat on the Missouri Council for Historic Preservation and is a Member of the Trust for the Charles Peterson Institute for the Preservation of French Heritage. He was a registered architect in Missouri, Illinois and Florida and holds an NCARB certification.

Jesse Francis has been restoring and cataloging French structures in the Midwest since 1982. His work began on the Bequet/Ribault house with Jack Luer while he was a historic preservation student at Southeast Missouri State University. Jesse soon became a frequently sought-after historic construction expert and teacher as well as a hands-on restoration and reconstruction master craftsman. Jesse is also the Cultural Site Manager for Faust Park Historic Village in St. Louis County, Missouri, where he oversees the rescue, relocation and preservation of historic structures.

Product Specifications

Published by The Kellerman Foundation for Historic Preservation, 2014. Paperback, 212 pages.