It’s more than a day, but is well worth the trip. Cape Girardeau is the 16th largest city in Missouri. Located on the muddy Mississippi, the town site began as a trading post in the 1730s. Most noted for its Mississippi River Tales Mural, the city offers much to do to catch the interest of most everyone who visits. The massive flood wall was finished in 1964. It extends 1,100 feet along the Mississippi shoreline. Over the years, artistic murals have been painted on the downtown portion on the flood walls. Visitors can browse the walkway and enjoy the 24 historically-themed panels. The murals include 47 famous Missourians.
Once travelers have surveyed the artistic wall area, there are about 40 historic sites in Cape Girardeau that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of these, eight are historic districts.
Some of the historical interests include the 1908 police and fire station, which is now the Cape River Heritage Museum. The Lorimier Cemetery is the city’s first graveyard. The total number of graves is about 6,500. There are over 1,200 Civil War soldiers in the cemetery. The Union’s Fort D was constructed in 1861. It is the only remaining Civil War fort out of four that once protected the city of Cape Girardeau from Confederate attack. Today, the earthwork walls are all that remain. Living history events are consistently held on the grounds.
The 1883 Glenn House National Register of Historic Places, this home has many of its original architectural features as well as original plumbing fixtures, moldings and wall treatments. The 1850s Chapel of Ease has 100 medieval-design plaster masks.
The Common Pleas Courthouse was completed in 1854. It stands on a high hill overlooking the city. The grand stairway is a challenge to anyone wanting to walk up to the top. Most travelers drive to the backside of the courthouse and enter at ground level. Back in the day it was used for Native American council meetings. In present day it hosts the Union and Confederate memorials as well as concerts on the grounds during the summer season. During the Civil War, the building was headquarters for the Union provost marshall. The basement was a dungeon for people awaiting trials.
The re-created Red House Interpretive Center is an array of historic exhibits and gardens that portray life in Cape Girardeau’s early days. The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center includes exhibits and two miles of nature trails around the center. For the car-comfort of visitors, there is a driving tour of Civil War Sites of Cape Girardeau.
There are many adventures for families: Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center, Discovery Playhouse, Melaina’s Magical, Playland, Lazy L Safari Park, Cape Girardeau Public Library, LeBounce, Museums, LeBounce Too, the Discovery Playhouse, and Sports Action. Outdoor activities include: Trail of Tears State Park, Pinecrest Azalea Gardens, Old Mississippi River Bridge Scenic Overlook and Park, Cape Rock Scenic Overlook, Capaha Rose Garden, Trails, City Parks, Golf Courses, and Disc Golf. The Bollinger Mill State Historic Site is 19 miles west of Cape Girardeau. There travelers will find the 1800s mill and the (one of Missouri’s four) 1858 Burfordville Covered Bridge. The mill is a four-story stone and brick building where corn was ground into meal.
Page 2 of 2 - There are a variety of Bed and Breakfasts, campgrounds and cabins, hotels and motels for overnight stays. Oh yes, lots of shopping experiences! When hunger sets in there are over 145 eateries to satisfy every taste. Visitors can enjoy spectacular natural vistas, new tourism developments and a historic past — that all blend together to offer the perfect solution of any visitor to the area.
Usually, travelers will plan for the shortest distance to their destination. In this case, the fastest route (via St Louis) to Cape Girardeau will save several hours of driving. The tourist opportunities are countless in the Cape. There are memories to create and stories to share when visiting Cape Girardeau.