America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Cape Girardeau Mural

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

This month's focus seems a bit odd as its history is multi-faceted and some would say might not rise to known status because each is a little small, but Cape Girardeau, Missouri has an interesting founding in the western expansion days, a college in its midst, Southeast Missouri State University, on the grounds of the former St. Vincent's Seminary, a small Civil War battle, and a meteorite, and that's some unique history collection. Add in twenty-four historic murals on the levee wall protecting the city from the Mississippi River and some historic homes, and you've got yourself a great day of finding gems in this city of forty thousand people. Photo above: One of the twenty-four Mississippi Tales murals painted by Thomas Melvin, this one depicting the Louisiana Purchase, 2020, photo by Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy Library of Congress.

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Civil War Fort D

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Namesake to the first man who established a trading post on the river there, Jean Baptiste de Girardot, in 1733. He was a French soldier stationed in the French Colony of La Louisiane. It became settled after the Spanish acquired the territory in 1764 after the Seven Years War, although it took until 1793 for them to do that, with land grants to Louis Lorimier and the Black Bob Band of the Shawnee, who had migrated west of the Mississippi.

The town became incorporated in 1808, the city in 1843. With the advent of the steamboat, it became the largest port between St. Louis and Memphis. Only three years after rising to city status, Cape Girardeau was hit by a meteor on August 14, 1846. It has been classified as an H6 Meteor. So what does that mean? Well, the Meteorite Society says it was a high-iron chondrite with homogenized mineral composition. It was 2.3kg big and heard hitting earth southeast of the city with a loud bang, coordinates 37 degrees 16N. 89 degrees 35' W. Twenty-three others have fallen in Missouri. If you visit, just watch out for falling rocks.

Cape Girardeau moved forward, with the tide of Civil War coming to the area, Union controlled, on April 26, 1863.

Image above: Fort D, one of four Civil War forts built in Cape Girardeau, 2020, Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: Glenn House, 2020, Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Glenn House

Where Is It

Cape Girardeau, Missouri is located on the Mississippi River about one hundred and fifteen miles south of St. Louis off Route I-55. The Visitor Center is located at 220 North Fountain Street, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701-5636.

What is There Now

Cape Girardeau

The historic Mississippi River city of nearly forty thousand south of St. Louis is not a single attraction location. It is a mixture of museums, colleges, murals, and parks. Check at the local tourist bureau for a map to the attractions you wish to see. Some might be coming to college there; others to hear of the Victorian tales at Glenn House or the Missouri and Mississippi River tales along the waterfront.

When Open and How Much

Variety of opening days and times. Check with the individual sites around town for their schedules and fees.

Fees subject to change.

Cape Girardeau Visitor Center
City of Cape Girardeau
Glenn House
Katy O'Ferrell's Irish Pub
Southeast Missouri State University

History Nearby

It's unique location puts you in access to a variety of Missouri sites, including St. Louis, one hundred miles north, and more, including site in northern Arkansas. For Civil War fans, don't miss the Wilson's Creek battlefield, Pea Ridge, or the Battle of Prairie Grove. For more nature bound fans, there's the Ozark National Scenic River.

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