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Stories, things to do, and one of a kind tips from downtown Cape Girardeau.
Crash Course in Spanish Colonial Revival Style

It’s Cinco de Mayo which means it’s day FIVE of Historic Preservation Month 2020! In order to celebrate both, I thought I would bring you a little trivia for this Tuesday and teach you about one of the many architectural styles seen around #DowntownCG: Spanish Colonial Revival.

The Spanish Colonial Revival style is especially important to Old Town Cape because our home, the Marquette Tower, was built in that style. In fact, there’s even an awesome diagram in the building’s lobby by the elevators that shows all of the characteristics that make the Marquette a Spanish Colonial Revival building. Check it out once the building is open to the public again!

Now, about the style itself; the “revival” part of the name means that there’s also just a plain ol’ Spanish Colonial style. This came about when the Spaniards began colonizing the Americas. Their need to build government buildings and missions mixed with the local Native American techniques and materials used for building created a new and unique style. If you want to see an example of Spanish Colonial architecture, check out the “Palace of the Governors” in Santa Fe, NM.

During the early 20th century, this architectural style rose in popularity again (AKA revived) with some modern style choices and technology added in. This movement was seen largely in the south and southwest in places like Florida and California, but we still see examples right here in Cape Girardeau.

Here are the characteristics you are looking for:
1. Low-pitched roof with clay tiles
2. Stucco walls
3. Rounded arch opening, like windows and doors
4. Ornate wrought iron, tile, and/or woodworking ornamentation

Some beautiful examples within the Old Town Cape district include the Marquette Tower (338 Broadway), Magnolia Market (427 Broadway), the Broadway Family Clinic (714 Broadway), and even the Southeast Missourian (301 Broadway)! Plus there are several historic residencies around downtown as well. Check them out this week in honor of HP Month.

Keep in mind: “not a single feature does a style make.” This quote was drilled into my head by my awesome architectural history professor and Old Town Cape board member, Dr. Steven Hoffman. It just means that a building doesn’t have to have all of the characteristics, they must just be the dominant characteristics of the building.

Well, that’s all for now! Keep checking back to learn more about the history that has been preserved in our beautiful downtown. Until then, any time you see a building reflecting this style (whether it’s downtown or anywhere else), I hope you remember that #ThisPlaceMatters!

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