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Penzel Construction – A Rich History in Preservation

Penzel Construction Company has a rich and long-standing history in Southeast Missouri. Since 1910, four generations of the Penzel family have been building and restoring our region’s schools, churches, bridges, roads, and commercial buildings, including several within the Old Town Cape district.

After migrating from Germany in 1853, the Penzel family made it to Cape Girardeau in 1854, just in time to see the finishing touches being placed on the Common Pleas Courthouse. In 2020, Phil Penzel, CEO of Penzel Construction, will have the opportunity to bring his family’s history full circle as the company begins work to restore the Courthouse and adapt it for use by City Hall.

When asked about the importance of historic preservation within our city and region, Phil cited the preservation of his own family’s history and what he was able to learn from them as the driving force behind working to protect and maintain our history through his work on historic structures.

“If you take the time to actually care about something, preserve it, and have it available for your next generations, then you can tell the complete story. But when it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” Phil said.

As a business, Phil said Penzel Construction enjoys restoring historic buildings because it allows them to show their true craftsmanship as they work to recreate the original beauty. In 2006, Penzel Construction completely renovated the Southeast Missourian building in Downtown Cape and restored it to the way it looked when it was built in 1925. In order to restore it, Penzel reconstructed various features like the bay windows and the distinct Spanish tiles that line the base of the building. Phil said that to recreate the nearly 100 damaged tiles, they recruited local artists to paint matching tiles at Creative Ewe, a local paint-it-yourself pottery shop. The Southeast Missourian building restoration is one of Phil’s top 3 projects that Penzel ever completed, and he believes it “will be etched in the company’s history as one of the greatest ever performed.”

Southeast Missourian Original
Southeast Missourian After Restoration
Spanish Tiles on the Southeast Missourian

A couple of Phil’s favorite historic buildings in Downtown Cape include (of course) the Southeast Missourian, as well as the KFVS Tower, which was built by Phil’s grandfather in the mid-60’s. The personal connections Phil has to these buildings give him even more passion to preserve them and care for them. When we can connect with history, whether it be our own family history, a building, a place, etc., we also have a desire and drive to protect it which is at the heart of historic preservation.

We are so grateful for Penzel Construction Company’s commitment to preservation within our city and especially in our downtown, and their sponsorship of Historic Preservation Month this year reveals that mission.

Learn more about their company’s history, projects, and more at

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