Stories, things to do, and one of a kind tips from downtown Cape Girardeau.
Posters provide building history for passerbys
Posters provide building history for passerbys
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This post is written by guest blogger, Lindsey Lotz, a Historic Preservation student at Southeast Missouri State University.

Did you know that May is National Historic Preservation month? As a student at Southeast Missouri State University studying Historic Preservation, I have long felt that there is a need for a piece that could be displayed in buildings downtown that would provide people who stroll by with information about the history and preservation of the building. So, I decided to take upon a project that would fill this need by creating posters for 120 Broadway, 121 Broadway, 19 North Spanish and 7-19 South Spanish. I chose these four buildings because they each have a varied history and have all served many different functions in the past.

For example, the building located at 120 Broadway is now home to Sweet Designs Boutique, but it originally sat on land owned by Louis Lorimer, who gave it to his daughter in his will. At the start, it was a single family hose, and for sometime it was home to Fred Kage, three time mayor of Cape Girardeau, who purchased it in 1886 for a mere $1,332. In approximately 1930, the house was renovated into a two family apartment and remained in that setup until 1972 when it became an office for SaveWay Oil Company. Local ledged suggests that the house was at one time sold for 300 gallons of whiskey.

Directly across from the former Kage House (120 Broadway) is what used to be Keys Music Store at 121 Broadway. Until recently, information about the architect was unknown, but new information points to J.B. Legg as the architect of the three story red brick building. Legg is famous for his work featured in the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, MO but also for the creation of Academic Hall and the copper dome that has become the symbol of Southeast Missouri State University. Today, the building is owned by Mike Rust and will soon be occupied by a microbrewery and a furniture store.

Built in 1941 by C.A. Juden, the building at 19 North Spanish was at one time an A&P Grocery Store. In fact, it was so large that it actually closed the other two A&P locations in Cape Girardeau at that time. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company drastically changed the way people shopped back in the day by introducing a new supermarket model. Before the shoppers would go into a grocery store, they would hand their list to a clerk and the clerk would retrieve the items and sometimes would even help the customer carry the groceries home. A&P’s vision behind this model was for the store to be fully self-service. Today, Brick Street Gallery Antiques is housed in this building.

7-19 South Spanish is located next to the parking lot that houses the Cape Riverfront Market on Saturday mornings between May and October. The Klostermann Block was built in 1905 by Louis F. Klostermann, a German immigrant who settled in Cape Girardeau after serving in the Civil War, who became a prominent business man with his store known as the “Bee” store. The Klostermann Block was built next to the “Bee” store and was used as a rental space. One of the most stunning features of the building is its pressed metal façade that was created by the Mesker Brother’s company in St. Louis. Kelsen Gallery and Celebrations Downtown occupies the space today.

The research that I have done in order to create the posters has taught me so much about the history of downtown Cape. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Old Town Cape, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Dr. Steven Hoffman. Keep an eye out for the posters that will go on display in May!

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