Following our visit to Chester, the American Queen Steamboat paddle wheeler steamed on down to the sleepy river town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Founded in 1733 by a French soldier as a trading post, it is now home to around 38,000 residents.
As we had typically done previously during the cruise, we took American Queen’s included hop on-hop off bus for a narrated tour of the town to get a good overview, before hoofing it around on foot.
The historic Glenn House was located in a lovely neighborhood situated on a hill overlooking the river, so we opted to head back up to take the included tour of the lovely 1800’s home.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home was built in 1883. I especially liked these beautiful stained-glass windows in the foyer:
Across from the home, we thought this was quite the curious sight:
This was the original bridge that crossed the river; however, it was ultimately replaced by a new, modern one. Instead of completely tearing the old bridge down, they kept the beginning of the bridge intact as a river and riverfront park viewpoint. Clever!
Back in town, the downtown streets were pleasant to meander and photograph.
One of my favorite buildings that added a bit of charm to the town was this Spanish-style home to Southern Missourian, the local newspaper. These murals on the side of the building depict the history of the town and newspaper print:
The highlights of Cape Girardeau, in my opinion, were the fabulous river wall murals. What started as a necessary—but ugly—barrier to protect the town from flooding, was morphed into attractive and informative works of art.
“Mississippi River Tales” is an 18,000 square feet mural that covers the 15-foot high wall with 24 panels of history, beginning with the Native Americans who inhabited the area between 900 and 1200, long before our “founding fathers” stepped foot on American soil. Informative plaques describe each panel that tells the history of the area in chronological order. Painted by Chicago artist Thomas Melvin, in collaboration with several local artists, the mural has graced Cape Girardeau’s flood wall since 2005.
These were some of the panels of interest to me:
Immediately following “Mississippi River Tales” was the “Missouri Wall of Fame,” spanning 500 feet of the flood wall. Depicting 45 people who were born in the state or achieved fame while living in Missouri, this mural included some of our baseball favorites, including Yogi Berra, the New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher who had, let’s say, an interesting way with words!
Unfortunately, the mural also included Cape Girardeau’s very own Rush Limbaugh, who also has a way with words…
Next up: PATCHWORK PADUCAH: HOME OF THE NATIONAL QUILT MUSEUM