Historical Attractions in Cape Girardeau, MO
Located along the Mississippi River in Missouri, Cape Girardeau is home to over 250 years of historical events, places, and people. Ranging from Mississippian life and Lewis and Clark to Mark Twain and the Victorian era, there are plenty of historical attractions to explore during your next visit! Tour a historic home, head out on a historical driving tour, or stop at one of the many historical attractions in town, like the Red House Interpretive Center or the Bollinger Mill State Historic Site. Here are a few historical sites and tours to get you started on your exploration of history in Cape Girardeau.
Red House Interpretive Center
One important historical attraction in Cape Girardeau is the Red House Interpretive Center, which commemorates the life of the city’s founder, Louis Lorimier. The site is a recreation of Lorimier’s trading post and home with many displays and authentic items for visitors to check out. You can also see the beautiful, historically accurate gardens that surround the home and the Sunrise Over a New Land mural that shows visitors what the Mississippi River looked like during that time period. The Red House is also a marker for Lewis and Clark’s visit to Cape Girardeau in 1803. There are numerous exhibits and interpretive panels that highlight Lorimier, Lewis and Clark, French Colonial architecture, and the settlers who once lived in the district and their day to day life during that time.
John Wesley Powell’s Fort D Historic Site
The John Wesley Powell’s Fort D Historic Site, known simply as Fort D to many, is another great place to learn about history in Cape Girardeau. Fort D was one of four forts built around the city of Cape Girardeau in the summer of 1861 as strategic measures during the Civil War. The forts were built by soldiers under the direction of Illinois Lt. John Wesley Powell, whose local company would serve the forts until leaving for the Tennessee River campaign and the Battle of Shiloh. Fort D is the only remaining fort that still stands today, and is a city historic site that helps visitors learn about the Civil War, and how it impacted Cape Girardeau. The site has a variety of events, reenactments, and demonstrations throughout the year, including a Living History demonstration at the end of the year in November. The Fort D Historic Site is a great place for Civil War buffs and those interested in history and is a great historical attraction to visit in Cape Girardeau.
The Glenn House
If you want to immerse yourself in history while exploring historical attractions, The Glenn House is a great destination to step back in time to the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Cape Girardeau. The Glenn House was built in 1883 for the David Glenn family and helps to depict an example of the Victorian period lifestyle complete with architecture, furnishings, clothing fashions, and more of the period. For fans of historical architecture, you can learn about how the house was originally built in a vernacular farmhouse style, before being renovated in 1900 to the Queen Anne style with Free Classic influences. Since that time, the house has been restored to its original glory while preserving many architectural features like the lights, plumbing fixtures, moldings, and wall treatments, plus the authentic period furniture and late Victorian interior. The Glenn House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and gives visitors a glimpse into what life was like during the Victorian & Edwardian eras.
Bollinger Mill State Historic Site
To learn about the history of milling in the Cape Girardeau area, visitors can head to the Bollinger Mill State Historic Site which is located just 19 miles west of the city. Here you can explore the 19th century mill and the neighboring covered bridge, and discover how the mill was used to grind corn into meal during the Civil War era. The site represents over 200 years of milling history, and visitors can explore the four-story stone and brick building to take in all the history that is stored within its walls. Both the mill and the nearby Burfordville Covered Bridge (built in 1858) are on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is also a great setting for a picnic and exploring the land near the river.
Historical Driving Tours
Along with historical attractions, Cape Girardeau offers many driving tours including various historical tours that you can explore throughout the city. Visitors seeking to go on a historical driving tour can discover the Civil War Driving Tour, African American History Driving Tour, the Exploring Lewis & Clark Tour, and the Architectural Driving Tour. Each tour will take drivers around the city to various historical sites relating to the topic of the tour. These educational and exciting tours will take you back in time to several different time periods and help you understand the events and history of Cape Girardeau.
Start planning your next trip with VisitCape!
220 North Fountain
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701
Phone: (573) 335-1631