Louis Houck, in his undated manuscript "Reminiscences," included two more descriptions of Cape Girardeau's residential streets as they appeared when he made this town his home in April 1868. They were published in 1969 by the Southeast Missourian as a way to mark the centennial of Houck's arrival here.
The Gale/Doyle house stood at the southwest corner of Broadway and Lorimier Street, now the site of the Missourian Building. (Photo by Kassel's Studio, Southeast Missourian archive)
Published May 3, 1969, in the Southeast Missourian:
Missourian Rests on Site of Historic Gale House
Mr. Eugene Garaghty then owned a half-block, fenced in with a high board fence and this lot, at the corner of Fountain Street, was used as a potato field. Afterwards, when the Garaghty estate was settled up, all that property was sold at judicial sale for about $1,200 or $1,500. The house at the corner of Fountain Street was the Johnson house, where the United States Court and post office building (Old Federal Building) now stands. The property belonged to Tom Johnson.
Where the Himmelberger-Harrison building now stands was the Whitelaw or Rodney residence, a two-story brick building, one of the best located and best houses in town at that time. South of the Johnson house on Fountain Street was a two-story frame belonging to the Rodneys. Mr. Tatum, who started a tobacco factory in town, lived a number of years there.
Opposite the Turner Hall was the large two-story brick house belonging to the Gales, surrounded by a large garden. This is one of the oldest brick houses in town. Across the street from the Gale home stood the Presbyterian Church, still there but greatly enlarged and rebuilt. On this street in the same block with the Gale house stood the large two-story frame, still there, known as the Stokes house. Further down Nicholas Dittlinger had a one-story brick residence, just north of the Baptist Church. There was no other house on either side of the street until you reached the corner of Lorimier and Merriwether streets, where Mr. Leon J. Albert then lived. His house afterwards was moved from that place to the corner of Independence and Lorimier streets, where it stands on a brick foundation, one of the oldest frame structures in town.
Moses McLain had a house on the southeast corner of Independence and Lorimier. A little east of the McLain property was located the old Turner Hall, a one-story building with a front of about 20 feet and 50 feet long. This building was afterward moved up to a location near Good Hope Street. The corner of Independence and Spanish streets was then full of vats that had been used by Mr. McLain when he carried on the tannery business. South of this lot Mr. Sheridan had a little blacksmith shop. Opposite this shop. Maj. Manning Kimmel and Mr. Deane owned a double brick house, now the property of John Stratman. On the northeast corner of Spanish and Independence streets, a Mr. Viquerie carried on a little pork-packing business, associated with Mr. St. Avit.
Going south on Spanish Street, Mrs. Lansmon lived in a frame house next to the Kimmel property. This house is still there. Further down stood a small, one-story frame house and next to it, a brick house then belonging to Mr. Strauss. Across Merriwether, on the corner, Mr. Siebenkotten had a shoemaker's shop in his little one-story house. Next to him lived Mr. Burgess in a two-story brick house which stills stands there. Mr. John Albert lived in a large and beautiful brick house next to St. Vincent's Church. St. Vincent's Church, erected only in the '50s, still stands, only a steeple having been added to the building. Next to the Church was an old frame house which had been the residence of the Spanish Commandant, Don Louis Lorimier. It was removed in the year I came to Cape Girardeau. On the southeast corner of William and Spanish streets was a little frame house which had been moved a little further south to make room for a brick house.
On the river front, on the corner of William Street, the Langlois family lived in a frame house still standing, surrounded by a beautiful garden. Although the house was small, everything around it was in fine order and looked very attractive. The Langlois family lived there since the early '40s. Mr. Langlois was at one time receiver of the land office at Kaskaskia, Illinois, and at the time of his death, a large land owner in Illinois; it was said that he owned 80 acres of land now in the heart of Chicago. But in some way, most of his property was lost to the family.
Published May 5, 1969, in the Southeast Missourian:
Girardeau Courthouse Is Prison During Civil War
South of the Langlois property on the other corner of the block on Good Hope Street, St. Vincent's Academy and Convent was and is now located. This institution was established there in about 1838 or 1839. In the same block on Spanish Street, Mr. Jacob Burrough lived in the north end of a two-story double brick house erected in 1840 and in the south end lived Mr. Finley Taylor.
In the next block south, fronting on the river, stood a large two-story brick house erected by Benjamin H. Horrell which was afterwards owned by Col. Singleton Kimmel, but when I first knew the place it was known as the Horrell house. On the west side of the street opposite this lot were only a few small frame houses. The Fougues had a small house on the corner of Good Hope and Spanish streets which is still there. Further north, Dr. Gilroy occupied a two-story brick house and on the corner of this block on William Street, the Deanes lived. This place afterwards became the property of Col. P.R. Van Frank.
On the other side of William Street was the house of Mr. Curran, who used to carry the mail from Cape Girardeau to Big Prairie, now Sikeston and New Madrid. The next houses were occupied by Mr. Fox, Mr. John Lansmon the building contractor, and next to him was the residence of William Moore, a frame house now occupied by Mrs. Mary Weber.
Further down a one-story brick house stood, the property of the Watson estate, and adjacent was a large house with a gallery on the south side, the property of the Hayden family. That house afterwards burned down. On the northwest corner of Merriwether and Spanish, Mrs. Travis owned a two-story frame house. The property now belongs to Mrs. Wilson Siebert of St. Louis. When I first came to Cape Girardeau, a most beautiful elm tree stood on the corner of the sidewalk in front of this house, the only tree on the sidewalk in the west side of the street at that time.
South of the Courthouse Square, the Watsons had a large brick house and on the corner of the block Mr. Kraft operated a bakery. The courthouse then (1870) stood on a bare and much washed and gullied hill. What may be called a pig path led up to this seat of justice. But those in authority once thought that stone steps ought to be constructed from Spanish Street up the hill to the courthouse, and when I came to Cape Girardeau the stone for these steps was lying along the side of a proposed walk and had been lying loose and in peace for some time, and lawyers and litigants and officers climbed up the hill along the pig path. I remember one of the first things that I did in Cape Girardeau was to talk and agitate, as far as my situation as a "newcomer" would allow to get those steps put up so as to make the approach to the courthouse easier.
The courthouse was a small brick building principally noted for the fact that during the war, suspected Confederates had been imprisoned in the dark, gloomy damp cellar, indeed a veritable dungeon. Among others whose names were then conspicuously mentioned as prisoners immured in that dungeon were Byrne McGuire of Jackson. This building was also headquarters for the provost marshal during the war.
I talked to old Mr. Shivelbine, who at that time was the presiding genius of what was then called the Arcade saloon, opposite the St. Charles Hotel. He was a member of the City Council, genial and pleasant and within a month or two after I came to Cape Girardeau, I rented an office from him in a building opposite Mr. Garaghty's store on Main Street, and as he promptly collected his cash rent every month we soon were on very friendly terms, so I urged upon him the fact that the stone steps ought to be put up to the courthouse and he took the matter up in the council and then I impressed on him how much it would improve the square if a row of trees was planted on each side of the steps and he agreed with me and forthwith personally secured a lot of so-called tame mulberry trees that then grew everywhere around town, mulberry trees that bore no fruit, and planted them. The trees did well and grew fast. In that way, I think it had some influence in that direction.