Six historic spots open for tours this weekend

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Certain attractions in Cape Girardeau are tough to miss, like the downtown floodwall and the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. But other treasures are often ignored, especially by longtime residents. To correct that problem, the city will hold its second Rediscover Your Cape weekend Saturday and Sunday.

The event highlights six historic spots in a special viewing this weekend.

"The primary purpose is for people to become acquainted or reacquainted with attractions in their own community. It's a great opportunity in one fell swoop on one weekend to have an opportunity to see these sites," said Chuck Martin, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Martin said the event is the ideal way for people to check out all the historic sites they have been meaning to see and become able to act as a tour guide for out-of-towners in the process.

"Next time you have visitors from out of town, you can say, 'Let's go see Fort D,'" he said.

The six sites on the tour are: Civil War Fort D, the Glenn House, the Cape River Heritage Museum, Old Lorimier Cemetery, the Red House Interpretive Center and Old St. Vincent's Church.

Participants can visit them all in one day or divide them up between the days. Guides and experts will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the sites' historical importance.

At Old Lorimier Cemetery, Brenda Schloss, a planning technician with the city, and city sexton Terrell Weaver will answer questions about the graves and history. A preservation expert will be there to discuss restoring headstones. People dressed in period costume may be at the cemetery portraying famous local people buried there.

The cemetery was established in 1808. Community founder Louis Lorimier, railroad entrepreneur Louis Houck and George Washington's cousin, George Lewis, are all buried there.

"I hope people get perhaps a sense of the history of Cape Girardeau and discover that the cemetery is a really beautiful place and not some place to shun. All cemeteries are like that, but this one is outstanding," Schloss said.

Jane Jackson, director of Cape Girardeau County's archive center, said the event is back by popular demand. The first Rediscover Your Cape was held during the Southeast Missourian's Centennial Celebration in 2005 when four sites were featured.

"We did it the first time, and it went over so well we thought, 'Let's try it again,'" she said. "We like to have people get out and hear the tales of Cape Girardeau. It's also a big kickoff for summer."

The Red House Interpretive Center will feature two special events this weekend. At 2 p.m. Saturday, the St. Vincent's School Colonial Dancers will perform. The Cape Central Fiddle Team will perform at the Red House at 2 p.m. Sunday.

All those who purchase tickets are eligible for a drawing for gift baskets. Tickets will be available at the sites but may be purchased in advance at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, Arena Park or the Osage Community Centre. For more information, call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 335-1631.

tgreaney@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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