Museum director receives award for historic preservation effort

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Marge Thompson was honored by Sigma Pi Kappa recently for her work in historic preservation. Thompson, 78, is active in preserving her historic family home in Cape Girardeau and serves as director of the Cape River Heritage Museum. Standing, from left, are Dr. Steven Hoffman faculty advisor of Sigma Pi Kappa, Michelle Stanfield, Lisa Thomas, Marge Thompson and Terri Foley past president of Sigma Pi Kappa.Southeast Missourian

The historic honor society at Southeast Missouri State University, Sigma Pi Kappa, presented an award to Cape Girardeau resident Marge Thompson in recognition of her contribution to historic preservation.

"Thompson exemplifies historic preservation," said Terri Foley, past president of the organization. "In 1999, the Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Pi Kappa began presenting annual awards to outstanding local preservationists in accordance with the Sigma Pi Kappa ideal of providing and promoting leadership in the field of historic preservation."

Thompson has preserved her historic family home, serves on the board of directors for Cape River Heritage Museum and has been the museum's director since 1999.

Longview Place, Thompson's homestead, was built in 1870 by Col. George C. Thilenius, an instrumental founder in this city. The home, located at 1616 Whitener St., is on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite some alterations over the years Longview retains much of its original Greek revival features and character.

Thilenius fled to America in 1848, made a home in St. Louis and shortly after moved to Cape Girardeau where he made a living in the general mercantile business.

In 1861 Thilenius took an unpopular pro-Union, anti-slavery position and served with Union forces. In 1865 Thilenius was one of 61 men who signed the historic ordinance abolishing slavery in Missouri.

Following the war, Thilenius constructed a 160 barrel flour mill at 430 Broadway.

He also served as mayor of Cape Girardeau from 1867-1873. During his term of office he was instrumental in establishing the first public elementary school in 1867 and in bringing the state college to Cape Girardeau.

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