On the trail

Monday, October 1, 2007

When Meriwether Lewis noted the beauty of Louis Lorimier's daughter in his journal on Nov. 23, 1803, he likely had no idea that it would be a talking point for historians some 200 years later.

Cape Girardeau is a town that loves its history, dating back to its establishment in the late 1700s and with Lorimier regarded as the city's founder. Lewis' journals have provided a rich narrative of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and that Lewis would mention Cape Girardeau -- and some people who lived here at the time -- gives our town historical bragging rights.

But the Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail, as it stands now, doesn't give Cape Girardeau any attention. The national trail only recognizes the official start of the expedition at a campground in Illinois across from St. Louis -- not the travels that preceded the arrival there of the Corps of Discovery.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson is proposing a bill that would change that. Her legislation would extend the trail to include the preliminary travels in a "legacy trail" that would include Cape Girardeau.

It would be nice to have our city's association with Lewis and William Clark preserved by an officially designated trail. But more important than bragging rights is the city's ability to market itself. Emerson's legislation, combined with the ongoing efforts at the Red House Interpretive Center, would give the city another tourism tool.

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