Whither now "historic" Cape Girardeau? Grind your gears toward the future? Smooth out the human bumps? Or lurk in stasis until you can salvage your bric-a-brac for the bed-and-breakfast set? Shame on you, Cape Girardeau, for coming to the party far too late. What about the treasures you could have salvaged but didn't?
I worked in downtown Cape Girardeau. I lived downtown. I owned a home that is now an art gallery. And I witnessed the destruction of the once vibrant Main-and-Broadway district while the community wizards of wisdom wizened commerce to the west side.
I saw J.C. Penney's leave, Sears slink sunward, Otasco fold, Woolworth collapse and Ward's die.
I have lived in St. Charles with its wonderful historic district. I have lived in Washington, Mo., with its nearly intact, vibrant, heritage-focused downtown. And, for nearly a decade, I lived just a few miles south of Hermann, Mo., one of the most historic sites in Missouri -- a community that long ago embraced a heritage that Cape Girardeau, if it had chosen, could have also rightfully claimed.
Shame on you, Cape Girardeau. Shame on you for pretending that you care. Otherwise I would applaud your arrogance.
STEVEN C. PARSONS, Marble Hill, Mo.