Newspaper building makes history

Saturday, February 19, 2005

In the 1920s, the Spanish-inspired stucco building at 301 Broadway was declared "the fanciest piece of property in Cape Girardeau."

While larger, more modern facilities have sprouted up throughout the city in the past 80 years, the two-story newspaper building at the corner of Broadway and Lorimier Street remains a centerpiece in local culture.

On Friday, the Southeast Missourian along with Will Mayfield College Arts & Sciences building in Marble Hill, Mo., and 17 other sites around the state were accepted by the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

"It really is a remarkable building," said Jon Rust, co-president and publisher of the Southeast Missourian. "It was recognized after it was built as the most outstanding newspaper building built in the country that year."

Rust said he was told historic preservation officials especially liked that the facility was built as a newspaper office and still serves that purpose today.

Rust and members of the local historic preservation society have spent the past year trying to achieve the National Register status.

Terri Foley, a historic preservationist involved in the Missourian's application, said the process involves researching the building's history and demonstrating how the building was significant to the community.

Being named to the national register allows a property's owner to be eligible for federal and state tax credits, increases property values and also adds to the community, Foley said.

"People travel across the country visiting buildings on the register," she said.

Now that the application has been accepted at the state level, the nomination will move on to the federal level. If approved at the federal level, which may take between 10 and 45 days, the Missourian will officially be placed on the national register.

Thomas P. Barnett, a well-known St. Louis, architect, designed the Missourian building in a Spanish Colonial Revival style to acknowledge Cape Girardeau's Spanish heritage. Construction was completed in 1925.

Also passed at the state level was a register nomination for the Will Mayfield College Arts & Sciences building, which was constructed in 1927 in Marble Hill.

The building served as the primary classroom, library and laboratory space for the small Baptist college until 1934. The facility now serves as a museum of natural history. The museum contains dinosaur bones that were found in Glenallen in the 1940s.

335-6611, extension 128

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