City seeks to add district to historic registry

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The city of Cape Girardeau is seeking to add an eighth neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places' list of historic districts, according to city planning technician Richard Reinhardt.

The State Historic Preservation office awarded a grant to the city to prepare a nomination to register the section of Lorimier and South Spanish streets between Themis and Morgan Oak streets as a historic district.

There are currently six historic districts on the national register, and a seventh nomination currently pending for the South Middle Historic District.

The selection process involved deciding on the boundaries of what would be considered the historic district by examining each property in the area to determine its historical significance, Reinhardt said.

"You don't really want to go and throw in a building that's not contributing unless its right in the middle of the district," Reinhardt said.

The city's original plans for what is referred to as the Courthouse-Seminary Residential Historic District excluded the Cape Girardeau Common Pleas Courthouse, Reinhardt said.

The boundaries now include the courthouse, plus other historic landmarks and properties such as St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, B'nai Israel Synagogue and the Glenn House.

The historic preservation program at Southeast Missouri State University and the city of Cape Girardeau will be holding an information meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday for owners of property that falls within the Courthouse-seminary district, city spokeswoman Nicolette Brennan said.

Homeowners are encouraged to attend to learn more about the nomination and have any questions or concerns addressed, Reinhardt said.

Owners of property designated on the National Register of Historic Places can receive tax credits, provided any renovations or additions done to the buildings maintain the historic nature of the house.

The neighborhood was selected as a historic district because of its role in the development of business in the city, said Dr. Steven Hoffman, director of the historic preservation program at Southeast.

The area served as an early residential district for proprietors of downtown businesses, giving it an important role in the commercial growth of the city, Hoffman said.

"A lot of nice homes were being built in the 1890s and even still in the 11920s Hoffman said.

"It represents that era of our development as a city," Hoffman said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

388-3635

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