Cape Girardeau's history runs deep. And when you think local history, one name that comes to mind is Louis Lorimier.
Recently about 120 people gathered on a steamy afternoon at Old Lorimier Cemetery in Cape Girardeau for the Louis Lorimier bicentennial commemorative celebration. The cemetery, founded by Lorimier about four years before his death, is one focal point of our city's heritage.
Dr. Frank Nickell, Southeast Missouri State University's director of the Center of Regional History, said in his remarks that several notable people are buried in the cemetery, including: a U.S. senator, a college president, city mayors, Louis Houck, Amy Kimmel and the builder of Old St. Vincent's Church.
The following is an excerpt from Nickell's speech:
In the midst of all of the new growth and development in our community in the past two decades -- the second greatest period of economic development in our history -- there is a danger that we may over look our past.
Cemeteries are the first line of defense in the preservation of a community's history. The decline of old and historic cemeteries is an indicator of the declining interest in and care for the history of a community.
Cemeteries are a tangible, touchable connection to the past. They tell us who we are as a community; they show us where we came from; they teach us about our ethnicity, our settlement pattern, our professional growth, our crises, our tragedies and our epidemics. They tell us how we worshipped, what we valued, and what we aspired to.
Such is Old Lorimier.
Thank you to those who attended and organized this event. The cemetery is but one example of our city's history, and to those who seek to preserve it we're grateful.
To read more about the cemetery and Lorimier and see photos from the event, go to semissourian.com.