A gem on the river: the Red House

If you've ever wondered what an Old World whipping stocks might look or feel like, you'll soon be able to test your theory -- even have a friend snap your picture with neck and arms dangling awkwardly from its wooden scaffolding.

Or, if you have a fascination with America's pioneer days, you might be equally engrossed by a replica of a dugout canoe or an oxcart.

Ever wondered what it might be like to work inside an old-fashioned blacksmith's shop, with its fiery forge and sparking anvil? How about the workings of a community oven, where people of the past would gather to bake bread?

All of these things and more are being introduced at Cape Girardeau's Red House Interpretive Center downtown, along with an enhanced speakers series.

The Red House has always been a source of learning and reflecting on local history, but now it's becoming even more valuable as an educational tool. We can't know where we're going if we don't understand where we've been, and having a resource like this preserves our local history by drawing on creative approaches to engaging with it.

"We feel like we're still coming up with new ideas," said docent Debra Baughn, in a recent story.

Indeed, the staff and volunteers at Red House have shown just how inventive they can be in bringing the past to life. We are grateful to have this gem in our midst -- it not only contributes to local tourism, but also reminds us of our city's growth and development over time.