Portion of historic Broadway receives designation
Add a three-block section of Broadway in Cape Girardeau to the National Register of Historic Places. Steve Hoffman, a history professor at Southeast Missouri State University, and several of his historic-preservation students submitted the application that yielded the designation for the Broadway Commercial Historic District.
The nominating application stated that the 48 sites, 35 buildings and one parking lot included in this area between Frederick and Pacific streets in the 600, 700 and 800 blocks of Broadway and 210 N. Ellis Street, have contributed to the "character, significance and historic integrity" of the area.
The architecture is stunning, and according to Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger, it "means so much to our community."
Rediger stated that the crowds that attended museums and other historic gatherings during Cape Girardeau's recent Heritage Days celebration speak to the appreciation the community has for the history contained in it. No surprise there; we have a tradition of appreciating the history and culture embedded in our area.
The historic designation includes property that served as restaurants, supermarkets, auto companies, drugstores, service stations, hospitals and more, with many of the buildings now serving in other capacities. Hoffman highlighted that this area "reflects westward expansion of the downtown commercial district, showcased by its commercial architecture from the 1860s extending through the 1960s," as reported by the Southeast Missourian's Mark Bliss.
Certainly, current owners of these historic buildings carry a sense of pride. They hold history in their hands, which comes not only with joy, but with responsibility to preserve that history, something Hoffman called "a sense of stewardship."
State and federal tax credits also rest in the hands of property owners who renovate historic structures, an added incentive to preserve the history teeming from our community's Broadway Commercial Historic District.