Reimagining the H & H

Friday, June 29, 2018

In January 1908, the Himmelberger & Harrison (H & H) Building opened at 400 Broadway Street. It housed the headquarters of the Himmelberger & Harrison Lumber Company, as well as offices for the Little River Drainage District and the Southeast Missouri Trust Company. The first fireproof, modern office building in Cape Girardeau, it was what the January 15, 1908, issue of the Daily Republican noted as a building “only an artist could describe … with justice.”

Co-developers Jeff and Jim Maurer and Mark and Scott Rhodes have worked to restore the building to its late 19th- and 20th-century revival style architecture, joining the building with a freestanding tower to the two-story former Marquette Centre at 221 N. Fountain Street. The buildings are set to open late this summer as a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel.

The City of Cape Girardeau and Cape Chamber have long desired a downtown hotel to bring revenue to downtown businesses who might benefit from guests staying overnight, Maurer says. The development team chose Marriott because it is one of the premier hotel brands not already in Cape Girardeau. Courtyard, Marriott’s flagship brand, often operates out of historic buildings renovated in city downtowns.

The hotel is designed for those who want to “experience what Cape was in its downtown district heyday,” Maurer says.

In the lobby, salvaged white marble from the original building is used on the columns, the hardwood on the walls is from Himmelberger and Harrison’s timber holdings and the main bank vault — gears and locks still intact — functions as a meeting room.

Further back, the new hotel once housed an automotive dealership. This area will feature subtly rustic colors, carpets and wallpapers, as well as an exposed concrete ceiling and columns — a nod to its industrial beginnings.

“We don’t build things like the Marquette and H & H Building anymore,” Maurer says. “When you have an opportunity to restore something back to what it looked like, that’s a rare opportunity, and you better take it.”