Rich in History

I had the distinct honor and privilege during this past month in participating in three very important historical events in our City of Cape Girardeau. These events reinforced my belief that our great city is very rich in history. It also highlighted to me the fact that we, as citizens, can do much more in the future to further develop our knowledge of local history. Our historical past has potential for our city to become a greater destination venue for visitors from throughout our region and nation.

The first of these recent events was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Missouri State Flag created by Marie Watkins Oliver in 1913. This was a very festive celebration held at Centenary United Methodist Church and at the former Oliver home at 740 North Street.
Attendees included several of the Oliver family, friends, citizens, legislators and the members of the State Historical Society Board which is currently chaired by Judge Steve Limbaugh. Judge Limbaugh did a great amount of work in planning this highly visible statewide event. Also I would like to thank Drs. Bert and Mary Ann Kellerman, current owners of the home, for their investment in dollars and time to assure the success of the event.

The second event was the recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Cape Girardeau held at Grace United Methodist Church on April 26th. Grace Church at the corner of Caruthers & Broadway was the actual site of this battle. Local historian Scott House, dressed in period Civil War costume, did an admirable job in recreating the scene and action with the aid of a very good power point that included pictures and maps. The mood created by the presentation, the dress of several of the attendees, and the fact that we were at the exact site of the actual battle actually created a very moving experience. My thanks to Scott and others who worked on this event to recognize the historical significance of the Civil War in our city.

The next event the following day celebrated the 130th year anniversary of the Glenn House. This was a festive occasion dampened only by the dreary rainy day. It was an honor for Fran and I to join in the celebration by cutting the anniversary cake in the back yard with a beautiful flowering dogwood in the background. Again several of the board members were dressed in period costume to assist in recreating the history of 130 years ago. My personal thanks to Tom Grantham and the entire board for their leadership and dedication to the continual restoration of the Glenn House. It is truly one of the gems of our city.

Now here is my challenge to the citizens of our City of Cape Girardeau. There continues to be only a small percentage of the citizens of our city who are dedicated to developing and restoring our history, one of our great assets. We need more citizen involvement in these and other projects and events. We are in need of tourism ambassadors as we will be hosting a multitude of riverboat stops this summer. Also anyone who enjoys history and would like to be a part of our past and also renovation of historical sites should contact our City Public Information Office at 339-6391 or the Convention Tourism Bureau at 335-1631 for contact information.

Harry Rediger