Main Births etc
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
—  City  —
Downtown Cape Girardeau
Nickname(s): Cape, The City of Roses, River City
Location of Cape Girardeau within County and State
Coordinates: 37°18′33″N 89°32′47″W / 37.30917, -89.54639Coordinates: 37°18′33″N 89°32′47″W / 37.30917, -89.54639
Country United States
State Missouri
County Cape Girardeau County, Missouri
Founded 1793
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Harry Rediger (R)
 • City 28.49 sq mi (73.79 km2)
 • Land 28.43 sq mi (73.63 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.16 km2)
Elevation 351 ft (107 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 37,941
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 38,544
 • Density 1,334.5/sq mi (515.3/km2)
 • Metro 134,051
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Code 63701, 63702, 63703, 63705
Area code(s) 573
FIPS code 29-11242 [4]
GNIS feature ID 0731549 [5]

Cape Girardeau ( /ˈkp ɪˈrɑrd/, French: Cap-Girardeau [kap ʒiʁaʁdo]  ( listen); colloquially referred to as "Cape") is a city located in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri in the United States. It is located approximately 115 miles (185 km) southeast of St. Louis and 175 miles (282 km) north of Memphis. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 37,941 making it the 16th largest city in Missouri,[6] and the largest city in southeast Missouri. A college town, it is the home of Southeast Missouri State University.


Map of Cape Girardeau and vicinity, showing location of its forts (September 1865).

The city is named after Jean Baptiste de Girardot, who established a temporary trading post in the area around 1733. He was a French soldier stationed at Kaskaskia, Illinois between 1704-1720. The 'Cape' in the city name was a rock promontory overlooking the Mississippi River, later destroyed by railroad construction.[7] As early as 1765, a bend in the Mississippi River about 60 miles (97 km) south of the French village of Ste. Genevieve had been referred to as Cape Girardot or Girardeau. The settlement there dates from 1793 when the Spanish government, which had secured Louisiana in 1764, granted Louis Lorimier, a French-Canadian, the right to establish a trading post, which gave him trading privileges and a large tract of land surrounding his post. Lorimier was made commandant of the district and prospered from the returns on his land sales and trade with indigenous peoples such as the Ozark Bluff Dwellers and the Mississippian. Also in 1793, Baron Carondelet granted the Black Bob Band of Hathawekela Shawnee land near Cape Girardeau. The Band became known as the Cape Girardeau Shawnee, and successfully resisted moving to Indian Territory with the rest of the Shawnee tribe until 1833.[8][9][10]

The town of Cape Girardeau was incorporated in 1808, prior to Missouri statehood, and was reincorporated as a city in 1843. The advent of the steamboat in 1835 led it to become the biggest port on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Memphis. It was established on January 4, 1793. The Civil War Battle of Cape Girardeau took place April 26, 1863. The Union and Confederate armies collided in a fierce, four-hour artillery barrage on this day in which 23 Union and 30 Confederate soldiers were killed.

The Old Federal Courthouse, located at Broadway and Fountain Streets and built in the late 1940s, was the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case, United States v. Carmack, 329 U.S. 230 (1946), in which the Court upheld the federal government's authority under the Condemnation Act of 1888 to seize land owned by a state or locality.[11] In December 2003, a new four-lane cable-stay bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau was opened. Its official name is "The Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.", honoring former U.S. Rep. Bill Emerson (R-Mo.) who led the fight in Congress to appropriate federal funding for the bridge's construction. The two towers of the bridge reach a height of approximately 91 meters. The "Old Bridge" was completed in September 1928 to replace a ferry and was only 20 feet (6.1 m) wide.[12] It was demolished after the completion of the Bill Emerson Bridge.

On May 21, 1949 a tornado touched down and ripped through Cape Giradeau. It cut a swath 200 yards wide, pulverized 233 homes, and killed 23 people.

The City of Cape Girardeau was recognized in January 2008 by First Lady Laura Bush as a Preserve America Community.[13]

The city is known to some as "The City of Roses" because of a 9-mile (14 km) stretch of highway that was once lined with dozens of rose bushes. Although there used to be many prominent rose gardens around the community, few of these gardens exist today. The city is also known as Cape Girardeau: Where the River Turns a Thousand Tales, due to the history of the town, the Mississippi River.

Historic landmarks[]

Waterfront of Cape Girardeau along the Mississippi River during the Great Flood of 1993.

Numerous murals commemorate the city's history. The largest and perhaps most dramatic is the Mississippi River Tales Mural, located on the city's downtown floodwall. Covering nearly 18,000 square feet (1,700 m2), it spans the length of the downtown shopping district and features 24 panels. Behind the floodwall lies the Riverfront Park of Cape Girardeau Missouri, where riverboats dock and visitors can view the lazy Mississippi River.

There are 39 historic sites in Cape Girardeau that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of these, eight are historic districts, such as Cape Girardeau Commercial Historic District, which was listed in 2000 and includes multiple contributing properties. The growth of the town can be documented through Sanborn Maps, over 80 of which are available online.[14] Other landmarks include the Fort D Historic Site and the Confederate War Memorial. Among the city's older cemeteries are Apple Creek Cemetery,[15] Salem Cemetery.[16] and Old Lorimier Cemetery[17]


Cape Girardeau is located at 37°18′33″N 89°32′47″W / 37.30917, -89.54639 (37.309042, -89.546498).[18] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.49 square miles (73.79 km2), of which, 28.43 square miles (73.63 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.[1] The "cape" that the city is named after no longer exists. A rock which remains from the previously existing cape can be seen on a promontory which overlooks the Mississippi River in Cape Rock Park.


Cape Girardeau has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa). Cape Girardeau typically experiences its hottest month in July, and coldest month in January. The record for highest temperature was recorded in 2012 at 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and the record for lowest temperature was recorded in 1977 at -18 degrees Fahrenheit. Cape Girardeau's record rainfall of 3.39 inches occurred on June 1, 2013 that broke the old record of 1.82 set in 1971.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 2,663
1870 3,585 34.6%
1880 3,889 8.5%
1890 4,297 10.5%
1900 4,815 12.1%
1910 8,475 76.0%
1920 10,252 21.0%
1930 16,227 58.3%
1940 19,426 19.7%
1950 21,578 11.1%
1960 24,947 15.6%
1970 31,282 25.4%
1980 34,361 9.8%
1990 34,438 0.2%
2000 35,349 2.6%
2010 37,941 7.3%

The Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses Alexander County, Illinois, Bollinger County, Missouri and Cape Girardeau County, Missouri and has a population of 96,275.

2010 census[]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 37,941 people, 15,205 households, and 8,466 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,334.5 inhabitants per square mile (515.3 /km2). There were 16,760 housing units at an average density of 589.5 per square mile (227.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.13% White, 12.75% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.89% Asian, 0.04% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 1.54% from other races, and 2.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.76% of the population.

Out of the 15,205 households, 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 38.8% had married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.3% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of a single person and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household consisted of 2.27 people and the average family consisted of 2.89 members.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.3% under the age of 18, 20.2% between the ages of 18 and 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age in the city was 32.1 years. The gender makeup of the city was 47.4% male and 52.6% female.

2000 census[]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 35,349 people, 14,380 households, and 8,297 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,456.5 people per square mile (562.4/km²). There were 15,827 housing units at an average density of 652.1 per square mile (251.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.32% White, 9.30% Black or African American, 1.13% Asian, 0.39% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.43% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.10% of the population.

There were 14,380 households of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 43.8% had married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.3% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of a single person and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 18.4% from ages 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,502 and the median income for a family was $47,592. Males had a median income of $31,575 and females had a median income of $21,392. The per capita income for the city was $21,877. About 8.5% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 and over.


According to the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, there are more than 100 employers in Cape Girardeau who employ at least 100 workers. St. Francis HealthCare System is the city's largest employer with 2,576 employees at St. Francis Medical Center and several clinics. Southeast Health, the city's other major health care provider, employs 2,200. Southeast Missouri State University employs 1,250 on its main campus in the city, and Cape Girardeau Public Schools employs 713.


St. Francis HealthCare System serves the Cape Girardeau area. This system contains 6 different centers. St. Francis offers immediate care in Cape Girardeau and Perryville, Mo. Landmark Hospital is a 30-bed facility that treats patients with catastrophic or chronic medical conditions. St. Francis also has joint partnership with the Physician Alliance Surgery Center, which performs ear, nose, throat, and general surgery. The Black River Medical Center offers three beds and an emergency room. The main medical center is a 280-bed facility in Cape Girardeau that serves over 650,000 people. Patients come from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, and Arkansas. Some of the services offered at the main campus are the Neurosciences Institute, Orthopedic Institute, Family BirthPlace, Heart Hospital, Emergency and Trauma Center, Cancer Institute, and Fitness Plus.

Southeast Health is a health care system with its main facility, Southeast Missouri Hospital, located in Cape Girardeau. This healthcare system serves patients from southeast Missouri, western Kentucky, southern Illinois, and northern Arkansas. Southeast Health also has a cancer center, heart center, fitness center, breast care and diagnostic center, campus health clinic, diabetes center, pharmacy, and hospice.


The political scene in Cape Girardeau is largely conservative. The majority of local positions are held by Republicans. In the 2012 Presidential Election, 71.1% of voters voted for Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, while 27.2% voted Democratic and 1.7% voted Independent.


There are over 20 different schools in Cape Girardeau. These range from pre-K to higher education. Public and private and parochial school systems are present within the city.

Public Schools[]

Alma Schrader Elementary - 1360 Randol Avenue

Blanchard Elementary - 1829 N Sprigg St

Clippard Elementary - 2880 Hopper Rd

Franklin Elementary - 1550 Themis Street

Jefferson Elementary – 520 South Minnesota

Central Middle School – 1900 Thilenius St

Central Junior High School – 205 Caruthers Street

Central Senior High School – 1000 S Silver Springs Rd

Career and Technology Center – 1080 S Silver Springs Rd

Alternative Education Center – 330 N. Spring St

Parochial schools[]

Cape Christian School - 1855 Perryville Rd

Notre Dame Regional High School - 265 Notre Dame Dr

Trinity Lutheran School - 55 North Pacific

Eagle Ridge Christian School - 4210 State Highway K

Parkview State School – (no website found) 1020 S Parkway St

Prodigy Leadership Academy - 1301 N Middle St

St Mark Lutheran Preschool 1900 Cape Lacroix Rd

St. Mary’s Catholic School – 210 S Sprigg St

St. Vincent De Paul Grade School – 1912 Ritter St

Deer Creek Christian Community – 2039 Cape Lacroix Rd


Cape Girardeau Partnership for higher education – 1080 South Silver Springs Road

Metro Business College - 1732 N Kingshighway St

Southeast Missouri State University – 1 University Plaza

Southeast Hospital College of Nursing & Health Sciences – 2001 William St

Eclipse School-Cosmetology - 52 S Plaza Way

Trend Setters-Cosmetology Inc - 835 S Kingshighway


Bill Emerson Bridge.

The City of Cape Girardeau has established a Transportation Trust Fund that implements a 0.05% local sales tax. All of that money is used on transportation improvement projects. General projects are also included to keep the city’s streets in good condition. On June 15, 2000 the Cape Girardeau County Commission passed Resolution 00-06 which formed the Cape Girardeau County Transportation Commission. The CGCTA now offers transportation to the citizens of Cape Girardeau County, which ultimately benefits the citizens of the city of Cape Girardeau. The services that the CGCTA offer are essentially buses and taxis.

In 2011, Cape Girardeau launched the Ride the City campaign. This dedicated 16 miles of bicycle lanes in city streets. There are lanes that are used only by bicycles and lanes where cars and bicycles can share space.

Bus and taxi services[]

Buses are offered to the citizens by the Cape Transit Authority and have several stops throughout the city. A general admission is $2, senior citizens are $1, and children ages 6 and under are free. Special pick-ups can be made to those who are disabled and live within three-fourths of mile from a designated stop. Greyhound buses are also available for long distance transit. The Cape Girardeau County Transit Authority handles the city's taxi service.


The City of Cape Girardeau owns the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport. This is a full service airport that offers flights to and from Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, MO.

In popular culture[]

James McMurtry's "Song for a Deck Hand's Daughter" is set in Cape Girardeau, as is the book Killshot by Elmore Leonard; some scenes for the 2009 film based on Leonard's novel were shot on location in Cape Girardeau, though many were cut from the final film. Also, scenes from the film Gone Girl were shot in Cape Girardeau.

Notable people[]

  • Joseph Cable, a Medal of Honor recipient during the American Indian Wars
  • Shirley Crites (1934–1990), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player
  • A. J. Ellis, catcher, Los Angeles Dodgers, born in Cape Girardeau
  • Andrew Conway Ivy, (1893–1978), president of the American Physiological Society (1939–41)
  • Terry Jones (b. 1951), pastor of Dove World Outreach Center who burned a Qur'an in 2011
  • Peter Kinder, 46th Lieutenant Governor of Missouri (2005–present)
  • Richard Kinder, businessman and philanthropist
  • The Limbaugh family, including political commentator David Limbaugh and his brother Rush
  • Tony Spinner, guitarist and singer
  • Billy Swan, singer who had a #1 hit song named "I Can Help" in 1974.
  • Terry Teachout, writer


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Census: Cape Girardeau County, city and Jackson show large population growth
  7. ^ "History of Cape Girardeau". City of Cape Girardeau. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "Hathawekela Indian Tribe History". Access Genealogy. 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  9. ^ "Johnson-Wallace & Fish-Kirk Family Pedigree Charts Chief Paschal "Pas-Cal-We" Fish". 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  10. ^ John Mack Faragher (1997). ""More Motley than Mackinaw": From Ethnic Mixing to Ethnic Cleansing on the Frontier of the Lower Missouri, 1783-1833". Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  11. ^ Dimitrakopoulos, Dionyssis G. Individual Rights and Liberties Under the U.S. Constitution: The Case Law of the U.S. Supreme Court. Boston: M. Nijhoff, 2007, p. 820.
  12. ^ Mary Charlotte Aubry Costello (1995). Climbing the Mississippi River Bridge by Bridge. Mary C. Costello. p. 48. ISBN 0-9644518-1-6. 
  13. ^ Preserve America Community
  14. ^ Sanborn Maps for Missouri: Cape Girardeau, University of Missouri Digital Library. Accessed 2011-03-14.
  15. ^ "Apple Creek Cemetery". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  16. ^ "Salem Cemetery". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  17. ^ "Old Lorimier Cemetery". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  18. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  19. ^ "Missouri Population 1900 - 1990" (CSV). Missouri Census Data Center. Retrieved 28 February 2010. 

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.