Cairo Custom House

Cairo Custom House Museum 10-28-2008The Missourian has been full of stories of late about proposed courthouse shuffling and new facilities here and there. One consequence may be that the Common Pleas Courthouse may cease to be a courthouse. That raises the question of what will happen to one of the most iconic structures in Cape Girardeau.

Here’s a suggestion: turn it into a museum like the Cairo Custom House Museum in Cairo.

For all the time I’ve spent in Cairo, the last time I was in the old Custon House was when it was being used as a police station at the time of the riots in the late 1960s. I’ll have more about that on a later date.

A serious  “Wow!” factor

Cairo Custom House Museum 10-31-2014Mother, Curator Jessica and I really weren’t expecting much when we walked into the museum right before closing time. We weren’t two steps into the building when my friend, the curator for the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, broke the Coveting Commandment into a whole bunch of pieces.

First off, the building itself is a magnificent piece of architecture with features like arched brick ceilings that I’ve never seen before.

Because there are so many rooms, it was possible to create amazing grouping of exhibits. It would be easy to spend days in the place and still not see everything.

By the way, this website points out that the fireplaces like this one weren’t used for heating, but were used for ventilation.

Cairo Custom House Museum gallery

Here’s a taste of what you’ll see in the facility. I’ll talk about the darker history of the building in another post. I’ll also follow up with more photos on my next visit when I have more time. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

2 Replies to “Cairo Custom House”

  1. Ohhh, this is WONDERFUL!! JD and I must take a trip to Cairo this summer! I’m glad the town has another historic place to tour.
    And I heartily agree about the idea of turning the old Cape courthouse into a museum. That’s the only logical conclusion for such an elegant old building. I haven’t even seen the inside of that building.
    The Stoddard County Historical Society is wanting to convert the old county courthouse in Bloomfield into a museum, but, so far, the county commission is not impressed with the idea. I don’t know what’s involved in such an undertaking, but I feel sure that money is a factor. It always is.
    I love how you can sit there in the sunshine of West Palm Beach and sort through your archives for stored items to post on your blog site, Ken! If someone would READ my Statesman blogs, I would do that too!

  2. Ooops–I must give credit to the fact that the Stoddard County Commission did get a recent grant to renovate the deteriorating cupola on the old Bloomfield courthouse–so at least there is some positive movement to get it from falling into disrepair…
    It takes a fair amount of community volunteerism to preserve these historic structures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *