Riverfront Murals of Cape Girardeau
Cape Girardeau is a town on the Mississipi River in southeast Missouri. It has a colorful history and has preserved it in a unique way, by painting huge detailed murals depicting scenes from the area’s past on the floodwall built to keep the town from being regularly inundated by high river water. If you have to have a giant concrete wall between you and the river, this is the best way to do it!
The murals are located in the old downtown district, which is full of nifty old buildings. There are restaurants, antique shops, and bars to visit and when we were there, lots of free parking. There is a pathway along the murals on the town side of the wall with descriptive signs in front of each panel. There is also a pathway on the river side you can walk along.
I am in awe of the artistic skill needed for this, and the sheer scale of this project. The 24 panel Mississippi River Tales murals and the Missouri Wall of Fame are the ones we saw on this visit. There are other murals in the area by other artists as well. My photos don’t really do it justice, but I will put them here anyway.
Each mural in the Mississippi River Tales has a little sign in front explaining the story depicted. I only took a picture of one, because it was such a crazy story…
Missouri ingenuity. And the railroad track runs right in front of the mural today.
Nine of thirteen groups of Cherokees crossed the Mississippi River at Cape during the harsh winter of 1838-39. Thousands died during this forced relocation and dozens are buried in the area. There is a state park at the crossing location now.
Keep in mind, this is a smooth concrete wall…all the “stonework” is painted on. The one above fascinates me. It’s a painting of a painter painting the painting…
These are just beautiful in person, so if you get a chance to visit, do so! There is an online guide with lots more information here.
Here’s some of the downtown area…
I hope you enjoyed the photo tour!