CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A piece of history in Cape Girardeau is undergoing a transformation.
The Common Pleas Courthouse with soon be the new location for Cape Girardeau City Hall.
“This building is probably one of the most significant buildings in Cape Girardeau and the region,” said Steven Hoffman, Southeast Missouri State University Historic Preservation Program Coordinator and Professor of History.
The Common Pleas Courthouse dates back to 1845. Now, it’s the beginning of another chapter in its history.
‘We’re looking forward to restoring this building so that it can be used again as a city facility, so that we can preserve these buildings for future generations but still provide services for our citizens,” said Anna Kangas, Project Manager for City Hall.
As Phil Penzel and his team at Penzel Construction work on the project, they’re uncovering hidden gems from the 1850′s.
“Every time we find something new or we find an old photograph that somebody sends in, it’s really exciting to be able to touch history like that,” said Penzel.
Penzel pointed out an original brick wall in Carnegie Library that crews found after knocking down a wall that used to cover it. According to Kangas, it’s one of the many features they’ll preserve for the new City Hall.
“We have a lot more opportunity to reconfigure our different departments and divisions and just make it a lot more efficient not only for our employees but for our citizens when they come visit us,” said Kangas.
Hoffman described it as a generational project, combining architecture from the 1800′s, 1900′s and now 2000′s.
“The best way to preserve a building is to use it. And the best use for a building is for what its original purpose is, and this building was originally designed to serve the public and be a public building, and so having City Hall located here, I think is going to ensure its preservation,” said Hoffman.
The project is expected to be finished by early fall 2021.
Project leaders are asking for the public’s help in finding any photos of the old Common Pleas Courthouse building or Carnegie Hall. They’re especially looking for photos of the inside before 1959. If you have any photos, you can drop them off at City Hall or email them to email@example.com.