Although it ceased operations 83 years ago, the Cape Girardeau street railway had an outsized influence on the city’s history, one that still echoes today.
The former streetcar system has been loosely reincarnated in the form of a free downtown “trolley” — although this modern version is more of a bus than a streetcar. It does, however, follow a vaguely similar route to the original streetcar loop, with the casino taking the place of the terminus at the shoe factory.
Meanwhile, construction work this year along Main Street has produced a pile of vintage streetcar rails. Buried for decades under the concrete and asphalt of Main Street, these old rails have emerged in relatively good condition. They tell the story of Cape Girardeau’s early attempts at mass transit.