Red House Interpretive Center

128 Aquamsi Street, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
The Red House Interpretive Center is a Certified Lewis and Clark Trail Site and a Missouri Legacy Project.


 Bonjour mes amis! Welcome to the Cape Girardeau District of 1803. The Red House Interpretive Center is located just off Main Street in historic downtown Cape Girardeau. The Center commemorates the life of community founder and French-Canadian, Louis Lorimier, as well as the visit of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in November, 1803. The Red House Interpretive Center houses an early 1800s exhibit that reflects the lives of the early settlers of the old Cape Girardeau district. In addition, a rendering of Lorimier's Trading Post displays authentic items that would have been sold at the turn of the 19th century. The Red House Interpretive Center is also the location of the Melvin Gateley Vision 2000 Garden.
 Click here to learn about the Red House Interpretive Center Board.

Hours of Operation
Open Saturdays from May to October | 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Admission & Tours
Admission is free.
Group tours are also available by appointment on weekdays throughout the year. Contact the Cape Girardeau Convention & Visitors Bureau at (573) 335-1631 to schedule a tour.

Red House Exhibits

Lorimier's Trading Post
In 1803, Lorimier's Trading Post was the largest and most well known trading post between St. Louis and Memphis. Traders, Native Americans and local residents came to the post to either buy or trade for needed goods. On Nov. 23, 1803, Meriwether Lewis and members of his expedition stopped by Lorimier's trading post for supplies and to visit with Lorimier and his family. 
The Lorimier Room
The Lorimier Room is decorated as Lorimier's home might have been when Meriwether Lewis spent the evening dining with the family and admiring Lorimier's daughter on Nov. 23, 1803.
The Girardeau Room
The Girardot Room contains a large map of the entire territory under the control of Don Louis Lorimier for the Spanish Government. 
Historic Gardens
The gardens on the north side of the house show the types of garden you might have seen in 1803 with flowers, vegetables, cooking herbs, and medicinal herbs.


Red Hours


  • Contact Info
  • 410 Kiwanis Drive
    Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
  • Telephone 573.339.6340
  • Email parks@cityofcape.org
  • Rainout Line 573.975.1024


This segment discusses how the replica Red House Interpretive Center was built in a similar fashion to what is known about Lorimier's residence.


This clip gives background information about Louis Lorimier, his founding of Cape Girardeau, and what's known about his original "red house," constructed in 1797. Lorimier's red house was his home, trading post, and served the fledgling community as a government center. The original red house was destroyed by a tornado in 1850. A replica of the home, the Red House Interpretive Center, now stands nearby to the original red house location.


The Red Hats are an elite group of volunteers who each put in more than 200 hours of their personal time to make the dream of the Red House Interpretive Center a reality. The Red Hats can be recognized by their signature red berets.