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Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: Bartholomew Cousin House Razed

Almost Yesterday
Southeast Missouri State University

It seems like Almost Yesterday that Bartholomew Cousin moved into the district of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Born on March 28, 1767 near Cherbourg, France, Cousin emigrated to North American in 1791 and within a few years settled in Cape Girardeau where he was soon one of the most prosperous and important residents of the region.

The town’s founder and commandant, Louis Lorimier, could not read nor write. Cousin was fluent in Latin, French, English, Spanish and several Indian languages, and soon became his vital assistant. He emerged as a significant figure in this small frontier village, serving as a notary public, surveyor, land commissioner, translator, civil engineer, and general secretary to Lorimier.

Bartholomew Cousin drew the first street plan for the town of Cape Girardeau, and although drawn in 1806 it is the streetscape that residents currently drive in the downtown region.

Cousin eventually accumulated large land holdings west of Cape Girardeau, notably along Whitewater and Byrd Creeks. Until his death in 1824, Cousin lived most of his time in Cape Girardeau in a two-story log home on the east side of Spanish Street, just south of  Independence.

In the aftermath of World War II, a growing economy prompted the razing of several older structures in the downtown area, and in July of 1946 the historic Cousin House, approximately 150 years old, gave way to a modern structure.

The removal of the wooden siding revealed a house built of huge poplar logs, held together by wooden pins, each log about twelve inches wide and eight inches thick.

As the logs came down, most were hauled off and burned. But one of the logs was claimed by Professor Duckworth, curator of the college museum, who took it to the campus where it was placed on display.

It seems like Almost Yesterday.

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
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