Almost Yesterday: The shoe industry comes to Cape Girardeau

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It seems like Almost Yesterday that the Roberts, Johnson and Rand Shoe Company of St. Louis opened a manufacturing plant in Cape Girardeau . The date was September 9, 1907 and this proved to be a significant development in the economic growth of the city. In 1900 Cape Girardeau was a small community of fewer than 5000 residents. But it was eager to grow. In 1904 a railroad connected Cape to St. Louis, enabling residents to visit the World’s Fair and bringing frequent visitors from St. Louis. Leaders of the community identified a need for a factor or sizable business enterprise that could create jobs and increase the population that had grown slowly during the last half of the 19th Century. In September of 1906, the owners of the Roberts, Johnson and Rand Shoe Company arrived in Cape to announce that they were interested in establishing a new factory and were considering such possible sites as Quincy and Mount Vernon, Illinois; Washington, Missouri; and Cape Girardeau. The company

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