The Glenn House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
The Glenn House is located at 325 South Spanish Street on a 75' (north to south) by 180' (east to west) lot in a mixed commercial-residential area of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The Glenn House is constructed of red brick, laid in common bond, which has been painted, in the past, first grey and then white. A one room cellar with sandstone walls supports the kitchen-servants wing to the west. This cellar is separated from the rest of the house by an interior brick wall. All other interior partitions are of frame construction. A crawl space varying from 2" to 24" in height continues under the rest of the house. The adjoining washhouse to the west is constructed of frame imitating ashlar and is supported by a brick foundation faced with cement. The Glenn House is capped with cross-gabled and pyramidal roofs faced with brown asphalt shingles over a full attic, and it rests on a sandstone foundation. The veranda, south oriel and washhouse have flat roofs topped with tar paper, while the small north porch has a shed roof of copper.
Notable design features of the Glenn House include the classically inspired veranda, painted white with denticulate and egg-and-dart moldings, urn finials, and Tuscan columns and pilasters, surrounding the eastern and southern sides, and the pyramidal roofed turret on the east. In addition, the lintels beneath the segmental arches over the windows and the frieze adorning the main house, beneath a boxed cornice supported by pierced and scrolled brackets, are incised with floral motives reminiscent of the designs of Charles Eastlake. Above, the gable peaks are boxed and decorated with carved and jigsawn floral and sunburst motives. Just below each, a small window, capped with a pointed arch, is situated. On the west side a 2-story porch wraps around the "L" formed by the south wall of the kitchen and the west wall of the main house. Interior embellishment is extensive and of fine quality.
Prior to 1904 the present veranda and turret were added, replacing a former front porch. At this time the upstairs and downstairs hallways were extended about 10'. The original wood shingles were removed and replaced with slate, and the house was painted grey with white trim. About the same time a pantry was added to the northwest and plumbing was added for the kitchen and the upstairs bath, which was partitioned out of the servant's room. Access to this room was provided through the brick wall from the rear porch, and the porch was enclosed. Electricity was added to the Glenn House in the 1890's, hot water heating in 1899 and a downstairs bath in 1915. Between 1930 and 1960 enclosures were added to the rear porches and the exterior balustrades and other carved detailing were removed. Inside, wallpaper and several coats of paint were applied over the years covering the original woodwork and stencil borders, while many of the ceilings were lowered as much as 3'.
The Historical Association of Greater Cape Girardeau, Inc. received the Glenn House in 1968 and began immediately to restore it to its appearance in 1904. Old photos provided clues, and all other indications of original decoration which were found were carefully followed. Several layers of shingles, which had been added over the slate, were removed and replaced with the present shingles. As much of the exterior woodwork was saved as was possible. Where replacement was necessary, custom milled redwood was employed. Deteriorated moldings and columns were replaced and exterior balustrades reconstructed. All additions were remove from the west porches, and the north porch, which had been demolished, was totally reconstructed.
Inside, all false ceilings were removed, the heating system was repiped and new timber supports were provided for the joists under the sagging library floor. The rotted kitchen floor was replaced, but all other woodwork and flooring is original. The original stencilled borders found during removal of the wallpaper were repainted, Lincrusta applied to the dadoes of the front hall was restored with the help of modern materials and walnut graining found along doors and window frames was touched up after the removal of overlying paint (Gerhardt, 1977).
The lot includes a gambrel roofed, brick carriage house and a grape arbor both to the west.
The Glenn House, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, is significant in three ways. Due to its imposing architectural character, it is a prime local example of an ornate Victorian-era home featuring Eastlakian and classically-inspired embellishment. Its interiors are notable since they have been carefully restored to their former elegance. In addition, the Glenn House stands as a memorial to Edwin Branch Deane (1813-1901), a Kentuckian by birth and a pioneer Cape Girardeau architect and builder of acknowledged talent, who was responsible for many imposing homes, designed in various popular styles, in his lengthy career which stretched from 1839 to the close of the last century (Kimmel, Sounds and Pictures, Kimmel, Historic Houses..." and Brown). The Glenn House is also important as the home of David Andrew Glenn (1851-1930), the leading banker and merchant in Cape Girardeau at the turn of the century and the founder of the mammoth wholesale-retail Glenn Mercantile Company, Glenn and his wife, Lulu Deane, the daughter of Edwin Branch Deane, moved into this house immediately upon its completion (Goodspeed, p.758, Casteel, pp.98-104, 194-196 and Southeast Missourian, September 12, 1922).
Brown, Sally Wright. "Happy House Defies Legend." Southeast Missourian, December 22, 1972.
Casteel, Major D.B., compiler. City Directory of Cape Girardeau, Missouri for 1906. Cape Girardeau: Naeter Brothers, 1906.
Goodspeed's History of Southeast Missouri. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1888.
Kimmel, Amy Husbands. "Historic Houses in Cape Girardeau," Southeast Missourian, February 22, 23, 24 and 25, 1933.
________. Sounds and Pictures of Yesterday in Cape Girardeau. Cape Girardeau: Historical Association of Greater Cape Girardeau (reprint of 1933 edition), 1971.
Southeast Missourian, September 12, 1922.
† Dr. Tom H. Gerhardt, Historical Association of Greater Cape Girardeau, Inc., Glenn House, Cape Girardeau, MO, nomination document, 1979, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.