Pierre-Louis de Lorimier, French-Canadian fur trader, Indian agent, and founder of Cape Girardeau, built the Red House in the late 1790s west of this location on what is now the parking lot of St. Vincent's Church.
The Red House served as the family home for Louis, his wife Charlotte Pemanpieh Bougainville, and their children- Guillaume ( as son from a previous marriage), Louis, Jr., Marie Louise, Augustus Bougainville, Agatha, Vernieul Raphael, and Victor. It also served as a fur-trading establishment and as the seat of government for the Spanish district of Cape Girardeau, of which the Spanish district of Cape Girardeau, of which Lorimier was commandant.
Constructed in typical Mississippi Valley French colonial architectural style, the building featured vertical log poteaux sur sole (post on a sill) construction, with a steep hip roof which broadened to cover wide porches. The porches provided a sheltered work area and shaded the windows from the sun which cooled the interior.
After the Louisiana Purchase and the transfer of authority of the United States government in 1804, the Red House was no longer a seat of government, but continued to be an important trading post. After his wife's death in 1808, Lorimier remarried. Marie Berthiaume, his third wife, bore him one child, a son Manuel who died in childhood. Lorimier died at his home on June 26, 1812.
Ownership of the Red House changed several times before the property was acquired by the Catholic Church. The house was destroyed by a tornado on November 27, 1850.