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Old 03-31-2013, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Jefferson City 4 days a week, St. Louis 3 days a week
2,709 posts, read 5,097,146 times
Reputation: 1028

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So I am currently working a job near the junction of I-55 and I-57, and took I-57 one day to Cairo. I am curious about its history, what all is over there, etc. Any info on the town would be appreciated.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:03 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,707 posts, read 103,185,348 times
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Here's the Cliffs Notes version:

1) Cairo used to be a flood-prone marsh.
2) Then as the country expanded westward, so did the need to move people and goods westward.
3) Someone realized it would be a good idea to bring a railroad to the point where the Ohio and Mississippi converge
4) Cairo began to grow as a transportation hub, peaking at a population of 15,000
5) However, Cairo's fortunes began to wane as river traffic, and thus its importance as a transportation hub, declined
6) As a city that long had a significant black population, long-standing racial tensions came to a boil in 1969
7) The resultant race riot prompted white flight that greatly accelerated Cairo's already declining fortunes
8) Consequently, Cairo is a bombed-out shell of its former self, now with a population of less than 3,000.

There are basically 3 reasons to visit Cairo:

1) The historic Custom House and the tiny smattering of historic mansions from its wealthier days that are still intact
2) Distressed-city voyeurism (aka "ruin porn"), particularly the surreal sight of a once-thriving downtown that is now nearly 100% abandoned and being reclaimed by nature
3) Shemwell's Barbecue

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Old 04-07-2013, 08:57 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
7,444 posts, read 7,016,699 times
Reputation: 4601
I want to see it myself. I was travelling in the area last fall and wanted to do a drive thru looksee but didn't make it. I've read about it and it sounds interesting and sad. I'm wondering how it compares to East St. Louis. Sounds similar, but on a smaller scale.

I hear a lot on some of these forums about how if one moved to a low tax state you would lose the good infrastructure and ameneties.

And then I think of East St. Louis, which I've seen, and Cairo, which I haven't seen, and both sit in a very progressive, high tax state.

I wonder if any city in say, Mississiippi, looks as bad as East St. Louis or Cairo.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:20 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,535 posts, read 30,265,438 times
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Not in MS. When you live in low tax states you lose more than infrastructure and amenities. Some of the things I noticed missing in RTW states were large parks, things for kids to do and see, schools that failed, and poor quality of medical care. No doc that graduates from Harvard or Stanford is going to open a practice in Podunk rural America if he can practice on Park Avenue or in Beverly Hills.

Cairo lost railroads, the river boats, the local businesses, state and federal funding, then it flooded not so long ago. It was the end of a decades long death spiral. .


Quote:
Originally Posted by MUTGR View Post
I want to see it myself. I was travelling in the area last fall and wanted to do a drive thru looksee but didn't make it. I've read about it and it sounds interesting and sad. I'm wondering how it compares to East St. Louis. Sounds similar, but on a smaller scale.

I hear a lot on some of these forums about how if one moved to a low tax state you would lose the good infrastructure and ameneties.

And then I think of East St. Louis, which I've seen, and Cairo, which I haven't seen, and both sit in a very progressive, high tax state.

I wonder if any city in say, Mississiippi, looks as bad as East St. Louis or Cairo.
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Old 10-14-2014, 01:07 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,586 times
Reputation: 10
I am brokenhearted to see what has happened to Cairo. It is the birthplace of some of my ancestors and I visited by train at age 4 or 5 in the early 1950's. I don't recall much about the city only the homestead my grandfather built for his 16 year old bride (my grandmother) in the early 1900's in what I believe, was the outskirts of town. I also recall stories of floods. I have done some research and found that my great, great grandmother was brought to the area from what we think was Missouri, as a 7 yr. old child of slavery. She married in her late teens and my great grandmother was born shortly after the end of the Civil War. I continue to have relatives that reside in the Ullin and Mounds areas, as well. I am attempting to expand my research of the area and would appreciate any links that can be provided. If anyone can assist in this endeavor, please email me at brychsdona@charter.net Thanks
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:39 PM
 
219 posts, read 377,633 times
Reputation: 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
Not in MS. When you live in low tax states you lose more than infrastructure and amenities. Some of the things I noticed missing in RTW states were large parks, things for kids to do and see, schools that failed, and poor quality of medical care. No doc that graduates from Harvard or Stanford is going to open a practice in Podunk rural America if he can practice on Park Avenue or in Beverly Hills.

Cairo lost railroads, the river boats, the local businesses, state and federal funding, then it flooded not so long ago. It was the end of a decades long death spiral. .
You nailed it. Cairo used to be a beautiful town, but not anymore. Local politics are very corrupt, residents are tearing up and burning down buildings, a lot of social problems, etc
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:39 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,480 times
Reputation: 10
I went to SIUC and one weekend I decided to drive down there to check it out. I grew up in Chicago and saw some not so nice places but as I drove through Cairo I saw buldings burnt out and leaning over ready to fall down. A dead dog down the main road and the downtown area was abandoned. That is something I will never forget.
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