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Old 07-28-2009, 03:54 AM
 
226 posts, read 588,932 times
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This is the thread about cities that died. Southern Illinois is an economic Slum compared to the rest of the state, and it get's worse the farther south you go. A map of the state is a phsical manifestation of a social heiarchy chart with the poorest at the bottom and richest at the top. Chicago sucked up all the jobs. It's sad. Here are my Top 3. Excluding East St. Louis because it's too well known.

Add some from another area if you like.



HARRISBURG, ILLINOIS
CURRENT POPULATION: 9,860
PEAK 1930: estimates between 15,000 - 20,000

Summary: The biggest of three Cairo and Vincennes Railroad Coal Mining boomtowns in Saline County. Boasted one of the largest downtown districts outside of Chicago and Springfield, with the second tallest building in Southern Illinois next to the Spivey Building in East St. Louis. This was during the roaring 20's. The City (the whole county really) has been dying a slow death since the 1937 when a massive flood from the Ohio River (just 15 miles east) wiped out a few thousand residents and then a massive downturn in the 1960s - 1980s when US legislation decided High Sulfer coal was useless. Coal mines have been shutting down left and right with only 1 or 2 left in the entire county. The City has been barely maintaining hundreds of gilded age manors located around the old downtown combined with tearing down historical landmarks left and right, with no preservation district to save anything on it's once bustling town square built beautifully on a sandstone bluff, parking lots are quickly becoming the reign and shopping strips are being haphazardly built in the flood plain below the city. In April 2008 another flood took out 71 businesses in the city.







CAIRO, ILLINOIS
POPULATION: 3,632
PEAK 1920: estimations range between 16,000-25,000
SUMMARY: Sad Sad Sad town, worse than Harrisburg and only 2 counties south. Cairo, built strategically at the confluence of arguable the two most important rivers in the United States, (Ohio and Mississippi), was at one time one of the fastest growing towns in the state. The rivers converge at what is the southernmost point in Illinois at a fort that was commanded by General Grant during the Civil War. The city was an important steam boat city at first (rightfully so), With massive victorian and colonial revival mansions. The entire Customs Offical division of the United States Government was located in Cairo for the longest time all surrounded by 60-foot high levees topped with multitudes of Railroad and trolley tracks. During the civil rights movement Cairo was beset by shootings, street riots and a boycott of white owned businesses (that would be all businesses). The boycott dragged on for a decade. Rather than hire blacks the white store owners one after another just closed shop and left. Cairo is the city that died from racism. The population is roughly 3000 which on face value seems like a healthy number, but the city was built to sustain a population five times larger. The buildings are still there, large stone banks, churches, and government buildings; grand in design, but with their promise unfulfilled. Most are slowly rotting to the ground.
What's left of downtown: below


abandoned Hospital: above

Sad scene above in Cairo. Their precious White Only pool was filled in and torn down, along with everything else in town.


SHAWNEETOWN, ILLINOIS (Old Shawneetown)
POPULATION: 278
PEAK 18??: Somewhere around 5,000-10,000
Summary:The northern section of Shawneetown rests on ancient buriel mounds. For a short time in the mid-eighteenth century the Shawnee Indians had a village here. The first settler arrived about 1800 and others soon followed. The federal Government laid out Shawneetown in 1810, before the surrounding area was surveyed. The town grew as the trading post and the shipping point for salt from the United States Salines near Equality, just a few miles west, and as a majot point of entry for emigrants from the east. In 1814 the United States Land Office for South-eastern Illinois opened at Shawneetown. Two state memorials - in Shawneetown - the first bank in the territory (1816) and the imposing state bank building (1839), mark the community's early prominence as the financial center of Illinois. According to local legend several Chicagoans applied for a loan in 1830 to improve their village but were turned away because Chicago was too far from Shawneetown to ever amount to anything.

The Ohio River which contributed to the early importance of the town was always a threat to its existence. In 1937 the same flood that took out a chunk of Harrisburg, just 20 miles west took out ALL of shawneetown. It was then that most of the residents moved northwest to the hills and rebuilt the town. What's left is a few dirt streets, an old bank, and a levee blocking it from the Ohio River.


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Old 07-28-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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Duluth, Minnesota
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
3,844 posts, read 8,341,297 times
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Poor Youngtown, Ohio. Still has some great features,

But it went from 170,000 from 1930's -1960's to present day 70,000.

Steel mills closing hurt the town the most.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
3,844 posts, read 8,341,297 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhj867 View Post

Sad scene above in Cairo. Their precious White Only pool was filled in and torn down, along with everything else in town.
I sense a little resentment?
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:52 AM
 
8,256 posts, read 15,128,740 times
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The first city I thought of was Cairo. My next options would be all of upstate NY except Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and few other small college towns.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Boston Metro
1,994 posts, read 5,353,868 times
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Detroit
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:05 PM
 
6,000 posts, read 14,624,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by costello_musicman View Post
Poor Youngtown, Ohio. Still has some great features,

But it went from 170,000 from 1930's -1960's to present day 70,000.

Steel mills closing hurt the town the most.
Never been there, but I understand that's what happened to Johnstown, PA. Went from something like 70k in 1960 to ~26k today.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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Utica, NY went from 280k or 260k in the middle of the 20th century to 60k now.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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Default Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC is slowly tanking....due to the harsh economy and job losses.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:28 PM
 
Location: where my heart is
5,642 posts, read 8,403,167 times
Reputation: 1661
Utica is a college town and rated as one of the most liberal places in the country.
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