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Cairo Illinois

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Author Topic: Cairo Illinois  (Read 213 times)
ann
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« on: January 08, 2010, 10:31:36 am »

What a tragic but interesting town.  My husband and I were traveling to Memphis on a road trip and exited for fuel in this town.  We ended up driving around town and stopping @ a local bbq restaurant to find out about the history.  This place literally looks like a movie set in a disaster movie.

http://users.stlcc.edu/jangert/cairo/cairo.html
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DejaVu
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2010, 08:26:29 pm »

Thanks for sharing Ann. The story about this town was very interesting....pretty sad story though.

[snip]
Cairo is even sadder in light of its recent history. The region was experiencing an economic decline before the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and this decline can certainly be blamed for part of the depression Cairo now suffers. But many people will tell you that Cairo above all else is a victim of the racial hatred that its citizens could not overcome. 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.
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The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside. --Allan Bloom
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2010, 10:09:54 pm »

When we moved to Sikeston in 1973, Cairo was still a busy little town.  We used to drive the 30 miles to Cairo on Saturday night to eat at a restaurant that had the best fried mushrooms and steaks I'd ever eaten.  It's since closed.  Back then they still had a nice hospital and all the buildings downtown were occupied.  There were several eligant turn of the century homes you could tour.   It was sad to watch the town die.

Lately there has been a wave of arson and several vacant buildings have burned to the ground, sometimes as many as one a week.  The perp is still at large.  The residents of Cairo are trying hard to pick up the pieces and revive their town.
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 10:49:07 pm »

Wow...with a population under 4,000 and they had their own hospital? Is it still there?
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2010, 08:13:00 am »

Many of the Downtown buildings have facades that still stand.  When you drive around the block you see that many have missing roofs and vegetation growing out of the top.  The gate that protects the town from flood is really interesting to see.  We could only find one gas station in town open.  There were bars on all of the windows, a sign that to lock your car and secure your belongings and a group of pitbull dogs behind a fence attached to the station.  I have traveled into some bad neighborhoods near Chicago  and I can tell you that the town while interesting was very scary.  I would not have been as bold and curious had my husband not been with me.

It is a tragic tale of the effects of racism and greed.  When traveling that route, we will definately stop again.  Maybe they should market the tragedy of their past.  Preserve some of the aftermath and promote tourism.
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2010, 10:02:29 am »

DJ, the hospital closed several years ago.  They have tried to utilize it for other things but not sure if they ever succeeded.  I haven't been over there in a long while.  I can say that Cairo is mentioned on the local TV station quite frequently and it's always bad news.

Before they built the new bridge over the Mississippi and opened it in 1978, the traffic went through Cairo. The new I-57 bridge over the Mississippi detoured traffic away from Cairo, and although the old bridge was still there, people tended to travel the new one because it was safer, so that new bridge had a lot to do with the town dying too, because it took traffic away from Cairo.
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2010, 12:10:07 pm »

Yeah...I hadn't realized Cairo had a much larger population at one time. I did a search on Cairo race riots and found some interesting websites. Seems other people have driven through there and come out feeling quite emotional too.

http://missourigreen.burningbird.net/times-past/song-south/thank-you-johnnyb

This is a YouTube someone did driving through the town. You really get a feel of what it's like there. Really sad...it's like the perfect example of what so much hatred and negativity can do to a town.





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