Illinois Becomes an Abandoned Town Home Most People Don’t Know About

Illinois has many interesting places to visit, such as Chicago, the Lincoln Home, and Starved Rock State Park. But there is a special place in the southern tip of the state called Cairo. It is an abandoned town located where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet. Why did this town that used to be successful become unknown?

The story of how Cairo grew and declined

Cairo was established in 1818, which was also the year when Illinois became a state. Its position at the meeting point of two large rivers made it an important place for trade and transportation. During the Civil War, Cairo was an important location for the Union army. It served as a base and supply center for troops. The town grew and became successful because of the steamboat industry. Steamboats brought goods and people from different parts of the country. Cairo also became a place known for its culture, with many different kinds of people, a lively downtown area, and a strong musical tradition.

But Cairo’s luck started to get worse in the 20th century because railroads and highways made it less important as a port town. The town had a difficult time dealing with racial tensions. Segregation and discrimination caused violence and unrest. In 1967, there was a violent conflict called a race riot. It started when a white police officer shot and killed a black soldier. The riot went on for a few days and resulted in many buildings being burned and looted. After the riot, many businesses and residents left Cairo, and the town never recovered.

The current state of the abandoned town

Today, Cairo is not as vibrant or prosperous as it used to be. The number of people living in the area has decreased from more than 15,000 in 1920 to less than 2,000 in 2020. There are a lot of buildings that are no longer being used, have been closed off with boards, or have been torn down. The town’s buildings, roads, and other structures are falling apart, and the local economy is not growing or improving. The town is at risk of flooding because it is located in a low-lying area that is prone to water damage. In 2011, the town had to be emptied because the Mississippi River rose to its highest levels ever. As a result, many people who lived there never came back.

Cairo, despite being in a difficult situation, still shows some signs of life and hope. There are some old buildings that have been saved and fixed up, like the Magnolia Manor and the Custom House. There are still some local businesses, like the Nu Diner and the Cairo Public Library, that continue to serve the community. There are groups like the Cairo Citizens Committee and the Cairo Vision 2020 that are still working to improve and promote the town. People like historians, photographers, and urban explorers still visit the town to see and appreciate its special history and character.

Also Read: 2024 New Study Ranks U.S. Cities by 15-Minute City Potential

In summary

Cairo is a lesser-known town that deserves more recognition. This town has experienced important events in American history, including the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. The town represents the difficulties and possibilities of rural America, including issues like improving the economy and protecting the environment. This town allows you to see what life was like in the past and also gives you an idea of what the future might hold. Cairo is a lively town full of stories and possibilities.

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