Cairo, Illinois: America's most depressing city

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#83
Cairo after WW ll

I was born in Cairo in 1948. Dad, a WWll veteran, managed the Woods Motor Company, on Sycamore St next door to the fire department. Both buildings are still standing.

At the time the local hospital was run by Catholics. Dad and Mom first rented an apartment on 10th or 11th St. owned by W.T.and Hazel Hails (sp?). They had no children. Mr. Hails was a conductor on the Illinois Central Railroad. He and Dad would take me to railroad station north of town (can't find it on Google Earth now) and one of my earliest memories is sitting in the cab of a new IC D-3 locomotive. I also remembering going to the station with a group of people to receive the body of a Cairo son killed in the Korean War.

We were members of the First Christian Church located on 14th Street (I think). It appears to have been torn down.

I remember the hustling business on both sides of the street in the block where the Gem a Theatre was located. Cairo had a big parade when 7Up was first introduced. I remember ice cream suppers in a vacant lot near the Church.

We later moved to a corner house at 34th and Highland. Now it's the early 1950s. This was before modern refrigeration and supermarkets. It seem each block or so had a little grocery store. We shopped at Mr. Rink's store down the alley in the next block.

I remember the Mark Twain Hotel, the Cairo Evening Citizen (a daily newspaper then), and boat races on the Ohio River. And I remember the Magnolia Manor especially the large magnolias there at the time. There was a city bus service. Mother's baby sister moved in with us and she became an operator at the local phone company. One time one of the bus drivers gave my aunt and I a free ride around the whole route the bus ran.

Once the Barnum and Bailey Circus came to town and the promoter wanted to borrow a Henry J car Dad was trying to sell. All of the seats were removed. With front row seats "comped ", I got to see the little Henry J motor out to the center ring and watch all these clowns emerge from that little car. The circus was held in a large field which backed up to the north levee adjacent to the big gate which would be lowered to protect the city from flooding.

We moved to Memphis in 1954. I was not a eyewitness to decay and long decline of Cairo, and I followed with sadness the reporting of the city's accelerated destruction during the racial tensions of the late 1960s.
 

JNA

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#84
Articles -
Army Corps Project Pits Farmland Against Flood Threat
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/20...ps-project-pits-farmland-against-flood-threat

pitting some deep-pocketed farm owners against less wealthy towns like Cairo.

Leaders, residents optimistic about the future of Cairo
http://thesouthern.com/news/local/l...cle_a15bdc19-f1c8-5d2b-84a2-055cafd53405.html

overcoming a “spirit of hopelessness” that has engulfed not only Cairo but also the lower Southern Illinois region.
Involving the public in the planning, a critical missing piece up to recent times in the city’s health, has helped restore hope.,
 

The One

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#86
Oh Yeah.....

How are we doing with obtaining the Cyburbia Compound in Cairo Illinois?? We should crowd fund that thing!
 
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#87
How are we doing with obtaining the Cyburbia Compound in Cairo Illinois?? We should crowd fund that thing!
I think our compound should be in Detroit!

Fun Fact: Cairo, IL had a crusty af, super politically correct anarchist pop punk centered around the label "Plan-it-X Records" and this dork named Chris Clavin. They came to Cairo because no one else in the midwest wanted them and their body odor and crappy music. As far as I know they've all packed up and left for Bloomington, IN by now.
 

The One

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#89
Oh Yeah.....

I think our compound should be in Detroit!

Fun Fact: Cairo, IL had a crusty af, super politically correct anarchist pop punk centered around the label "Plan-it-X Records" and this dork named Chris Clavin. They came to Cairo because no one else in the midwest wanted them and their body odor and crappy music. As far as I know they've all packed up and left for Bloomington, IN by now.
Detroit would be great! I can get a mid century two story classic for about $750.
 

JNA

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#90
Ben Carson says despite public housing crisis, Cairo can be saved
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article165985292.html

Carson visited the southern Illinois town as two public housing complexes are being torn down, forcing hundreds of residents to find new homes.
He said HUD is working hard to keep as many people in Cairo as possible who are being displaced from the two projects.
I wonder what other HUD Secretaries have visited ? or made promises ?
 

JNA

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#91
BUMP

Abandoned Town of Cairo, Illinois
A once-booming Mississippi River port town has transformed into an eerie, mostly abandoned ghost town.
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/cairo-illinois?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=atlas-page

Still making the news -

A 'dying community'
https://www.washingtonpost.com/grap...s-basketball-hangs-on/?utm_term=.b7eca3d17751

HUD May Soon Evict Residents in Two Public Housing Complexes in Southern Illinois
https://www.propublica.org/article/hud-evict-residents-public-housing-cairo-southern-illinois
 

JNA

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#94
'Nobody Cares About Cairo': Residents of Shrinking River Town Fight To Bring It Back
June 16, 2018
https://www.npr.org/2018/06/16/6189...ign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180616

HIGHLIGHTS
For years, a slow moving disaster has enveloped large parts of the middle of the country with whole towns emptying out and drying up. No place better illustrates this than Cairo,

"There are Cairos throughout the United States who are being forgotten because of this perception that the communities are not desirable."

But how far should you go to keep people in a place where there aren't many opportunities?
 

The One

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#96
Update

I'm reading American Ulysses a biography of U.S. Grant and Cairo was described as being further south than Richmond, VA and a stop along the way to Vicksburg and New Orleans. A great book so far.....
 

Dan

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#97
Most depressing? Maybe Detroit. Check out this "neighborhood" that I randomly found on Bing. Zoom in to the corner of Ferry and Elmwood and note the fire damanged house among the vacant lots.
Off-topic: a stark contrast to the corner of Ferry and Elmwood in Buffalo.

On-topic: it's really hard to find news about what's going on in Cairo. The public housing crisis made national news, but since then, there hasn't been much. The Cairo Citizen Web site seems to be gone, but the paper has a Facebook group with infrequent updates The Southern Illinoisan has an ongoing "Chaos in Cairo" series.
 
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