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40 photos
Cairo, Illinois

Located at the confluence of the
Mississippi and Ohio Rivers at the southern most tip of Illinois, is the town of Cairo, pronounced “Care-O.” By far, one of the strangest and saddest cities I’ve ever visited, I am immediately intrigued by the empty streets and abandoned and crumbling buildings.

Cairo, IL - 8th Street

Cairo, IL - 8th Street

Cairo, IL - 10th Street Building

Cairo, IL - 10th Street Building

Cairo, IL - 1861

Cairo, IL - 1861

Cairo, IL - Building Door

Cairo, IL - Building Door

Cairo, IL - Building Door - 2

Cairo, IL - Building Door - 2

Cairo, IL - Building Door - 3

Cairo, IL - Building Door - 3

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue & 10th Street Building

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue & 10th Street Building

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue & 10th Street Building Windows

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue & 10th Street Building Windows

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Building

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Building

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings - 2

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings - 2

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings - 3

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings - 3

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings, 2010

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Buildings, 2010

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Street Signs

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue Street Signs

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue, 2010

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue, 2010

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue, 2012

Cairo, IL - Commercial Avenue, 2012

Cairo, IL - Commerical Avenue & 5th Sreet Windows Enhanced

Cairo, IL - Commerical Avenue & 5th Sreet Windows Enhanced

Cairo, IL - Commerical Avenue & 5th, 2012

Cairo, IL - Commerical Avenue & 5th, 2012

Cairo, IL - Customs House

Cairo, IL - Customs House

Guestbook for Cairo, Illinois
Garth Goldberg(non-registered)
I went through this place on a motorcycle trip without knowing anything about it beforehand. I was somewhat surprised by what I saw. I recognized it as a place that had a history but was decaying into nothing. I didn't take any pictures because I didn't find any place that I felt was safe or worthwhile as a stop.
I'm glad you have a photo album so I can recall what I saw there.
Charles Meehan(non-registered)
I was born at St. Mary’s Hospital September 1961 (Dr Ent, who obviously must have dropped me on my head). There are many stories about Cairo which are hard to believe (White Hats, Saturday marches down Commercial, Police Armored Car to name a few) but I was there, must have happened. One thing not mentioned in the article, that I believe played a major part in the final demise of Cairo - the Interstate 57 bridge being completed. As with so many small towns, if the freeway passes you by, it’s sianara. The damage was well detailed in the article, with a long list of struggles. It is still hard to drive around Cairo and try to remember what was there, because just so much of it is just gone.

Here’s to coffee cakes at Eddie’s Bakery, BBQ at Shemwells, slices of pie at Mack’s, car hop service at The Pit, and of course smoking cigarettes and making out at The Gem.

Lots of good people from Cairo, nots so many of them there now.
Linda Mabry(non-registered)
I was sadden to see the pic of the hospital where I was born in Sept. 1948, have fond memories of Cairo, my mom worked at the Whataburger and my dad delivered groceries for I think (pops) store, there used to be a bakery that sold butter coffee cake, I can remember calling the tavern for my uncle Bill to come home for supper, he was a diesel mechanic there--- I don't know how many times I had walked thru the hugh gates to the levey,,LIFE GOES ON---does it not. so sad the town looks like that now.thank u
Unnamed(non-registered)
Wanted to see a picture of RiverLore
Former Cairo Resident(non-registered)
The Cairo Public Library is still one of the most beautiful buildings in Cairo. Have you thought about adding photos of it, River Lore and many of the other historic homes?

I have great memories of the Gem Theatre, Turf Pizza and Shemwell's (downtown) BBQ. Although I too left to pursue a career and life outside of the town. It is where I grew up and it will forever hold a special place in my heart. I would love to see and participate in some successful revitalization efforts.