Sad Abandonment around Cairo, Illinois

While there is still much good left in Cairo, the truth is that much of the town is devastated. We’ll leave town with this survey of some of the abandonment we saw.

Millionaires’ Row, Cairo, Illinois

Italianate and Second Empire architecture dominates Millionaires’ Row, the grouping of lavish houses on Washington Avenue down the street from Magnolia Manor. This house, with its clean red brick, was my favorite. This Georgian Revival-esque house was probably one of the last grand homes built in the city. But even on Millionaires’ Row, you can…

Magnolia Manor, Cairo, Illinois

Magnolia Manor, up Washington Avenue in the intact portion of Cairo, is one of the most splendid examples of Italianate architecture I have ever seen. It is a shame that more of the town is not preserved as well as this house.

Riverlore, Cairo, Illinois

Representing the burst in commercial success after the conclusion of the Civil War, the stunning 1865 Second Empire mansion was built for Captain William Parker Halliday, and named Riverlore. Located on the northwestern stretch of Washington Avenue known as Millionaire’s Row, it is well-preserved and in good shape.

Working Light Bulb, Cairo, Illinois

As we walked around downtown Cairo at noon, we came upon this damaged lamp post. At first thinking the sun was reflecting off the bulb, we soon realized, much to our amazement, that the light bulb was in fact still working. A symbol of Cairo?

Commercial Avenue and Its Environs, Cairo, Illinois

Update: It appears many of the buildings below are now gone. Commercial Avenue is really where Cairo’s history turns dark and tragic. The desolation that dominates the lower east side of the peninsula shows in the photo above. Though several blocks away, I could capture a clear shot of the remaining buildings on what was…

The A. B. Safford Memorial Library and U.S. Customs House, Cairo, Illinois

Described by locals as being “Queen Anne,” I would say that the A.B. Safford Library is more an eclectic mix of various styles,with strong Romanesque Revival elements. Regardless, it is a stunning building, whose excellent condition clashes with much of the desolation around it. Inside the 1884 structure is a very nice, and surprisingly high…

Historic Churches, Cairo, Illinois

From the Roman Catholic church above, to more humble buildings such as the abandoned, wood frame church below, the wealth and population is exhibited in Cairo’s churches.

Cairo’s Civil Engineering Marvels

Cairo sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, landlocked by giant levees that keep back the two mighty bodies of water. At the southern end of the peninsula upon which the city sits are two massive bridges, one going to Missouri, the other going to Kentucky. They are marvels, look to be…

Further South than Richmond, Virginia: Cairo, Illinois

I finally made it to Cairo, Illinois with my father last week. I have to admit, while I was prepared to see what many of my friends have already been documenting for years, I was struck how much more there was to this infamous town than just Commercial Avenue (seen above), which is the most…