Abandoned Town of Cairo, Illinois

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I visited Cairo about 10 years ago. I had heard that it was a dangerous place so I visited at 7 AM. It was post-apocalyptic. The buildings had bars on the windows- unheard of in the rural Midwest. And yet the sad little town had some interesting and lovely aspects. There were several beautifully maintained antebellum mansions and a very pretty Carnegie library. Here and there were even some glimmers of business- a law office, a car dealership, and a barbeque place rumored to be fantastic. There was no one around and I felt pretty safe as I wandered about. From time to time I go on Realtor.com and look at homes for sale in Cairo. A shabby home can be yours for $10,000, and a magnificent and well maintained 5 bedroom home goes for $60,000. Maybe eventually the town will be repopulated by brave souls looking for cheap real estate.

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Cairo was featured in American Gods, television show. I wonder if it will do anything for the place?


Visited Cairo, IL today. We drove through, the town still looks more on the dead side. There are a handful of small businesses and several churches. I would say most of the houses are abandoned or in the process of being demolished. Not sure how much longer they will all last.

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Be it remembered that Cairo, Illinois was the home of Ray Butts Music. In the middle fifties Ray Butts developed and built the Echosonic amplifier which was beloved of Scotty Moore and Chet Atkins. I believe the old Ray Butts Music building has been torn down-too bad as I wanted to get a brick from the place as sort of a rock and roll memento.

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How fascinating! Cairo was a bustling town pre-1960’s, though it had been in gradual decline since the end of the steamboat era. Thanks for the interesting bit of trivia!