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Monterey, TN

#1 Jul 31, 2010
I grew up across the river in KY during the 50's-60's. About one Sat a week, we would go "to town". We could either go to Paducah or Cairo. It was like comparing Nashville and Memphis. Paducah seemed newer and cleaner but Cairo has an earthy dirty character that I loved. The old Halliday Hotel deserted and spooky looking, Smith and Groves and all the places and stores along commercial Ave. Railroad Av. and Ohio st. looked like something out of the 19th century.(I mean that complimentary). We used to take my sister to catch the City of Miami to go back to FL. at the wonderful old train station.
Later there was the Mark Twain restaurant, Club 19, Dovers, Rex liquors, and best of all, The Pit. Dovers would usually sell a teen a case of beer if he didn't act like an asshole and Rex's had awesome beer by the gallon.($1.75 with a .35 deposit on the glass jug. Ah, the summer nights coming back on those back roads with our cold alcoholic treasure...mmmmm.
Paducah now has a revitalized downtown and has spread about 5 miles from where it was back then.
The last time I was in Cairo, Commercial looked deserted, Dover's was gone, Smith & Groves closed etc.
And, the Pit is gone......
Anyone else remember pre Cohen Cairo? And the way it was??????
Sancho Panza

United States

#2 Jul 31, 2010
If you wondered where the Confederate flag went, they took it down from the flagpole in front of city hall and moved it into Fat Boy's Bar and Grill.

Cairo doesn't miss or need you!

Saint Louis, MO

#3 Jul 31, 2010
We used to travel to Cairo from Sikeston, just to shop. My Dad bought many cars in Cairo, and I remember how busy the main drag was, it even had a magazine and book store, mens store, etc. etc. Later, I would go there to eat at the "other " Shemwells, or Shemwell's or Macs. We used to go there to eat Chinese, and steaks, and later, we would go there to eat crappie at this one motel restaurant. Now, the truth is, Cairo takes better care of their cats than they do people from out of town.
guest 2

United States

#5 Jul 31, 2010
First off I want to say to Sancho Panza- "You are an asshole. It's people like you that have screwed this town up. 90% of the people left here are full of negativity. You are so miserable because you're not doing anything with your life that you have to bash a complete stranger. Get a job, get off aid, and get a life. Maybe then you will be happy and wont have to go around being an ass to people.

Now to ru4real and Guest- I am only 19 so I never had a chance to see Cairo when it was booming. I have only seen pictures and heard about it from my grandmother. I am sure I would have loved it back then, however, right now I despise this town. There is nothing here for anyone. Only thugs and "wanna be" gang bangers. This town will never be what it was because the people here don't want a change. And the ones that do know the only way they will have change is by leaving. Im sorry that the town isn't what it was. I wish I could have seen it. I bet it was great.

Saint Louis, MO

#6 Aug 1, 2010
guest 2, you NAILED it. Yes, I wish you could have seen it in its heyday. Now and then there are some great photos and postcards on Ebay that show how great Cairo was in its earlier days. I just rmembered riding with my Aunt and Uncle from Sikeston, so she could shoe shop at all the shoe stores in Cairo. Ha...look at it today.

United States

#7 Aug 1, 2010
What goes around comes around!!!!
Guest 100

Cairo, IL

#9 Sep 10, 2010
For all of you on this site that think you have all the answers about "Cairo's downfall", you need to do some reading. One interesting read is "Cairo, Illinois: A Symbol of Racial Polarization". A report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. February, 1973.

Quote: Although in the past few years the focus of attention has been on the City of Cairo, that city must be seen as part of a larger economically depressed region encompassing several counties in Southern Illinois. Thus, any discussion of Cairo must, of necessiby, reflect the situation of the surrounding ares.
Despite its advantageous location at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, Cairo has experienced a steady economic decline since 1930. As jobs were lost, largely due to the mechanization of the river trade industry and new industrial and commercial opportunities failed to materilize, the population decline accelerated, resulting in a loss of 50 percent of the population between 1950 and 1970." Unquote.

Interesting reading. We need to quit blaming everyone in sight and be proactive. We need to help our government, not constantly be critical. It's fine to disagree, but when you do, you need to do what you can that is positive. Mow the vacant lot next door. Visit senior citizens. Assist your neighbors. Support community efforts. There are a thousand ways. If everyone makes their own effort no matter how small, it can make a huge difference. Calling names and pointing fingers won't do it.
Dexter Car Salesman

Saint Louis, MO

#10 Sep 10, 2010
Guest 100, you are a daydreamer. Go march down South, Cairo is already shot.

Cairo, IL

#12 Sep 11, 2010
Guest 100, I agree with your assessment as to one of the major causes of Cairo's decline; however, I think we will have to do more than mow, visit and assist. We are going to have to change ourselves.

As far as marching down South, Dexter Car Salesman, much of the South is taking hold and making the effort. That's why companies like Cabella's and Bass Pro have already established businesses in what were small rural communities. Those communities have see great growth since that time and they didn't have nearly as much to offer sportswise as we do here in the Ohio/Mississippi River delta. What they did have was good attitude and community spirit.

There are a lot of people here who still have that good attitude and community spirit; but, you, who continue to knock their efforts and downtalk the very area where you get your living, bed your bodies, and raise your families, make it hard on those who ARE trying. It makes businesses wonder what about Cairo would be worth their while to invest here. They are looking for employees who know not only the value of honest work, but who have the quality of loyalty.
Guest 100

Morocco, IN

#13 Sep 11, 2010
Browsing, I like the way you think. It is refreshing to see someone on here with some intelligence.
Guest 100

Florence, AL

#15 Sep 12, 2010
kfc63736 wrote:
I would lov nothing more then to reopen my KFC there depends on the town there
We would love to have you. What kind of population base is needed to sustain a KFC franchise? Come and visit. We'll talk chicken :)
Guest 2

United States

#16 Sep 12, 2010
Yes we would love your business!

United States

#18 Sep 12, 2010
I had family that lived and had a business there in the sixties. I was very young during this time but I have always been told that a magazine came to town to interview the towns people and really got a racial nightmare started. Up until that point there was pretty much racial harmony but after this all went to print the rioting started and pretty much shut the flourishing businesses down. I still drive through Cairo occasionally because I did spend time there with my family in the sixties and for years would still shop at Eliases(?) on Sunday.

Does anyone else have any recollection of this magazine event destroying what was once a prosperous town?

Since: Dec 10

Chicago, IL

#19 Dec 23, 2010
kfc63736 wrote:
I would lov nothing more then to reopen my KFC there depends on the town there
Did you own KFC in Cairo in the 1980’s? I am a Chicagoan but had been moved off to TN when I was in the 2dn grade. A write that sentence lightly but believe me they took me to TN with me kicking and screaming because I didn’t want to go. After I got grown I used to drive 90 miles from Carroll County TN just to eat in your restaurant. Eating in you KFC was a thrill to me because once I crossed that river into Cairo I knew I was home again. Do you remember Cairo back when all those huge green flies were all over the place in the 1980‘s? Well one day my late husband, our little daughter and I went into your KFC to eat. When we got back in the car there was an old green fly big like a horse fly in the back windo buzzing around. My daughter was scared of that fly so I told her to climb over the seat to the front so that horse fly wouldn’t bit her. So she climbed over and was sitting so silently. Finally she asked.“Mama how did it do it? I asked,“How did what do what?” She replied,“How did that horse turn into a fly?”

Smyrna, GA

#21 Dec 25, 2010
i was born in cairo,1954,moved in 1970,trust me i seen,and lived the change.i used to peddle sweet corn on my bicycle,pulling a wagon up and down pyramid courts,no problems,walk or ride my bike anywhere in town,no problem.till around 1968,all of a sudden blacks hatin whites, whites haten blacks,town went nuts,cairo STRICTLY,had a racial problem,if it were anything else,please clue me in.

Elizabethtown, IL

#22 Jan 28, 2011
I was born in Cairo in 1954 also. I loved growing up there. Buttertops from Eddie's Pastries, cruising The Pit, parties at The Point. Teentown, Harpers, The Gem...Lots of great memories!

United States

#23 Jan 28, 2011
i was born there in 1956. i used to work at the Gem theatre growing up and then managed it for a while in the 70,s. live in cape now but really miss the times growing up in cairo. it is sad to see it as it is now.
Regarding KFC in Cairo

United States

#24 Jan 28, 2011
One evening during 1980, I stopped in at KFC to pick up a meal to go. The place was not busy as I was the only customer at the moment.
I had placed a large order and was standing at the counter, preparing to pay for it while the girl was relaying the order to somebody in the kitchen. I had been smoking pot and had a decent buzz going on, which was probably why my order was a large one.
Anyway, as I stood there I noticed a slight movement from the corner of my eye. When I focused on the object, I discovered one of the biggest brown roaches I'd ever seen crawling up the side of the cash register, complete with egg sak attached I'm not sure if anyone else was aware of the creature but i assure you, it had my full attention. I am sure however, that it did notice me. It worked it's way up the side and upon reaching the top it appeared to be contemplating an even higher elevation as it rose to it's hind legs and scratched at the air with it's fore legs. Suddenly and without notice, it launched itself in my direction. Fortunately, my close observation of the vermin allowed me to anticipate it's intentions and I was able to side-step it's ghastly assault. My frantic attempt to squash the creature after it landed on the floor was received with astonished and curios glares from the cashier. And since the roach had made a dramatically successful escape, I was without evidence to defend my own actions.
That was the last time I visited KFC in Cairo or anywhere else for that matter.

United States

#25 Jan 28, 2011
remember ed smith,kent martin,courtney blackburn,just to name a few?

United States

#26 Jan 28, 2011
ilivedit wrote:
remember ed smith,kent martin,courtney blackburn,just to name a few?
all of them were friends of mine

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