LEADERSHIP

 Cairo 

History of Cairo

Since it's founding, Cairo has given many a cause for comment. Its incomparable positioning for success contrasts with an often troubled past. All in all, an American story that is not over. The timeline below chronicles Cairo's founding conditions to its present state.

  • 1803 | Site visited by Lewis and Clark

  • 1837 | Founded by Cairo City and Canal Company

  • 1838 | Incorporated as a city

  • 1854 | Designated as a port of delivery by act of Congress. Steamboat era and ferry industry on the rise.

  • 1856 | Illinois Central Railroad establishes line connecting Cairo to Galena, IL.

  • 1860 | Population: 2,000

  • 1861-1865 | The American Civil War. Cairo becomes strategic location for Union Army and gains ground as banking center.

  • 1872 | Completion of the Custom House that also served as the post office, U.S. District Court, and U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Illinois. Completion of Magnolia Manor marked rising wealthy merchant class.

  • 1883 | Completion of Cairo Public Library

  • 1885 | Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published in the U.S., holding Cairo to be Huck and Jim's intended destination.

  • 1900 | Population 13,000

  • 1909 | Lynching of William James

  • 1914 | Construction of “Big Subway Gate” on the northern levee

  • 1927 | Great Mississippi Flood

  • 1929 | Completion of Cairo Mississippi Bridge

  • 1937 | Ohio River Flood. Completion of Cairo Ohio Bridge, ending the ferry industry.

  • 1942 | Population: 15,000. Construction of new U.S. Post Office and Federal Court House by architects Louis A. Simon and George Howe.

  • 1967 | Lynching of Robert Hunt; riots begin and the “White Hats” organize.

  • 1969 | Formation of the Cairo United Front civil rights organization. Boycotts and violence intensify.

  • 1978 | Completion of I-57

  • 1987 | Cairo hospital closes

  • 1988 | Fort Defiance restoration efforts begin

  • 2000 | Population: 3,632

  • 2011 | Ohio River flooding results in mandatory evacuation and the Army Corps of Engineers breaches the Mississippi River levee to protect Cairo from deluge.

Alexander - Cairo Port District

PO Box 591
1100 Commercial Avenue
Cairo, Illinois 62914

Phone: 618-734-3200

© 2018 by Alexander Cairo Port District. This website was funded by a grant from the Rauner Family Foundaton