Historic Cairo, IL

Cairo IL 62914

Southernmost Illinois
Written By Southernmost Illinois

Explore Shawnee Forest Country!

Visit these spots which offer a glimpse into Cairo's once greatness

In 1869 Charles Galigher began construction of this four-storied, fourteen room mansion of brick. By 1872 his family became the first residents of this stately post-bellum manor home. From it’s completion in 1872 to 1952 only four private owners held the deed to this mansion. In 1952 the Cairo Historical Association was formed and decided to undertake the preservation of this home. Magnolia Manor, 2700 Washington Ave. in Cairo is open to the public daily. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Always a good idea to call ahead: 618-734-0201

Constructed in 1883 the A.B. Safford Memorial Library operates as a public library, located at 1609 Washington Avenue, Cairo. Open 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM weekdays. Make a tour appointment by calling 618-734-1840 Few changes have been made in the red brick, Queen Anne structure since it was built by Lancaster and Rice Manufacturing Company of St. Louis. The two niches flanking the main entrance shelter Clio, the Greek Muse of History and Concordia, a roman goddess of Peace. The bronze fountain, Fighting Boys, is an original work of art by Janet Scudder, one of America's foremost sculptors. The fountain, a story in itself, was commissioned and presented to the library by Miss Mary E. Halliday.

The Old Custom House, at 1400 Washington Ave, is a historic government building in downtown ​Cairo, Illinois. Built from 1869 to 1872, the building served as a customs house, post office, and courthouse. Alfred B. Mullett, the U.S. Supervising Architect at the time, designed the building in the Italianate style, a rarity among federal buildings; his design features a bracketed cornice and rounded windows. ​ The custom house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 1973.​ It now serves as a history museum. Open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: 618-734-9632.​

The Ohio River becomes a tributary of the Mississippi River directly south of Cairo, Illinois, ​on the spit of land where the rivers converge​. ​ Cairo became a prosperous port following the Civil War due to increased riverboat and railroad commerce. Small features visible in the image on the Ohio are river barges, which indicate the continued importance of Cairo as a transport hub. ​

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Historic Cairo, IL

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