Cairo, Illinois

Cairo, Illinois (HMCR9)

Location: Cairo, IL 62914 Alexander County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 59.251', W 89° 9.02'

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Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix, a French Jesuit, reported as early as 1721 that the land at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers would be a strategic location for settlement and fortification. Nearly a century later, in 1818, the Illinois territorial legislature incorporated the city and the Bank of Cairo. But Cairo was then only a paper city, and plans for its development came to a standstill with the death of John Gleaves Comegys, the leading promoter of the corporation.

The area's commercial potential again captured the imagination of Illinois leaders and eastern investors in the 1830's. New city promoters incorporated the Cairo City and Canal Company and made elaborate plans for levees, canals, factories, and warehouses. The first levees failed to hold back the rampaging rivers, and financial difficulties slowed the commercial boom. Company policy to lease, not sell, city lots also retarded expansion. With the first sale of lots in 1853 and the completion of the Illinois Central Railroad from Chicago to Cairo late in 1854, the city began to prosper.

When the Civil War began, both Northern and Southern strategists recognized the military importance of Cairo. On April 22, 1861, ten days after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, troops arrived to hold Cairo for the Union. They established camps on the land south of Cairo, and the city flourished as a troop and supply center for General Ulysses S. Grant's army. Although the city bustled with wartime activity, non-military commerce was reoriented along east-west lines.
HM NumberHMCR9
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Illinois State Historical Society series
Year Placed1964
Placed ByIllinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 4:45am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 308628 N 4095648
Decimal Degrees36.98751667, -89.15033333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 59.251', W 89° 9.02'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 59' 15.06" N, 89° 9' 1.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)618
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 13175-13189 Fort Defience Rd, Cairo IL 62914, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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