Letter to the Editor

Cairo is great day-trip destination

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

To the editor:

I have recently taken up the fun activity of being a Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri tour guide. My friends find it fascinating to drive around southern Missouri and Illinois while I yammer on and on about the historical significance of the area.

The piece de resistance of my tours is the town of Cairo, Ill., recently minus one large downtown building that has collapsed on itself. My friends allow me to tell the history of the once flourishing river town as I drive them down Millionaire's Row, around the old hospital, through downtown, up and down the curving streets, past Mac's Barbecue, Fort Defiance, St. Mary's Park -- we hit all the hot spots.

Then the question is posed to me: Why has this town died such an untimely death? My only reply is lack of interest and neglect not only by its citizens, but by those in surrounding communities who have given up on such a town.

While the old downtown is still standing and the houses are still amazing, I invite everyone to go on a day trip to Cairo. Information can be found in any of the public buildings, and you too can become a tour guide. Visiting Cairo isn't just informative its an exercise, allowing your mind to imagine the past and envision the future. Imagining the possibilities of the town is enough to keep your mind reeling for weeks.

DAN PRESSON, Cape Girardeau