Letter to the Editor

Cairo, Charleston were both spared in flood of 1927

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

To the editor:

This letter is written to correct an error in the article which appeared in your paper concerning the great flood of 1927. The story gave the idea that Cairo, Ill., was inundated by the flood of 1927.

My family roots go deep in Southern Illinois -- Cairo and Mounds in particular. I am a 1971 graduate of Cairo High School. My mother's family stayed in Cairo throughout the 1927 and 1937 floods. From the best of our family history, Cairo itself did not flood in either of these two floods. The surrounding countryside suffered greatly in these two floods. I have witnessed several substantial flood seasons, having been held up on the Ohio River seawall in 1960 and washing my hands in the rushing waters.

Concerning Mississippi County and Charleston, Mo., and the flood of 1927, you are correct. The flood devastated the county after the levy broke around New Madrid, Mo. However, the water reached a ridge on the eastern side of Charleston, and much of the town was spared. This information has been passed down to me by my uncle, Marshall Currin, who is deceased. I have seen pictures that confirm this story.

While Cape Girardeau proper was spared, I would point out that the part of Cape called South Cape, home to much of its black population and a good portion of its poor white population, has suffered through flooding and high water throughout much of the 20th century.

GARY PANG

Minneapolis, Minn.