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Old 05-01-2011, 12:30 PM   #1
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Ohio & Mississippi River Flooding Threaten Landmark Park

While perusing our regional Sunday newspaper, The Southern Illinoisan, I ran across the story chronicling the likely inundation of the former Fort Defiance State Park in Cairo. Several years ago, the park was deeded over to the City of Cairo, and it appears that Cairo may be unable to restore the park to its former glory when the flood waters receede. Poverty levels are extremely high in Cairo and there is a high probability that restoration monies will likely be difficult to come by once this Spring's flooding is history.

Many may remember this as being the park that was part of the Capetown to Cairo Rally two years ago. I am including several photos dating to the time period of the rally.



The photo above is of the central circular drive in the park.



The photo above is of the platform from which one can view the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.



The photo above is of the tourist center that was destroyed in a flood several decades ago.



The photo above is of the Ohio River Bridge as viewed from Fort Defiance Park.



The photo above is of the Mississippi River Bridge as viewed from Fort Defiance Park.



The photo above is of the entrance to the Fort Defiance Park Campground.



The photo above is of the Southern edge of the Fort Defiance Park Campground.

City of Cairo Mayor Issues Mandatory Evacuation Order -- KFVS12-TV

Ohio River Reaches All-Time Record High at Cairo -- KFVS12-TV

Cairo on the Brink -- The Southern Illinoisan

City of Cairo Braces for Major Flooding -- WSIL-TV3

Cairo Waits for Relief -- The Paducah Sun

Ohio River Bridge At Cairo Closed Due To Flooding -- The Paducah Sun

Land Between the Rivers Flooding -- The Southeast Missourian
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Old 05-01-2011, 01:05 PM   #2
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sorry to hear

This is sad news. It looks like yet another beautiful park bites the dust in these hard times. It would be wonderful if another group could step up and help out with a restoration. This has been a very hard spring with all of the rains and storms. Thanks for the pictures!
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:48 AM   #3
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Yes, very sad, and the flooding such a multi-annual event these days. I heard on the news last night that there are plans to break the levees to protect the town of Cairo.

It's going to be worse before it gets better, and everything along the Mississippi all the way down to the Gulf is going to have a very rough spring.

Let's keep them all in our thoughts and those Red Cross donations coming in.


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Old 05-02-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
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Ohio & Mississippi River Flooding Threaten Landmark Park

This morning, Cairo, IL is a virtual ghost town. It is reported that the town is currently occupied by 100 holdouts who didn't follow the mandatory evacuation order. Another report from authorities has indicated that the river levels at Cairo are expected to rise above the point where the Birds Point Levee may be forcibly breeched by late afternoon today. The floods of 1973, 1979, and 1993 were all bad, but they pale in comparison to what is happening today. We are hoping for two days of dry weather this week (Wednesday and Thursday), but with 24-hour rain totals in excess of 4 inches two days of dry weather won't be enough to really impact a positive change. We have yet to hear any news of the flood threat for the Historic District in Cairo that includes Magnolia Manor, one of the regions most recognized Victorian mansions.

Kevin

P.S.: My partner and I will be attempting a 75-mile trip to Sikeston, Missouri later today. After checking the list of road closures due to flooding it looks like the trip may be closer to 200 miles one-way by the time all of the detours are taken.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:27 AM   #5
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The Missouri official who begged to have Cairo flooded instead of Missouri farm land should have the rebuilding funds taken out of his agency's budget. He might have thought a bit differently if there were some consequences for him instead of just making it someone else's problem.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:10 PM   #6
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Just read that the Corps of Engineers is blasting the levees.


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Old 05-02-2011, 09:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Just read that the Corps of Engineers is blasting the levees.


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Does that, indeed, flood the town?
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:43 AM   #8
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Columbus, Kentucky

As a means to skirt the flooding in Missouri, I changed plans, in mid stream if you will. Choosing to accelerate my plan to be at Columbus-Belmont state park in Columbus, KY. So we set sail via US 412 from Paragould, Ar headed towards the I155 bridge over the mighty mississippi river.

The Missouri side does not quite reveal the shape of the mississippi river one sees as the road folds into Tenessee.

Any way we proceed towards Clinton, Ky on US 51 towards the state park, all the while it is raining buckets. Got to Clinton, no problem and then off on Ky 58 towards the park and then it gets interesting as most of the road is flooded or beginning to flood. But we press on arriving at the park around 2pm yesterday.

Trying to get my bearings on the map and such and not being from this area....I find that we are a mear 15 miles or so from Cairo, Ill on US 51. Now if you have not been to this park, it is beautiful and sits on an immense bluff overlooking the river.

When we arrived the park was mostly deserted, no one at the office,only one other rv in the park.....no on in it...rained most of the night...no one around.

Anyway, it is daybreak, we have not been consumed by flood waters and plan to stay here four days and explore the area......

Maggie....where am i???????
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:48 AM   #9
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Ohio & Mississippi River Flooding Threaten Landmark Park

The first round of blasting to breech the levee at Birds Point near New Madrid, Missouri took place about 10 PM Monday, May 2. Weather concerns forced the rescheduling of the successive blasting, but the Army Corps of Engineers is planning to complete the blasting this morning. Our local news just reported that the 6 AM, May 3 blast has been postponed due to the very heavy rain that we had overnight. The latest news reporting on this topic can be found at this link.

The levee that has been breeched is supposed to alleviate the threat of massive descrtuctive flooding in points North of the blast zone including Cairo, IL. There is a secondary levee behind the Birds Point levee is expected to prevent flooding in New Madrid, MO and points nearby. The levee that is being breeched serves a primary function of protecting farmland -- farm buildings as well as some farmers' homes may be overtake by the flood waters once the blasting process is complete.

My partner and I made the trip from our home to Sikeston, MO yesterday afternoon, and the flooding is so much worse than any I remember from a lifetime of living in this area. Interstate IL 57 is passable, but flood waters are encroaching upon the road in several places between Ullin, Illinois and Cairo, Illinois. Water covers portions of some on-ramps as well as some off-ramps. We witnessed the closing of the off-ramp on I-55 in Sikeston, MO on Malone Street due to rushing high water that coveed the ramp while we were running a few errands in Sikeston. While running our errands in Sikeston, we encountered Road Closed signs in several places that I don't recall ever having seen closed in earlier instances of flooding.

Our area schools have really had a rough year for emergency closure days. During he winter, we had more heavy winter storms that necessitated school closures; then this spring, we have had several severe windstorms/tornadoes that have left parts of the area with no electricity for days at a time necessitating school closures; now, we are having school closures due to flooding that makes it too dangerous to run school buses. During our travels yesterday, we saw a number of sandbag filling stations running in high school parking lots along the route. One of the feature stories on the news this moring showed the sink holes that are developing on roads and highways in the region as a result of our extremely wet weather -- while there haven't been any injuries reported with these sink holes opening up, there have been instances of cars nearly being swallowed by these sink holes when they have opened up in the past.

Kevin
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:23 AM   #10
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Does that, indeed, flood the town?
The intention is to save the town of Cairo, flooding instead the surrounding farmlands. That's what we're getting on the news here.


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Old 05-03-2011, 07:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by kingfisher24 View Post
As a means to skirt the flooding in Missouri, I changed plans, in mid stream if you will. Choosing to accelerate my plan to be at Columbus-Belmont state park in Columbus, KY. So we set sail via US 412 from Paragould, Ar headed towards the I155 bridge over the mighty mississippi river.

The Missouri side does not quite reveal the shape of the mississippi river one sees as the road folds into Tenessee.

Any way we proceed towards Clinton, Ky on US 51 towards the state park, all the while it is raining buckets. Got to Clinton, no problem and then off on Ky 58 towards the park and then it gets interesting as most of the road is flooded or beginning to flood. But we press on arriving at the park around 2pm yesterday.

Trying to get my bearings on the map and such and not being from this area....I find that we are a mear 15 miles or so from Cairo, Ill on US 51. Now if you have not been to this park, it is beautiful and sits on an immense bluff overlooking the river.

When we arrived the park was mostly deserted, no one at the office,only one other rv in the park.....no on in it...rained most of the night...no one around.

Anyway, it is daybreak, we have not been consumed by flood waters and plan to stay here four days and explore the area......

Maggie....where am i???????

You're right here, and I would not go any closer to the river.

clinton kentucky - Google Maps

Kentucky is very artsy in areas, if you like pottery, glass, wood, etc. We like Berea.

There are a lot of Amish in KY, too, and you should find roadside stands selling early produce.

Be careful,


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Old 05-03-2011, 08:38 AM   #12
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We just returned from Canal campground in Grand Rivers, KY. It is on Lake Barkley just north of LBL. We were on a high spot (#94) so were fine but several others had to move to higher ground and one of the bath houses was closed. The quilt show in Padicah was relocated to several other venues in town because the city had to close the floodgates. Now I am curious to go see how St. Louis is doing. I remember going over the Chain of Rocks bridge during the 1973 flood and seeing a house floating down the river.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:58 AM   #13
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blasting the levee

We were (are) at Columbus-Belmont State Park, Columbus, Ky and there is not much way we could be closer to the MSSISSIPPI RIVER.

From where we are located you can walk to the edge of a bluff and see out over the flooded river.....it is as far as the eye can see.

Last night , it was after 10 there was a blast that was reminicent of B52 strikes in the mekong delta, the ground literally buckled and the trailer shook and the noise was deafening.....

All the locals are saying that they ain't seen nothin like this and that there parents say it is worse than e 37 flood....

we are going out to see where we can go and what we can see
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:03 AM   #14
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Ohio & Mississippi River Flooding Threaten Landmark Park

Greetings Maggie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingfisher24 View Post
We were (are) at Columbus-Belmont State Park, Columbus, Ky and there is not much way we could be closer to the MSSISSIPPI RIVER.

From where we are located you can walk to the edge of a bluff and see out over the flooded river.....it is as far as the eye can see.

Last night , it was after 10 there was a blast that was reminicent of B52 strikes in the mekong delta, the ground literally buckled and the trailer shook and the noise was deafening.....

All the locals are saying that they ain't seen nothin like this and that there parents say it is worse than e 37 flood....

we are going out to see where we can go and what we can see
The current flooding is definitely the most severe that I have witnessed in the 37 years that I have lived in this location. Some places that you might find interesting to visit even with the flooding would include:
  • Flood Wall Murals, Paducah, KY -- these murals chronicle the city's co-existence with the river from the days of Lewis and Clark to the present.
  • Shandie's Restaurant, 202 Broadway, Paducah, KY -- this historic waterfront distric restaurant (originally CC Cohen's) offers original 1890s atmosphere paired with excellent food and wide-open views of the waterfront park area.
  • Kenlake State Resort Park, Aurora, KY -- just a few miles East of Paducah (off of US 68), you will find this historic state park that features a lower-level dining room with an excellent view of the lake and excellent food (the house salad dressing is really something to experience).
  • Superman's Hometown, Metropolis, IL -- just across the river from Paducah, you will find Metroplis, IL the "adoptive" hometown of Superman. There is always something going on in downtown Metroplis near the Superman statue.
  • Shemwell's Bar-B-Que, Cairo, IL -- this little cafe may be closed due to the flooding, but if it isn't, they feature one of the best home-hickory-smoked pork bbq sandwiches that are adorned with cabbage chow and their home-made spicy bbq sauce.
  • Fort Defiance Park, Cairo, IL -- I don't know what the current status or accessibility is for the park, but the observation tower affords a remarkable view of the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
  • Magnolia Manor, Cairo, IL -- I don't know whether the flooding has resulted in suspension of tour opertaion, but this Victorian mansion is a beautifully restored example of the regions Victorian river-town architecture.
  • Lambert's Cafe, Sikeston, MO -- the sight of hot, home-made yeast rolls being lobbed across the dining room will be something that won't soon fade from your memory -- nor will the memory of the delicious country-style cooking in ample portions.
  • Shawnee Queen River Taxi, Golconda, IL -- this tour service takes you along the Ohio river where history is highlighted along with the activities of the regions wildlife. They may not be in operation due to flooding but I haven't heard any definitive reports.
  • Giant City State Park, Makanda, IL -- the historic lodge, built by the CCC during the depression, is a memorable site -- and their dining room features excellent food along with a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Dixie Bar-B-Que, Jonesboro, IL -- I will admit to being more than a little biased in regard to this cafe that is owned by one of my neighbors. Dating back to 1938, this cafe offers home-hickory-smoked pork shoulder that is thin-sliced and piled high on large Bunny Bread Buns with an ample topping of their home-made sweet and spicy sauce.
  • Bald Knob Cross of Peace, Alto Pass, IL -- this historic landmark is the culmination of a dream of two local visionaries -- Wayman Presley and Reverend W. H. Lirely. Through stories on a serialized radio program in the mid/late 1930s, funds were raised to build this magnificent porcelainized steel encased cross. During the ensuing decades, Bald Knob became the site for a very well attended non-denominational Easter Sunday Service. The site has become a popular location of open air weddings as well as group gathering. A multi-year restoration project is nearing completion and it is hoped that the cross will once again be illuminated which makes it visible from a huge area after dusk.
  • Popeye's Hometown, Chester, IL -- You will see evidence of Popeye all over town. From the memorial park overlooking the Mississippi River to the museum on IL 3 in downtown Chester, you will be immersed in the legend and lore of Popeye throughout your visit.
I hope that you have a wonderful time touring the historic Land Between the Rivers!

Kevin
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