Monday, May 31, 2010

The Beginning and the end

A few years ago we traveled to Pittsburgh and traveled up the clog incline to the top of Mount Washington to get a view of the city. The joining of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers to form the Ohio River was a beautiful cite. A park, fountain and other amenities made it a must see destination.

Travel 981 miles down the river and the story is quite different. No lovely fountain. No beautifully maintained park, although a nice park was once at the intersection.

The birds flying in the picture were birds scared up from a viewing platform. There were hundreds of them. How long they had been there is for someone who understands the habits of the birds better than me to explain. My guess is they have been there for a while.

The park where the rivers meet is largely neglected and poorly maintained, i maintained at all.

Granted, the park seemed to have flooded recently, as standing water and muck covered much of the peninsula that made up the park. But the neglect clearly has gone on since long before the waters swept over the land in the recent past.

Notice the weeds that have grown up in the playground area near the swings. A picnic area was in the same condition.

Cairo, Illinois. Where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi. Two of the most important rivers in the nation. Yet the view is much different.

Where Pittsburgh has transformed largely from a steel town to something entirely new, Cairo has been on a decline since the civil rights era of the 1960's.

It seems the races simply couldn't find a way to get along. And now the city has been on a several decade decline.

Large stretches of the city are largely in decay or abandoned.

An assistant at the Illinois Welcome Center noted that the city had at one time been considered as important as Chicago in the world of commerce.

No longer.

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