The Confluence

Aerials Cairo area Confluence of Mississippi and Ohio Rivers 08-13-2014There was some discussion on a Facebook group about the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers at the south end of Illinois at Ft. Defiance. That’s been one of my usual stops every time I’ve passed through, going to or from Cape.

Pilot Ernie Chiles and I picked a bad day back in August 2014 for this particular project: we couldn’t shake the clouds that kept covering the mingling of the waters. In this photo, the Mississippi is the brown mass snaking from the left side of the frame and crossing across the bottom. What’s left of Cairo is in the top middle. The bridge carries traffic from Illinois to Kentucky.

The Muddy Mississippi is higher than the Ohio and it’s “holding back” the greenish waters of the river on the right. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Pushing the Ohio

Aerials Cairo area Confluence of Mississippi and Ohio Rivers 08-13-2014The view looking down the Mississippi shows the muddy water pushing the Ohio way over onto the east side of the river. This bridge links Illinois to Missouri.

Southernmost point of Illinois

Aerials Cairo area Confluence of Mississippi and Ohio Rivers 08-13-2014That tiny point of land is as far south as you can go in Illinois. The Mississippi is at the bottom, and the green Ohio, looking almost like a field of grass, is meeting it at the top.

War of the waters

Aerials Cairo area Confluence of Mississippi and Ohio Rivers 08-13-2014The intersection of the two rivers is a bit roiled because a tug steaming northbound up the Mississippi stirred things up.

That’s why it’s called The Big Muddy

Aerials Cairo area Confluence of Mississippi and Ohio Rivers 08-13-2014The Mississippi is divided into three regions. This marks the beginning of the Lower Mississippi. Surprisingly, at the confluence, the Ohio is the bigger river at this point, based on flow, with it’s long-term mean discharge at Cairo being 281,500 cubic feet per second. The Mississippi, measured just upriver at Thebes, is 208,200 cubic feet per second.

On this day, though, the Mississippi was higher and dominant.

You can see two of my favorite Ft. Defiance photos here. One was taken in 1968, the other in 2010.





Cairo Custom House

Cairo Custom House Museum 10-28-2008The Missourian has been full of stories of late about proposed courthouse shuffling and new facilities here and there. One consequence may be that the Common Pleas Courthouse may cease to be a courthouse. That raises the question of what will happen to one of the most iconic structures in Cape Girardeau.

Here’s a suggestion: turn it into a museum like the Cairo Custom House Museum in Cairo.

For all the time I’ve spent in Cairo, the last time I was in the old Custon House was when it was being used as a police station at the time of the riots in the late 1960s. I’ll have more about that on a later date.

A serious¬† “Wow!” factor

Cairo Custom House Museum 10-31-2014Mother, Curator Jessica and I really weren’t expecting much when we walked into the museum right before closing time. We weren’t two steps into the building when my friend, the curator for the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, broke the Coveting Commandment into a whole bunch of pieces.

First off, the building itself is a magnificent piece of architecture with features like arched brick ceilings that I’ve never seen before.

Because there are so many rooms, it was possible to create amazing grouping of exhibits. It would be easy to spend days in the place and still not see everything.

By the way, this website points out that the fireplaces like this one weren’t used for heating, but were used for ventilation.

Cairo Custom House Museum gallery

Here’s a taste of what you’ll see in the facility. I’ll talk about the darker history of the building in another post. I’ll also follow up with more photos on my next visit when I have more time. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.