WTXL Road Trip: The History of Cairo

History of Cairo
Posted at 6:33 PM, Jul 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-21 00:09:47-04

CAIRO, GA (WTXL) - Located in Grady County, the small town of Cairo is just 30 miles North of Leon County, and has a population of about 9,000.

The town is most known for its cane syrup making business that dominated much of the local economy throughout the 1900's.

Cairo was incorporated as a city in 1906, but its history traces back almost a century before that. The area was first settled in the 1820s by a man named William Hawthorn.

Janet Boudot, a research reference librarian, explains, "Settlers left North Carolina and they came down through Georgia. Elder William Hawthorne and his family and followers were some of the first people to settle here."

Before the Civil War, Cairo was mainly used for agriculture. Boudot says, "Different crops that are grown here..okra, soy beans, pickles...we had the Joseph Campbell company, Campbell's soup. They used to be here and they grew a lot of tomatoes for soup."

The town covers about 9 square miles of South Georgia and includes one main high school, as well as a downtown area that works to preserve Cairo's history.

The original County Court House Clock Tower, which burned down in 1980, still has some of the original items including its bell. And today, people can visit the monument in downtown Cairo, in front of the new Court House.

The downtown area also includes City Hall, the Cairo Police Department, and the Roddenberry Memorial Library.

People in Cairo say one of the best times of the year to visit is in the Spring. Boudot says, "If they can come up during that brief time in the early spring, when the trout lillies were out, that's a wonderful thing to see. It's very friendly here, I think that's just apart of being in the south, just a small town. It is very hospitable and we're glad to have people here."