posted on May, 9 2011 @ 08:27 PM
Originally posted by mappamThanks Mike - BUT what happened to it? Why did it become a crumbling forgotten "ghost town"?
Like most other small towns in the Midwest – the people just left for other places with more to offer.
Originally posted by mappamMost small(er) midwestern towns have generations of families living there. Most have owned the land/home for
I can only comment on the towns near me and I am fairly new to the area but in short this is what seems to have happened.
The small towns sprung up to support the trade for the area residents in the early 1900’s. They served as a hub for the collection of farm products
and the deposit of trade goods the farmers needed to survive and keep farming. The towns boomed at one point then died off as the populations left
for the cities.
Originally posted by mappamSo where did They all go? What caused a "normal" town to de-populate? How did it become a forgotten
As the farmers multiplied they split their land among their descendants to the point that they could not make the plots any smaller for fear of
unsustainability. As second sons and daughters moved into the nearby towns to make their fortunes the small towns grew and in some cases even
attracted industry. Sometimes this made for a small boom time (like happened in the town near me). When this happened the town grew fast houses were
built and businesses thrived. The local town had several food packaging plants but through their own foolish tax policy lost them and the
“industrial park” is owned by one of the more wealthy local families unused and rusting. The jobs left and the people left with them. The tax
base leaves the infrastructure crumbles as well.
Then families first sons became educated and schooled they realized the actual value of their land was more sentimental than practical and sold it off
to the larger factory operations as they encountered a poor year or disastrous harvest. Some stayed on to work as the managers and rent the homes
they once owned using factory methods and assets – while their children would have to leave for the cities when they reached the age of majority
because there was no way to support themselves.
When most of the land was consolidated into larger plots the need for goods and services in the smaller towns died off. Businesses folded – more
people left and with them the income opportunities. The business owners usually stayed open till they retired and lived in the town till they die.
However, their children having left town inherit the property don’t move back and may rent it cheap but more likely sell it off cheap to get some
liquidity. The towns are bought up by the local farmers for next to nothing who hold it and in a lot of cases it just sits empty.
Here one can buy a nice decent 3BR home on a corner lot in town for less than 30K; or rent one for $3-400 bucks; however, you would drive 50-100 miles
to any work if you can find it. Therefore about 50% of the houses are empty at any given time. The town once had population of 20k now it’s less
More than half the main street businesses are empty shells of 1940’s brick buildings. The only reason the rest have business is it being the county
seat and they cater to the court crowds; a diner and some law offices etc.
Originally posted by mappamIt is interesting to speculate - Why Cario? What other towns are in the same situation? Where did the people
Bigger cities – most kids raised there just want to leave average age of the population raises every year and the town gets smaller and smaller.
Rural Missouri is sprinkled with hundereds of towns like Cairo.