2 votes

CN - Cairo Flood Gate


South portal of the gate

Photo taken by Nathan Morton in February 2007


BH Photo #127313


Street View 


Flood gate and tunnel on US 51 at the north end of Cairo
Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois
Open to rail traffic above and highway traffic below
Built on the plan of Gatum Dam on the Panama Canal and cost a little more than $11,000 dollars.
- Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co. of St. Louis, Missouri
- Cairo Electric & Traction Co.
- Canadian National Railway (CN)
- Streetcar
Tunnel completed in 1903, while the gate was finished in 1914. The gate itself weighs 80 tons, is 60 ft. wide, 24 ft. high and 5 ft. thick. The counterweights used to raise and lower the gate weigh almost as much as the gate itself, so that it will only require the effort of 2 men at each windless, one windless on each side of the gate, to raise the gate when it has been lowered. The cables used in the "crabs" in raising and lowering the gate are about 2 inches in thickness.
Source: http://www.michaelminn.net/america/Cairo_Gate/
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.02135, -89.18554   (decimal degrees)
37°01'17" N, 89°11'08" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/305580/4099474 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 38036 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 1, 2014: New photos from Nathan Holth
  • October 8, 2011: New photos from Ben Tate
  • February 16, 2010: Updated by David Backlin: Added GPS Coordinates
  • November 7, 2008: Added by Nathan Morton



Cairo Flood Gate
Posted November 29, 2012, by Arthur Thistlewood (at383 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

My understanding is that wheels, cables and counterweights have not moved in so many years they probably would not operate any longer. I was born in Cairo in 1930, have photos of the gate from the North side. It would be entertaining to see the wheels and counterweights again. Almost no one from before WW II is still alive. Does anyone know what became of the enormous ship's wheel that hung over the Mark Twain Restaurant at 10th & Washington sixty years ago? Is "The Hewer" sculpture still standing across from the Catholic Church?

All the sections of the Ohio River railroad bridge were replaced sometime after the 1940s.