My Southern Illinois town is located in the rolling hills of the Shawnee National Forest –– 6 ½ hours from Chicago. We are as different as can be from that urban area and from Illinois’ central plains. Our area has a wild, somewhat bloody history and has often threatened to secede from the rest of the state. Back in the 1800s, Cairo was a much bigger town than Chicago.
Collection of Joni Beth Bailey, Murphysboro, IL