Visitors Guide to the
Riverlore
2723 Washington Avenue
Cairo, Illinois
618-734-1840
 

 
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Riverlore is a stately white French Second Empire Style Mansion nestled quietly in Cairo's residential section at 28th and Washington Avenues, once known as "Millionaire's Row".  Riverlore is an 11 room brick home built in 1865 by Captain William Parker Halliday, a prominent Cairo businessman and riverboat captain. Captain Halliday resided at his beloved Riverlore for some 34 years. The grounds cover 3/4 of an acre and with its exquisitely maintained, landscaped grounds complete with magnolias, flowering trees, shrubs and a 100 year old Gingko tree, it is by far the most picturesque mansion in the Cairo community. Originally the mansion covered the entire City block, but portions were sold over time to the First Southern Baptist Church.

The home is comprised of three floors and a basement. On the first floor is the front entry and sitting area, family room, parlor, kitchen, sunroom, dining room, hallway and powder room. An oval central stairway with a curved cherry balustrade winds more than three stories encompassing some 38 feet to the slate mansard roof which is capped by an ornamental iron railing. Cairoites have always called this the Captains Walk after Captain Halliday since it is said that he viewed both of his cherished rivers from atop Riverlore's roof. The second floor has three guest bedrooms, a guest bath, sitting room, a master bedroom, and a luxurious bath complete with a sunken tub. The third floor has a sitting area, an office, a library, and a unique theater complete with a stage and 18 movie seats. It is said that the daughters of the second owners, the Rendlemans, performed plays on the stage for the residents of the Cairo community. One daughter, Adelaide, even went to New York .for a time to perform on stage, but returned, married and lived at Riverlore for many years.

The Rendelmans are responsible for the development-and landscaping of the grounds. Adelaide recounted that pictures taken of the house about 1900 show only greenery around the house and scattered clumps of elephant ear ferns. She said that her mother planned the original landscaping and selected all the flowers, shrubs, and trees which were planted during the ten years beginning about 1905. The yard was enclosed at this time, on the street side by a low white picket fence. The front walk and walks around both sides of the house were made of brick laid in a herringbone pattern. The small active fountain forms the center of the plantings in the southeast yard. In the backyard, there is giant Gingko tree which was planted after a Rendleman family visit in 1913 to New York where they admired the ginkgos that had planted by the Chinese Ambassador to the United States at Grant's Tomb.

The City of Cairo has proudly made the investment of the purchase of Riverlore to preserve its attributes of community history. The furnishings were purchased from two grants which helped to complete the house to its present state. Many residents have committed themselves to its upkeep and preservation, all done by volunteers. The Riverlore Mansion is under the direction of the Cairo Public Library Board of Trustees.

 
     
  Visiting Riverlore
     Hours:
          Call the A. B. Safford Memorial Library for an appointment.

There is a small admission fee to visit Riverlore.
 
   
 
Directions: Riverlore is located at 2723 Washington Avenue north of downtown Cairo.
 
   
  GPS Coordinates
37 00.053'
W 89 10.956'
 
   
  Learn more about the Cairo area.  
     
 
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