CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - As efforts continue to revitalize Cairo, one local man is doing his part in helping bring the town back to life by restoring a historic home.
The home has been in Harold Jones' family for about 40 years. He says the project is not only about keeping his family history alive but also about building a brighter future for the city of Cairo and inspiring others to do the same.
"This house has been here since the Civil War days and it was founded as a home for Negro ministers by the Free Will Baptists out of New England and they would train the ministers here at this boarding house to go into points of the south," Jones said.
The house is full of history and Jones plans to keep it that way.
"We will have this as a room probably that, if people who come to Cairo and want to see some Cairo memorabilia, we will have that on the walls," Jones said.
He says it's a work in progress, but once it's complete it will be worth it for his family.
"It's important that every group of people have roots somewhere," Jones said.
Jones' family roots are in Cairo, and that's where they'll stay.
"Because I've recently come from Atlanta, they say 'How could you live in Cairo?' And I'll say 'Well I've been coming to Cairo all my life."
Jones says, hopefully more people will do the same.
"It's contagious," Jones said. "Once someone sees you doing something, they're more likely to want to improve their property."
He says, with a little help, the people of Cairo can come together to revitalize the entire town.
"If we can get the buildings that are not usable, torn down, then we are citizens can purchase the empty lots for maybe a few bucks and they pay taxes, that way we can increase the revenues for the city," Jones said.
The home is 4500 square feet. Jones plans to have it completely restored by next year.