Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the first municipal charter for Cairo, Illinois, and for the Bank of Cairo, were issued in 1818; but without any settlement and without any depositors, this first attempt was stillborn. A second and successful effort to establish a town here was made by the Cairo City and Canal Company in 1836–37, with a large levee built to encircle the site. However, this effort collapsed in 1840, with few settlers remaining; with Charles Dickens' visit to the near-abandoned site in 1842 inspiring the nightmare City of Eden in his novel Martin Chuzzlewit. In 1846 though, 10,000 acres in Cairo were purchased by the trustees of the Cairo City Property Trust, a group of investors who planned to make it the terminus of the projected Illinois Central Railroad. Cairo also belatedly began growing as an important river port for steamboats, which traveled all the way south to New Orleans, with the city had been designated as a port of delivery by Act of Congress in 1854, and the Illinois Central Railroad finally arrived there a year later, in 1855. A new city charter was written in 1857, and Cairo flourished as trade with Chicago to the north spurred development, with the population exceeding 2,000 by 1860. Just wondering, though, about a potential ATL revolving around the city of Cairo IL, and what might have been. What if, at the time when the first municipal charter for the city and the Bank of Cairo were issues, in 1818 as IOTL, there had been a concerted, successful effort to attract a significant number of settlers and depositors immediately, rather than the initial establishment of the town settlement being delayed by almost two decades. How large, and significant, could the city of Cairo conceivably become ITTL? And what sort of butterflies might this have?