Friday, March 8, 2013

The Towns of Ghosts


The Great Depression left lots of empty shells on the prairie.  Towns boomed around the westward migration and the immigration wave of the late 1800’s into the 1920’s.  During the Roaring 20’s people were living high and fast.  It was prohibition and speakeasies, the flapper girls and gangsters.  Money was plentiful and easy to come by.  Self indulgence was the mantra of the day. 

Then came the crash of 1929, life was to change like no one could of froe seen.  People were going hungry, no jobs.  Dreams that had been built were being shuttered and left, abandoned.  Some small communities disappeared and are but a reminder on old time maps.  A few hung in through the 30’s only to decline with the coming modern age of the automobile.

Along some highways are reminders of these past days.  Small communities hang on but the shells of other days sit empty.  No longer is main street a bustling burg.  People seldom stroll down the sidewalks to go shopping.  Here one can walk the median stipe of main and not meet a car.

With time permitting, I like to drive off the beaten path and drive the streets of these little towns.  It offers a glimpse back into the past that has been glossed over by many or ignored.

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This neat old building had been a grocery store at one time.  There were not supermarkets back then.  From the side one can see the living quarters on the second floor where the store owner lived.  Wasn’t much long distance commuting back then.  With the two brick chimneys, it indicates that there was stove of some type, wood or coal probably.  The building was probably built around 1900’s.  There was no electricity back then or natural gas on the prairie.

On the sides can be seen the additions as the shop was expanded.  Maybe another business was opened next door.  It is fascinating to speculate on what when on in this little town 100 years ago.

On the roof one can see the modern conveniences added over time,  The utility lines for electricity, a television antenna and maybe central heating.

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Today it sits vacant, falling to the ravishes of time.  With the curtain and shades on the window it appears someone may of bought it and used it for a residence.  I have seen some people move out from the big city and buy places like this dirt cheap and fix them up.  It would make a nice large spacious home, great studio.  Not much racket and noise in these small towns. 

In silence the grand store sits awaiting its fate.

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