Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Arlington

 

Number of years ago, I had been writing for a monthly paper/magazine in Denver.  On occasion I would write about some of the small towns on the plains, most had become ghost towns.  A reader wrote in to me saying I should write about her little town of Arlington.  Sure a I figured, it should be no problem.

I look up where Arlington is.  As the crow flies, a couple hours over that a way.  As the road goes, just over three hours.  I had been through there a few months earlier for a meeting.  On the way home I drove right through the place, at 0 dark thirty.  Only saw the lights of the ranch home there.  Otherwise passed it in a blink.

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It was one of those things I did not do right away because of where it was.  I put it in the mind back and figured some day I would go down through there again.  Well, that day arrived a few weeks ago.  There was talk that a scrapper was down there getting ready to pull the rails up.  I wanted some pictures and a story.  So off I went.

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When I got down there, there wasn’t any work going on the tracks but the once little town of Arlington awaited. 

I had also heard that there were some local people that wanted to but the church and fix it up and maybe restore it. 

There was a small roadside park that greeted me, nice tall shade trees and across the road was the ranch house.  Looked like ther may have been and emporium there at one time for passing travelers.  It is a busy road, about one car every 10 minutes. 

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Over on the NE corner of town stood the old church, barley hanging on.  I could see why the owner didn’t to sell.  It looked like a junkyard and Junkers want big dollars for their junk and have a hard time selling. 

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Things like this get maddening for some, they want to fix it up yet it is the owners storage for his junk.  I have seen it many other little towns. 

There are about 6 square blocks of the town and a couple of other shacks are standing and there is one home still in the village.

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This little house shows why so many left the plains, the Dirty 30’s.  Blow dirt piled up along the fence line.  Crops were destroyed by the dust, livestock died and it was a struggle to survive.  Many a settler packed up back then and left.  The dust Bowl created a terrible time for many and there is not much left from that era. 

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Around the town are various rubble piles, foundations, cellars and steps leading into nothing. 

The drought comes around now but the dust is mild compared to the 30’s.  People go about their business but the little burgs like Arlington are settling in the forgotten history pages.

Pause on a street corner, listen to the song of the prairie moan over the land.  Here there were dreams.  Owning their own land.  Starting a new life.  The lullaby reached to the clouds, many a person followed their dream to watch it disappear.

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Tenaciously a few cling to the land.  Living the dream, now their company is the ghosts of the past. 

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