H-Mart Building of Shepherdstown: an architectural and economic outlier in a perfectly preserved community.

The winsome town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, though in most respects a free-standing municipality, has essentially morphed over the last thirty years into an exurban bedroom community to Washington DC, which lies approximately 70 miles to the southeast. No doubt bolstered by the presence of the well-regarded Shepherd University, the town has an urban, activist

Briar Cliff Townhomes at Kutztown: a credible snapshot of life after students.

A lazy Sunday drive along a rural limited-access highway in east-central Pennsylvania yielded an unusual surprise: a sizable residential complex that looked completely abandoned. But we were going fast enough that we could only catch a glimpse. It was so atypical that we had to pull over to investigate further. The background in the photo

Pollo asado versus petrol: why don’t we see more gas station/restaurant conversions?

Brookings, the southwesternmost municipality in the state of Oregon, features a main street with a level of business activity that betrays its general charmlessness.     Plenty of similarly sized communities would kill to have a downtown with a low level of vacancy, a fully functional old-school cinema, and even a few white-tablecloth independently owned restaurants.

The punchy glow of neon, accentuating what isn’t there.

An evening stroll along the busy main drag in the Washington DC neighborhood of Mount Pleasant reveals the luminescence of a vertically oriented neon sign advertising a business, with four simple letters: “ELLE”. While hardly the stuff of Vegas, it’s distinctive on its own terms, because it belongs to a style infrequently seen on today’s

The punchy glow of neon, accentuating what isn’t there.

An evening stroll along the busy main drag in the Washington DC neighborhood of Mount Pleasant reveals the luminescence of a vertically oriented neon sign advertising a business, with four simple letters: “ELLE”.