[sbs_tax tax="States"] [sbs_tax tax="Albany"]

Grants, New Mexico: where the ghosts of miners haunt a thriving prison industry.

Although the evidence of ghost towns proves that they exist (or have existed) throughout the country, most Americans invariably associate them with the frontier West: the High Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada; the Great Basin, Mojave, and Sonoran Deserts.  We also customarily associate the emergence of ghost towns with mining, certainly more than

Tom's Diner: Googie architecture in Denver

Googie gets guardianship: conserving the Atomic Age through Tom’s Diner in Denver.

It’s not every day that a person stumbles across a location that he or she had recently read about in the news, completely unintentionally.  But that’s exactly what happened earlier this year as I nudged my way forward, from a side street onto Colfax Avenue, the main east-west arterial in Denver.  And low and behold:

German Street in Shepherdstown, WV: where, instead of a curb at the sidewalk, there’s a fence.  And shrubs.

The prosperous little municipality of Shepherdstown, fortuitously situated along the Potomac River in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, boasts a charming three-block main street, German Street, with nothing but locally owned establishments, achieving almost perfect occupancy amidst its variegated, well-maintained 19th century buildings.  It’s an enviable arrangement, no doubt enhanced by its location in

Lake Dallas Main Street: a bedroom community doesn’t neglect its entrance hall.

I’ll concede at this point that small town revitalization has become sufficiently commonplace that finding a new example is hardly revelatory, even for those who aren’t really attuned to that sort of thing…because they never visit small towns, or because they just don’t care.  It’s even less of a surprise if the municipality in question

The construction year: is it a building’s badge of honor, a brand, or both?

Although a freestanding municipality, the City of Harrison in far southwest Ohio also functions fully within the orbit of metropolitan Cincinnati.  And although the two-block commercial main street appears small for a city of 11,000 and growing, it owes this lack of proportion to the surge of population after 1960, prior to which Harrison lingered

Ridgecrest retail reticence: even remote communities are reeling from reduced relish.

Strategically located in the middle of sun-baked somewhere, the military city of Ridgecrest, California offers the accidental visitor a surprisingly populous alternative to the preceding and subsequent miles of Mojave desolation. By contrast, the deliberate visitor’s most likely destination is Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a munitions and explosives testing range and research facility,