Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwest South Dakota isn’t much smaller than the state of Vermont, but the population is so sparse that the typical Vermonters—hailing from a very rural state themselves—could hardly conceive of the staggering emptiness of this reservation’s 9,000 square miles. With a population only around 20,000, it claims fewer than 6
Graffiti Highway in the Keystone State: the histories of two abandoned roads are as different as their spraypainted messages.
In urban America, it’s a common occurrence for an executive body to determine that a small segment of a public right-of-way should no longer function as a transportation conduit. For whatever reason, that 300-or-so feet of roadway is obsolete. Perhaps it’s because it no longer leads to anything; it was a dead-end that provided access
McConnellsburg, PA: population barely above the triple digits, and parking meters on the main street.
McConnellsburg, a borough in south-central Pennsylvania with a population noted as not much over 1,000, has managed to find a way to monetize parking in its downtown—that is, the three blocks that comprise its main street (Lincoln Way). Do you see them there in the distance, next to the sidewalk? The village hosts a tidy
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
When green means stop: the impact of classic neon lighting in the wireless era, from West Virginia with love.
If a good sign is worth more than its weight in canvas, plastic, fiberglass, cardboard, or whatever material helped birth it, a good old sign earns even more accolades, as multiplied by the number of years it has done its job. (Weight of the material multiplied by its age?) The perseverance of a good sign
As the revamp of my webpage reaches its completion, I must consign myself to brief little “spurts” of writing while the domain transfer process rolls out and we iron out any remaining kinks. It has long been a goal of mine to publish more frequent, brief articles (much like my Halloween one) but it is
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:
From buildings to benches: with enough ingenuity, anything in Lehighton can get the mural treatment.
In the mid 2000s, I engaged in a group research project that assessed the economic impact of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (now called Mural Arts Philadelphia), the longest-running and largest initiative in the country—probably in the world. Started on a shoestring City budget in the mid-1980s to address the widespread graffiti issue, Mural Arts
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
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