SMALL TOWN CUSTOM -- TOWN FOLK SIT OUT IN FRONT OF A STOREFRONT AND DISCUSS THE WORLD OR TOWN EVENTSAs we are aware, small towns are declining. In 1950 44 %. of Americans lived on farms or small towns -- now it has declined to about 23%. Small towns located near urban areas fare better as employment opportunities are near. Decline has been attributed to many factors -- farmers losing out to large aggregate farming (read, corporate industrial), movement by the young to urban areas for jobs, loss of transportation such as railroads and not being near new highway systems, all of which cause political and economic shifts benefiting larger cities. Result -- small town decline. Small towns have been fighting this, some have been winning. But most are not.
OLD THEATER SEATS POISED INSIDE THE OLD COX HARDWARE BUILDING, MT VERNON, KENTUCKY
As I travel around Kentucky and other states I always like to take the back country roads and ride through the small towns and places. They offer many opportunities to experience what you cannot find elsewhere. Two of my favorites are the local businesses and architecture. The less disturbed the town is from outside influences the better I enjoy it.
A VICTORIAN FENCE SITTING ON AN EMPTY LOT -- A REMNANT LEFT FROM A BURNT-DOWN HOUSE IN MT VERNON KENTUCKY.I have noticed that many folks like to jump in their cars and take rides in the country and small towns. Do they stop? I don't know. Are they treating these small towns like museums? Could be!
Let me call these "jump in the car and take a ride" folks, small town travelers or STT folks.
As a suggestion, perhaps small towns in an area could join together and highlight what the area has to offer. Not the Motel 8 or the McDonalds but the different-- the unique -- what they have and don't realize it. How about the streetscapes in many of these towns that hold authentic buildings built in situ by locals using many local resources. A tiny Victorian building, a century old city hall built of native stone plus much more. Yes, the STT will say "oh, that's pretty," as they drive through, but never know what they are really looking at.
Let's do what some small towns are beginning to do -- have a tiny visitor center run by volunteers. Package the unique and different in little flyers and provide a walking tour map. Leave the commercial ads out. Get school kids involved designing a small town web site for their town, again leave out the ads. Maybe do this a few times a year. Not a festival -- just a plain ole appreciation of small towns event. Get the folks interested in the towns. Start a movement of BACK TO SMALL TOWN LIVING. With computers one can live and work just about anyplace. I'm not suggesting a tourist town or area but to introduce folks to what is and was the beauty of small town living. Just an idea to perhaps plug the leaking decline.
These are just a few ideas that popped into my head -- I'm sure there are many more out there.