Interesting Stuff


The GUARDIAN is coming off a two week, 5,000 mile road trip to the heartland of America. The trip was to make photos for some state-specific social studies textbooks with visits to Chicago, Indianapolis, Saint Louis, Kansas City, Wichita and the rural areas in between.

We came away with some thoughts and observations–some sad and others humorous–about what makes us who we are .

We will try to share what we learned in some postings with appropriate links to Boise and Idaho. We hope to post these “WHATTA COUNTRY!” vignettes on slow news days.

WINGATE, INDIANA– Like most small towns in rural America this little village with a faded vibrance is proud of its athletic accomplishments. Couldn’t help but think of the Chicago Cubs when we read the sign posted at the edge of town:

1913 and 1914”

Other towns had signs like, “Regional Class B Girls Softball Runners Up 1988.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Welcome back!

    1913 and 1914”

    for some unknown reason reminded me of a discussion when Silver City Idaho folks were looking for a way to draw more tourist attention to the town.

    Having recently lived in Tombstone, Ariz., for a while, I mentioned that it used the slogan: “Tombstone, the town too tough to die.”

    Someone responded that maybe they should use: “Silver City, the town too stupid to know it’s dead.”

    I guess each place has to have something to brag about (except perhaps Los Angeles, the town too buried in smog to be able to see whether it’s dead).

    Anyway, glad you’re back. Area officials have been feeling too frisky without The Guardian here to keep an eye on ’em and knock ’em down a peg now and then.

  2. I understand well the good feelings generated by a visit to the heartland of America….Now if only I could get that same feeling while visiting the major population centers…it happened for a few weeks 5 years ago.

    Just what are the qualities that a Metro Area loses to give it that impersonal or even dangerous feel relative to a small town? I remember as a kid in Minnesota…we would let a neighbor hunt our land at times because he had the only other tractor in the county big enough to pull ours from the mud… We didn’t like the guy, but he was our neighbor, he was honest and dependable. Is that what you saw G?

    One of the best things we have here in Boise is the Minor League Sports…not enough money involved to raise the prices… I know the final blow for small-town-Boise will be a Dome and a Team. (Go to an NFL game, pay dozens too much, and get stabbed in the parking lot because your team lost…maybe even by one of the players.)

    EDITOR NOTE–Does this mean the guy with the biggest tractor wins?

  3. GUARDIAN… there’s NOTHING like a trip to the Heartland. Last September I rode my motorsickle across N. Wyoming and S. Dakota (including a camping night in Mitchell, home of the fantastic Corn Palace). Brief forays into Minnesota and Iowa, ended up in Omaha. Rode home across Nebraska and S. Wyoming (looked a lot like N. Wyoming).

    You could see the grain elevators and water towers long before anything else… it is FLAT out there!

    In some ways it’s delightful, and in other ways poignant, that they still celebrate their kids’ athletic triumphs from 30 or 40 or 90 years ago. (Or “Birthplace of Gerald Ford” or “Geographic Center of the Continental USA.” I believe there are several little towns making that claim.) Delightful because it’s Americana at its finest; a bit sad because in some (many?) cases, it represents the town’s high-water mark, and it’s been slow but steady downhill ever since, as people have packed it in and headed for the Big City.

    Did you see “Napoleon Dynamite”? Uncle Rico was totally stuck in his high-school glory days from 25 years earlier. His 15 minutes of fame was as quarterback of the Preston Panthers (or whatever). Many of those little towns have “Uncle Rico Syndrome,” for better or worse. But that in no way diminishes the enjoyment of visiting… except that those boarded-up Woolworths and Western Autos and service stations will turn back into dust in another generation or two. (Go see it while you still can.)

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