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Thank you Jarrett, for this thoughtful view. My husbands hometown in southern Illinois is also falling down, hollowed our, although the mining companies left much of it too toxic to mow. Who knows how all this will play out. Maybe when the rising seas take the coasts, abandoned heartland will become valuable.


Two weeks ago I took a very similar trip to rural Louisiana. The only business left downtown next to the decaying shells of the past is the post office. The pain felt by these communities is real--and one which I would have never known about without seeing it firsthand. Standing in a place like this, one can understand the resentment toward the "liberal elites" living in cities who dominate the nation's political and economic systems, without even an acknowledgement of their rural neighbours. Maybe the first step in fixing our country is for it to get to know itself.


This was a great post. Thank you for sharing!


I always enjoy your writings on transit, because you clearly know your stuff forwards and backwards. But that blog makes so much sense, sometimes I don't even notice that you're also a dang fine writer. This entry reminded me -- thanks.


Thanks for writing this relatable piece, Jarrett. My mom grew up in an East-Iowa small town, her dad owning a Sears store. Almost eerie to see the downfalls of both small-town life and companies like Sears amid the rise of globalization, though of course I'm still convinced that it's the growing disconnection of small towns from the global economy that's fueling this disparity. Not easy to solve with the whole 'clustering force' of the creative economy that's helping larger cities succeed, but hopefully stories like this get places around the world to start thinking more about their residents' futures. Our ability to work together effectively as a country depends on it.

Sheila  Pierson

Very interesting read.....thank you.
I'm employed at the Lineville Post Office. Moving from Omaha, NE and relocating from Mercer, MO many years ago I find no other place I'd rather reside. Quite frankly both Mercer and Lineville were the 2 places I was determined never to live....however that idea has changed drastically. Most everyone is kind and caring and nothing is more gratifying in my job than to visit with my customers, sharing concerns, local news. I find when push comes to shove..small town folks CARE and are there for you. God Bless our small town.

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