These pictures were taken in two separate towns, Kirksville and La Plata Missouri. These are the towns I grew up in. Kirksville is about the size of a city and La Plata is a small town. But you get the point.
Small towns are important for many reasons. They offer a unique culture, for the most part they are less noisy than the city, they are artistic and eclectic, they help small businesses grow and thrive, they offer teenagers and college/university students a place to learn, grow, explore, and provide a safer nightlife. Small towns like these offer a closer knit society where most of the people know each other. This can be good and bad for some reasons. However this allows people to work with each other, to get to know one another, and when they are ready to move on they can.
In some of these pictures the reader and viewer might think that what they are viewing is a ghost town. But, this depends on which day of the week it is. During the week most people are at work and school so the towns square is either busy or everybody is going home from work. During the weekend people in and around these towns love to go camping, hunting, fishing, four-wheeling, spending time with family and friends, going to the movies, dining out at restaurants, or visiting a nearby town or city. Missouri also offers the best Parks and Recreation for doing some of the activities mentioned.
However, what I have noticed is that some small businesses have come and gone or would be small business owners have a difficult time finding an opportunity to put their business in available spaces. This could also be that the community members want certain businesses in and they want to keep certain businesses out. But, these towns need variety in the type of businesses that enter into available spaces. They need those endearing, antiquish/artistic/eclectic, and culturally acceptable and American “Mom and Pop” businesses. It also doesn’t hurt to have bigger businesses come in because those help as well in their own way.
Also, in some areas these towns are in desperate need of infrastructure repair. But, how do the citizens and the town leadership get the monetary funds to repair their infrastructure? Part of the answer is to balance bringing in businesses and fostering growth, education, awareness, and a collective society that collaborates and communicates effectively.
Many mothers and fathers would agree that they would choose a small town to bring up and educate their children in a small town for certain reasons. Smaller towns are safer for children to travel back and forth to school, the education system is somewhat better than what is found in the big city, Kirksville is home to Truman State University and Andrew Taylor Still University for Orthopedic Medicine, these towns offer a variety of sports opportunities for potential scholarships, a drive to the store is about six minutes or less in any direction from origin, the seasons are amicable to most peoples tastes and provides beautiful scenery, and there are various churches to go to.
Some students that go to local schools, sometimes, go on to go to school at Truman State University or the local Satellite Campus of Moberly Area Community College where they can learn vocational and technical skills. There is also a vocational and technical school that is a part of the local High School in Kirksville.
Walking around and spending moments among the culture, nightlife, and nature of each town a person might notice the various types of art inculcated into each building and corner. Both of these towns have a history that goes back to before the 1920’s. Through the years some of the art and architecture still exists on the outside and inside of the buildings that are in the slideshow. Because the art and architecture still exists, in the present day that provides the viewer, the shopper, the artist, the student, mother, father, children, and individuals with a pleasant experience and atmosphere while going about their business.
These towns are located in the Northeast portion of Missouri and the Midwest. Even though they are somewhat in the center of the United States there are various types of people from different walks of life that live there. The business opportunities, systems of education, and availability of culture is what brings most people to these towns. There are Congolese people from Africa, there are Hispanics from various portions of the Southern United States, African Americans, the Amish and Mennonites, and most of the University and College Students come from various portions of the United States and around the world.
There have been many instances where I have been studying or working on something else and I wanted to get out of the house, so-to-speak. I get in my vehicle and visit one of the local coffee shops or I might visit Thousand Hills State Park. If I need something that I don’t want to wait for, in purchasing online, I can go to one of the available businesses and purchase what I need. The biggest and most important reasons why I would want to do this is for the fact that local business owners offer high quality goods and services. They pride themselves on their hand-made craftsmanship and that “Made in America” logo on the other products they sell. If some of the products they sell don’t have that logo a buyer can be sure that what they have to offer has been made locally, hand-made, and of high quality like I said. Also, these products have a Midwest flavor of art and culture inculcated into them that is only made in these places. If people crave more of these types of products, goods, and services that is also one of the many reason why there needs to be more “Mom and Pop” small businesses grown within these towns.
Small businesses also allow younger generations with the opportunities to learn and grow valuable skills and attributes. Students might have the opportunity to work year round or seasonally at one of these types of businesses. Small business owners employ hard work and determination in building their businesses and they can be sure that type of work ethic will rub off on them.
I hope any person that has viewed the slideshow provided and read this blog post has enjoyed exploring portions of the Midwest. I also invite the reader and viewer to visit both of these towns city and business websites to see what else they have to offer. Please explore and find opportunity.