Monday, August 29, 2005

i ain't afraid of no ghost[town]

downtown blaine, kansas

this weekend i went on a little journey to visit some "ghost" towns in rural kansas for a class project. my group and i decided to visit the towns of st. george and blaine. our first stop was st. george which is only a few miles east of manhattan. although it was small i wouldn't consider it a ghost town. there were people walking on the sidewalks and a small crowd in the local cafe. after taking a few pictures of the area my group and i headed up to blaine. we drove to where we thought the town was, and immediately found the church, however we couldn't find the town. we had seen a few abandoned buildings but assumed there was more, we were wrong. the only sign of life we saw were the few people setting up picnic tables at the church. we wondered over and asked a few questions about the town. after a short history of the town they invited us to stay for the picnic but seeing that it was two hours away we weren't sure if we could kill that length of time. driving through town i got out of my truck to take a few pictures. while taking pictures of an abandoned garage, a call pulled over and asked what we were doing. after explaining what we were doing to the older gentleman and his wife, he invited us to talk to his 97 year old mother who lived up the road. deciding to go along for anecdote's sake i followed the couple into a very traditional farm house. upon entering i was that this ladies whole family was gathering for the annual picnic. she explained that the city of blaine was settled by irish catholics from st. louis. the town peaked in 1910 with 250 people but since the decline of the railroad, the town was slowly dying with only a few people remaining. after enjoying some refreshments the family invited my partner and i to be there guests to the picnic. upon hearing that there was mashed potatoes, and pie being served i couldn't turn it down. we went to the church, and ate in the old school basement. during the course of the picnic i was introduced to many people all who gave me a little bit more insight into this small town. after playing a round of bingo and taking a few pictures of the gathering, my partner and i headed back to manhattan, but not with out the brownies and cookies that our new friends had so graciously purchased for us.

inside a forgotten garage

steps to a bank that once stood

doorway to the old depot

st. george grain elevator

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