Monday, December 22, 2008

Greensburg, Kiowa County, Kansas . . . Gone with the Wind

In November, 2006, I visited and fell in love with Greensburg, Kansas, which I called "A near perfect small town." I posted a page of photos, descriptions and impressions of my visit to Greensburg and Kiowa County on my pages at Little did I, or anyone else, know that less than six months later Greensburg would be almost completely wiped from the map.

On May 4, 2007, Greensburg was devastated by an EF5 tornado that struck with little warning. At least 95 percent of the city was leveled and the remaining 5 percent was severely damanged. Eleven people were killed. Now Greensburg, with less than half it's former population, is in the process of rebuilding. Some say it will be a model town, and a "green" one at that.

It has been very gratifying that since that time, I have received numerous emails from folks thanking me for the photos and the rememberance of Greensburg as it used to be.

On my pages at I have re-posted the photos and descriptions. You can see them here:

Below is my introduction to the photo set.

A Near Perfect Small Town

Greensburg, Kansas, with a population of only 1,885 is an off-the-beaten-path community on the high plains of south-central Kansas. It is the seat of Kiowa County, named for the Kiowa Indians.

About 3,200 people live in the entire county. You can't get there by commercial airline, train or even bus. The town is not touched by an interstate highway. Most people have never heard of Greensburg and relatively few tourists come here. That's a crying shame, because Greensburg is about as perfect as a small town can get.

In Greensburg you won't find a Wal-Mart or a mall, but the downtown business district is alive and well. Crime is virtually non-existent, You'll meet friendly people with lots of community pride and spirit. There are many interesting things to see and do, lots of recreational opportunities, and an abundance of wide open spaces, fresh air and scenic vistas. An extra bonus is all the peace and quite you could possibly want.

If you ever wonder what it is that drives me try and visit every county in the United States in my lifetime, then take a look at Kiowa County and maybe you'll understand. How regrettable it would be to complete my earthly journey and never once have stepped foot in Greensburg, Kansas.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Interesting Finds in Unexpected Places

One of the fun things about county counting is that you never know what neat treasures you may find in the most unexpected places. "Tourist attractions" can be found just about anywhere.
This sculpture, named Silent Leather, stands in front of the Wheeler County Courthouse, Bartlett, Nebraska. It is by the noted "Cowboy Artist" Herb Mignery. Herb grew up on a working cattle ranch in Wheeler County.

With only 828 people in the entire county, Wheeler is one of the least populated counties in the United States. I stopped here October 12, 2007, while on a meandering road trip from Cincinnati/Loveland, Ohio to Denver, Colorado. I had breakfast at the local Sinclair station - the only business I saw open in the town - and chatted with a table of about six local senior citizens, who seemed to be proud of the fact that there's nothing much to do in Bartlett.
Why is it that I love visiting places like Bartlett, Nebraska? I guess you have to be a county counter to understand.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Smallest County

Smallest County
Originally uploaded by {.jerry-b.}
Here's an interesting item I ran across on which should be of interest to county counters.