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.


Anita said...

Thank you so much!
I was born and raised in Greensburg, and made it "out" for 10 whole years before admitting to myself that "there's no place like home!"
It is very hard to explain to people the magic of living here... part of it to me is that my children are the 6th generation to live here in my family... I'm so glad to see that someone from the "outside" gets it!
I'm off to look at your photos... it's not the destruction photos from after the storm that get me, it's the photos from before... the "before" we all wish we could have back!

Anita said...

WE're still here, by the way, my family and I... three generations of us... My husband, son and I are living in a FEMA trailer, hoping to be able to find a place to live before the FEAM cut off date. I would have to have to leave now... :)