At first glance, one could assume that small town America is in inevitable decline. The abandoned, boarded-up homes and businesses and empty streets are all too visually evident. But a closer, more comprehensive look is needed. What can be saved of the charm, history and soul of these small towns? We can save a lot through the lens. But perhaps there is more to be saved. We hope this project will help us celebrate what is good and memorable about the small towns of Colorado, and also help us fully appreciate what their contributions have been, and more importantly, what their contributions could be in the years ahead.
There are beautiful photographs to be made and stories to be heard and learned. So we began to think, wouldn’t it be fascinating to record both visually and textually the stories of these towns before they either disappeared or changed beyond recognition? We had casually visited only 10 or 20 of these towns on our road trips. But there are at least 100 towns in Colorado that have fewer than 200 full-time residents, and there are many more that fit the description of a small town but are unincorporated. There are some that feel like small towns (like Yampa or Alma), but that have more than 200 residents. We decided that we would start with a larger list of some 120 places, and then whittle it down from there to a group of 50 or so that we could really do service to, and that were interesting and representative enough to provide a story about small town life in Colorado. This project in in process, developing nicely, more of its history and information can be found at highway9journals.com