Middle America, right here. "The largest city in northwestern Kansas, it is the economic and cultural center of the region." It's a college down, and has a population of 20.5K. I think I chose this because it's mentioned now and then in Gunsmoke.

Let's take a look. Here's the historical society:


A Carnegie Library? Seems not; they had one, but it was torn down. Unusual style, echoed in the new library.

A gorgeous old gas station; like Post Offices, it was the way the new styles were introduced into small towns far, far away from the big cities that gave them birth and girth.


Imagine going back in time and telling the owner that some day it would be selling raw fish.

There was a time between, oh, 1967 and 1976 when this was regarded not only as an improvement, but a boon to the street and the mood of the citizenry.


And what better to go with a start metal modern facade than Cooper Black typeface from the 20s.



Looks like it was waiting for an enormous giant finger to come down and make the protrusions go CLICK

One of those honesty, sober, decent little buildings that seems to have lost not a jot of its original character and intentions:



I include this lest this feature seem like an endless parade of decreptitude.

Whoa: No one was going to use Mr. W's building for something else, were they?



The local historical preservation documents note that it had a "common circa 1961 turquoise facade" that once included the second story. Also: "around 1937, the lower section of the facade was covered with black glass or marble tiles." Each had their own merits.

From the owner's Find-a-grave page:

In 1898, Anthony Aloysius Wiesner borrowed $500 from his grandfather, Andreas Schafer, to open a department store in Hays. His first day of business ended with gross sales of $2.00. At one time Wiesner's Department store was the largest department store in western Kansas.


A.A. Wiesner was an ambitious, hard-working "no nonsense" person. He had a success and integrity philosophy and was respected by the community for it although a few may have judged their particular contacts with him as somewhat "hard-nosed."


A. A Wiesner never lost interest in the business and in his ninetieth year made a trip to the store each day where he could be found at his desk meeting his friends and consulting with his son Joe Wiesner, general manager of the store."

I know the type.

It made it until 1991, then closed.

The same historical document notes the shingled-awning style, and uses a term coined by Patrick H. Zollner, a Kansas architectural historian. Ready?



"Buckaroo Revival." I love that and will use it from now on.

Yeah, me 'n' my Pa remodelled this one. You like it?



You can tell the second story . . . wall-thing had beveled edges, like a picture frame.

Now why did I choose this one . . .



Perhaps because it bears such strange scars. Obviously it got a rehab, with the thin brick of the pre-groovry era and a sign that covered up the windows over the display windows. It's gone - but we see that the facade used to be black. Painted? A rehab from another era?

I know why I got this one: signage and glass blocks, a golden American era.




I know the name has a long historical backstory, New York connections and all that, but it still brings to mind something near the spittoons everyone puts their dirty shoes on.

It's that crazy old eccentric couple everyone always sees around town and wonders what their story's all about:


Well, as long as they're happy. The one on the right is the Basgall building, built in 1917 for the "J.B. Basgall Grocery and Queensware." Which is . .. what?

It's pottery.

I didn't see this coming: hello, 1950.



It's not showing movies. It's an "event center" right now, with a website that lists the last "Upcoming Event" as an "Urban Metal Show," in January.

Of 2012.

This page describes it as " a two-story Art Deco" theater, because no one knows what that term means. Designed by Samuel W. Bihr, Jr.



He died relatively young, at 57, but left a few fine buildings. Even if he'd only done this one, that would be enough to earn a tipped hat.




From the slit-window bunker school, something whose purpose might have been obscure until you look at the back.

A gull-wing canopy and a big window angled out: a drive-through bank, no doubt.

Buildings like this were a sign that a town was on the way up.