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.

One could do nothing but small-town churches, all of which fall within a few narrow architectural styles. Your basic rusticated stone, indistinguishable from pressed-tin prefabs:

Here's why I chose this city:


That's a frame from the movie discussed on Monday, "The Intruder."


The sign on the left is almost unreadable . . .


Until you look at the brick above the front door.

On the second floor it says "W. O. Bryant 1918." The adjacent structure has a stone embed that say "H.T. Bryant." Rivals? Brothers? Both?

Your knowledge of Americana can be tested by your ability to recognize in half second the name and color of the sign below:


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


The big building - three proud stories - appears to have its details shorn. It's all blinded now:

Office? Lodge? Elks? IOOF? Don't know.

Down the street to the throbbing nexus of the commercial district:


Better than nothing, I guess - but between the shingled overhang (which stretches the entire length of downtown; one of those urban renewal plans to bring the folks back to the city's core) and the lack of signage, it's bland and unremarkable.

More of the same on the other side:


Yes, that's much preferable to a streetscape with signs that light up at night. SO very much better. A vast, impressive improvement.

The corner Rexall et al:


New facade; makes the old windows looked as if they're trapped in an aquarium:



It's rather creepy. The new windows should line up with the ones beneath. They don't.

The camera prowls through downtown, turns left, and we see . . .


There's no edit, so I'm 100% sure this is the scene today.



I suspect "fire." It's unrecognizable now:


Good Lord.



But there are survivors, as you'll see.



An old department store - a 30s or 40s renovation updated an early 20th century commercial building. It looks like it's standing apart now, but in its time it was in the heart of downtown.



Cinema Treasures: "Opened as the American Theater prior to 1926. In 1948 it became the McCutchen Theater."


Local history site:

There was a flurry of excitement in Charleston in 2007 when a couple of guys from California blew into town with big plans to open a restaurant, revitalize the old Russell Hotel, put in an ice cream shop and bring back the original night club in the basement of the hotel. They were also going to restore the McCutchen Theater to it original glory and show movies from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Didn't happen.