It'll be months or perhaps years before you see the matchbook or ad or postcard that prompted this visit; I can't tell you why I went there, only that I did.

It’s possible there was something else here, and it’s one of those towns that doesn’t rebuild after a fire but just plants grass, and shrugs.



Yes, it does look like there was something here.


Or perhaps they built a new street on top of the building and put in roads and streetlights and ornamental planners and everything!

Why did I choose this town? There has to be something more impressive than this.



Well . . . not yet. But they do have patterned sidewalks and trees and bike racks, so everything should be snapping back to life any day now.



The sidewalk is wide enough for traffic.


Ah! That’s nice. You know I’m always happy when I see an old marquee that isn’t falling apart, hanging over doors long locked.



Cinema Treasures:"The Capitol Theatre opened in 1934 and closed as a movie theatre in the 1970’s. It is currently the home of the Heath Claiborne Gallery, and serves as a special events facility in a dinner theatre setting."

W. A. Dunlop, eh?



From their history page:


The site of the present Capitol Theatre was originally the WA Dunlap Building, built circa 1922. It was open as a furniture store and undertaking establishment. The building later housed the J.C. Penney Company until the company lost its lease circa 1934. Crescent Amusement Company then began construction of the Capitol Theatre that same year.

Interesting. That doesn’t happen very often.


Whoa: town suddenly got BIG.



The seventies style of large downtown apartment buildings - often for the elderly - was one of the worst things to happen to small towns. Fargo got one. It's a dump now.

Another theater that isn't shuttered? Yes:


Cute little place; more here.

As dead a tableau as you’ll find.

But the lamppost is faux-old, so everyone should be flocking back downtown to shop any day now. I mean, c'mon. It has a banner!



I am sensing a trend.

Even when it was new, it was bad.

What architect would ever be proud of that?



Empty, but it has its dignity. Pretty sure the cornice was stripped. What’s unusual about it?



The tension caused by those small columns on the third floor. It looks as if the building could spring up and sprout another floor.


Some banks look like Roman temples carved out of rocky hillsides:


The original ground-floor windows and door were different. At some point they decided the building needed to be humbled a little.

The door sign says they sell pies now.






Anyway. Then:


The tall building in the distance, on the right? It’s now the Preservation Plaza, an office building. “Enjoy the resurgence of Downtown Maryville and free parking,” says the site. It has a restaurant on the top floor - at least it did when this website went up, which looks like 1997.



More trees, that'll do it.