The second-most populous city in the southeastern region of Kansas," as wikipedia puts it. Ten thousand five hundred souls. And then there's this:

"Parsons is the home of Dwayne's Photo, which became the last processor of K-14 Kodachrome film in the world and was the location of the final frame taken on the final roll of Kodachrome film produced. Parsons is featured prominently in the plot of the 2018 Netflix movie Kodachrome about a man who takes a road trip to develop a roll of Kodachrome film." It's not downtown, so it won't show up here. Parsons was nailed by a tornado in 2000; let's see what survived.

The picture above is the picture below.

Time has not given us the trade-up we expected. In fact we seem to have come out of the deal rather poorly.

Some days I tell myself “I should really come up with a picture that sums up the town the way a local might feel.”

Maybe I did.

Interesting little coat of arms:


And the original windows up there on the second floor, which isn't a second floor.

OUMB, becalmed in the concrete sea:



“Boss, there’s a mob headin’ up the street, looking for their money! What should I do?”


“We got any stone left over from the facade construction? We do? Start stacking it in the door, as fast as you can!”

If Caesar was like Howard Hughes and had lots of bungalows where he stashed his mistresses:

OUMB, pt 2


Good Lord, it’s a veritable convention of OUMBs:


Clock towers in the 80s never had the effect the architects might have intended, or hoped.

MORE Obligatory Ugly Modern Banks:


This one looks like it was subjected to a hydraulic press.

Ghost building scars, and we can presume the building went down after the paint job.



The sign says “Opportunity.”

Winsome little rehab - they had planters. That must have been nice. A ladies’ shop of some sort, I’d bet.


It’s nice that it still stands, and it would be nicer if it wasn’t painted, but . . .



. . . lining the bottom with oversized Kraft Caramels doesn’t seem like a bright idea.

I’ve been remiss in giving you more context.



As you see, nice contiguous blocks of buildings.


The angle parking always makes you feel like you're in a good true small town.



Decades later, people know what those cutouts means.

Not all blocks have aged well.



That’s wrecked, but it looks as if it could be sandblasted clean. Knock out some bricks to open up the windows, and it won’t look like it’s wearing an Eraserhead wig on top.

Next door:


Handsome old building, but the rehabbed storefront makes it look as if you could sweep a leg and knock it down.


This one drives me crazy. The bottom left door should belong to the window on the upper right.



You could do a lot for the street with some pressed-metal pieces. I wonder how many remain, and how many have lost their precise appearance due to a century of overpainting.


Some styles, when matched with the wrong stone, just look like a skin disorder:


It’s was a Carnegie library, and I haven’t seen any others in that style.

If you look closely, you can see the old windows.


What's the building? Why did they do that? Let's go around the corner.




It's a Masonic Temple. That’s one way of letting non-members realize they’ll never know what goes on inside.

I love this more than you will ever know.

It’s so FORTHRIGHT and logical and pre-Modernism modernism. The stone is the perfect touch.

What do you think the building might be?

Or rather, what was it?

This is just beautiful, no? I think so. It is now, of course, senior living, since the fate of many in a small town is to end up living in the big hotel they passed as a child, wondering what grown-up things went on in there.

Where’s the movie theater, you ask? There were four downtown, once.

All demolished.