The Ninth Largest City in the state! Wikipedia says: "Alexander Fulton, a businessman from Washington County, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received a land grant from Spain in 1785, and the first organized settlement was made at some point in the 1790s. In 1805, Fulton and business partner Thomas Harris Maddox laid out the town plan and named the town in Fulton's honor."

Alexandria is classier than Fulton, so good for everyone. Let's begin.



This is a big one. I haven’t much to say; the images speak for themselves. Let’s start with the bank: it’s nice.

If you’re thinking it was built all at once, look closer.

The original entrance has some Luzi-anna lattice:

The clock pins the building to the 50s, I think.


A 1977 newspaper ad: big modern addition that wasn’t too disrespectful to the original.




Now, the postcard view.

Today: kaboom.

If we swing to the left, we see that the loss of the theater block - whenever that happened - hollowed out commercial activity in the area.


Google street view shows a later perspective, which tells you it was either slated for redevelopment, or the metal sheets rotted and fell.


t’s like a geological study of sediment deposits:

Ah, the old signs abide.



Whenever it says “New York” and it’s not New York, it’s usually a sign of a cut-rate boutique.

The anti-street-life initiative seemed quite successful. And hey, trees! That will bring back shoppers. Trees!

Sometimes the lack of economic activity freezes eras in place - like this classic 30s storefront.


GEM. That’s what they sold.


Another dead retailer remembered by the senior set:


The rise and fall of independent small-to-medium downtown department stores is the most sorrowful story of late 20th century retail.

Of course, a municipal structure. It could only be that, or a bank.


Another fine example of the Rapacious Maw school of rehabbing; the weight suggests the late 60s or early 70s.


We’ll take their word for it:

As much as I love anything from this era, I’d have to say . . . a bit too many columns.

Originally made of light butter:


Original signage? I think so.

Postcard view:

From the satellite:

Finally, one of those testaments that downtown is vibrant, modern, alive! On the way up!

Sure, less rentable space - but more impractical rooms!

Have a look around, and give my regards to Alexandria.





A humble start to this year's entry. Population: 3,460, give or take a few souls. It has ambition, though: the hotel no doubt made everyone think of the bustling train depot in old Gotham, with its brisk, sophisticated cosmopolitan scene.

It has a Facebook page. One comment: "The rooms are clean upon arrival but not much by way of getting towels and tp on a regular basis if your stay is extended. We ended up having to buy our own. Owners are really friendly though." That counts for more than you might think,

Unhappy brickwork on that green building. But a ghost sign redeems the view:

Owl Cigars. But was it a White Owl? That's what I don't know. Some signs for the White Owl brand said just Owl. If they'd have had modern marketing sensibiilties, they would have had White Owl, Black Owl, and so on, differentiating the flavors.

Barn Owl for the really nasty cheroots.

And what, pray tell, do they sell here?

I have no idea what they're talking about. One guy sitting at a card table with a stack of daily periodicals, waiting for someone to walk by and think "by cracky, I wonder how many they have. I'd like to read a journal from a different city entirely, just to see how many funerals there are for old ladies this week."

That's a lot of turret, Mr. Hetzel.

A Nebraska historical journal says "A majority of the structures are best classified as commercial vernacular. The most prominent, Queen Anne-style building is the Hetzel Block (NH01-044), located on the southeast corner of J Street and Central Avenue. It features an imposing corner tower, carved stonework and an ornate cornice."

And that's a big fat lot of help. Who was Hetzel?

Four buildings? Or one?

The answer can be found in the number of windows.

After all these towns we've explored, you have to admit: this is all too typical. From the rehab to the awning to the paint to the refitted window.


As if a curse had stricken the land.

I have to think there was more to this one, but what remains is spectacular:


The reason for those windows? If you guessed "hall for secret Masonic rites," you're wrong. It was the New Opera House. Again, scant historical information; Auburn seems underwhelmed by its past, or disinclined to share what it knows.

Can't have the Main Streets feature without the OSA, or Obligatory Shingled Awning:

The first-floor windows above the main windows are probably bricked up for good, but the building looks like it could be restored with minimal work.

Providing there was a market for office / residential at the price it would take to fix it up, and I'm guessing there isn't. But that's what they said about Fargo before its renaissance.

The last building in the world you'd expect to house a theater:

It's still in business! The site has a "Save the State" page, though. Uh oh. Turns out it's for a renovation drive. There are no historical photos of the place. There's no history of the place.

I suppose if you needed to know, you'd know, because you lived there. It was originally the Booth - great name for a theater in a state whose capital is named Lincoln - and was renamed the state in 1941, eleven years after it opened.

Finally: The sign version of screen burn-in.

  Love that 9, although I'm sure everyone wondered why they did it backwards.


I believe this old book of biographies has our man:

Previous to his coming to Nebraska Mr. Keedy was for several years engaged in the manufacture of lime at Keedysville. He came west in 1881, locating near what was then called Sheridan, now Auburn, and here he bought one hundred and sixty acres of improved land, upon which he carried on farming until the fall of 1893, when he sold to his sons, and bought two lots in Auburn. Here he built his present residence.

When a young man in Maryland, Mr. Keedy was intiated into the mysteries of Oddfellowship. Politically, he is what is termed an independent, and in religion he also holds independent views, and has never identified himself with any creed.

There has to be a fascinating story about the reason a man named Keedy would leave Keedysville.