Vanishing Small Towns

Vanishing Small Towns

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Ken Piros

Community Manager, Ohio

Vanishing Small Towns

Ironton is a city Located in southernmost Ohio along the Ohio River.

Ironton was one of the foremost producers of iron in the world. England, France, and Russia all purchased iron for warships from here due to the quality.

Owners and managers who gained wealth from the pig-iron industry constructed many opulent residences in the city.

The downfall of Ironton came as the market for iron changed. The quality of the iron that had once made Ironton one of the leading producers of pig iron was no longer considered as desirable.

The shift in the iron industry devastated the city. The iron industry declined, affecting other industries as well. As the iron industries closed, Ironton had little with which to replace them.

But today in these same small towns one will find boarded-up storefronts, vacant lots where structures have been demolished or burned, an abundance of bars, maybe a forlorn-looking beauty salon, maybe a thrift store, and several liquor stores.

Drugs is becoming popular in small cities, and even rural towns – especially among young people. Heroin is spawning a whole new generation of addicts in rural areas and smaller, struggling cities.

Methamphetamine production is enormously prevalent in rural America today because it’s the only profitable sector of the remaining economy, and the sight of addicts who look like walking skeletons is commonplace.

For years antique stores flourished in these small communities, but today even antique stores are in decline as buyers turn to eBay. With no local commerce left except for gas stations, bars and meth, why would anyone want to stay on in in the towns where four or five generations of their ancestors have lived and died? It makes much more sense to get out as soon as possible, if you can, and relocate to a larger city. And that’s why the small towns now appear as skeletal as their remaining inhabitants.

Small towns, It’s been good to know you, and I’ll miss you very much when you’re gone.

John Mellencamp - Small Town

Vanishing America Series

Comments 5

  • s. sabine krause 15/12/2015 9:12

    small towns, yes, a bitter-sweet topic! once their initial individual GOLD/SILVER ; ) rush is over, their prosperity starts to wane as their raison d'être is suddenly at stake… i really like the (second hand) point of view/vantage point, your literary/cinematic approach here, ken! the lady on the bench taking in her hometown… she's like scout finch looking at maycomb or – my first notion! – a female forrest gump! greetings, sabine.
  • Frederick Mann 01/12/2015 11:15

    picture and text... moving story, sounds like the death of small town
  • archiek 28/11/2015 20:46

    Excellent documentary photo of the plight of capitalism and how one area can build something cheaper or better and put others out of business. Nicely done!
    Best Regards,
  • Harold Thompson 28/11/2015 8:53

    Agree with Sue about our steel works Redcar Mothballed a second time, Scunthorpe and one in Scotland too. due to cheap imports. good documentary
    :-)) Harold
  • Sue Thompson 28/11/2015 8:42

    Having read allof your notes and looked at the links Ken, all of this seems very fmiliar in some ways. Our steel industry seems doomed and there have been many redundancies, with more to come. As the industry fails it will take out so many more smaller firms that are deendent on the big firms. It all has a terrible knock on effect. The prospects are frightening.



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Camera NIKON D50
Lens Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro (A09)
Aperture 5.6
Exposure time 1/200
Focus length 28.0 mm
ISO 200