Friday, July 24, 2009

A Touch of Small Town America Charm . . . . . .

This time last week, Lee and I were still in Kansas, on one of our trips back to my home town of Abilene, to visit family.

Born and raised in
Abilene, I spent my first eighteen years there, before I went off to school. And though I’ve now lived in Utah for many more years than I lived in Kansas, images of this small midwestern town are indelibly etched in my mind.

Lee and I have been making the trip from Salt Lake City to Abilene twice a year for over twenty years, and during this time, Abilene really hasn’t changed very much. It’s still a quiet little town with a strong sense of community.

There are summer band concerts in the park, church ice cream socials, sidewalk sales sponsored by the handful of local merchants, home tours and garden walks, and various other community events throughout the year.

All those years ago when I lived in Kansas, growing up in the country a few miles outside of Abilene, I pretty much took my surroundings for granted. But over the past years of Lee’s and my travels back to my home, I think we have both begun to appreciate how truly unique and memorable this little midwestern town is, particularly if one just takes the time to look.

And that’s one of the things that Lee and I did last week. In between visiting with friends and family, and with camera/s in hand, we tried to keep our eyes open for local scenes that typify my little home town of Abilene, Kansas. I’m happy to say that we managed to snap a few photos which I think do just that . . . . . .And I wanted to share some of those with you, my friends and fellow Bloggers.

I hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. . . . . . .

(And once again, you can click on any of the photos for a full sized image.)

The scene below is of Mud Creek, which runs north and south through town. The little bridge in the distance crosses Third Street, the main east-west street. Most of the time, Mud Creek is completely dry. But this year, even in July, the creek bed was filled with water and the banks were lush and green, as a result of unusually heavy amounts of rain.

In some of our more recent trips back to Abilene, Lee and I have actually seen a Blue Heron perched atop an old log near the lower banks of Mud Creek.

And this is Third Street . . . tree lined with hundred year-old deciduous trees of varying types.

One of my personal favorites about Abilene, is the wide array of wonderfully unique Victorian style homes. . . most are nicely restored. And many are scattered along Third Street.

The sign out in front of this lovely multi-story home is for the local Garden Tour, of which its grounds are part.

And here is another Victorian style home on Third Street that has been converted into a Bed and Breakfast, the Abilene Victorian Inn. Lee and I have never stayed there, but one day we may (IF they have wi-fi!).

I love how these tall Echinacea leaned over the sidewalk. These were planted on the outside of the fence alongside one of the old homes on Third Street.

And this lovely cottage garden was also something we happened upon, just beside the sidewalk leading to the Abilene city park.
Here is the Lebold Mansion, located in West First Street in Abilene, and it has the distinction of being the oldest house in Abilene. The current owners of this restored historic home offer daily guided tours for a nominal fee. Lee and I have been through it twice, and it's well worth the time!

This is another historic building in the older part of town. . .It's up for sale now, but its history includes being a grocery store, and later I think an apartment building.

Thursday evenings in Abilene during the summer are Band Concert nights. And my mother has always loved going to the band concerts. So we took her last Thursday, which happened to be the last band concert of the season.

The concerts are performed by the Abilene Municipal Band, pulling its members from several of the small surrounding towns. And the members can range in age from high school students to retirees!

The band concerts are held in the Abilene city park, and it's quite the community event. Some folks park their cars around the band shell and just roll down their windows to listen to the music, honking their horns at the end of each piece, for applause. Others grab a seat on one of the metal benches in front, for a better view. And yet others (like Lee and me) stroll around the beautiful park gardens and admire the flowers (taking pictures all the way) while we enjoy the music.

Thanks once again for visiting my blog!

And until we meet again . . . . May you always keep your sense of new discovery and wonder.


Kori said...

WOW...thanks for sharing those pictures. They are beautiful. That really sounds like a town I belong in!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures and architecture. Don't you love small towns.

The Bird's Staff said...

Reminds me of the village where I grew up...small town America is the place I want to be. Thank you ~ lovely!

Budrow Wilson Spain said...

Thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts of your home town. I really thought there weren't any left.

Jane said...

Hi Jan,
Abilene really reminds me of Dubuque. I can't believe how similar it appears. Lovely blog and photos....see you in a few days!

Oz Girl said...

Great pis Jan! I recognize quite a few places... hubby has taken me back in August '08 for the rodeo, and we went back last Christmas too. When I mentioned you and your sister's names to him, he remembered your maiden name very well. He said your mom and his were friends. His mom's name was Genevieve. His sister, who is on FB as I mentioned last night, would have gone by Martha Garten back then I believe). Look her up on FB - Martha Jane Boyce.

I forwarded your blog post link to him and I'm sure he'll take a look this morning when he gets up - he most likely will recognize every single picture you posted!

Have a wonderful Friday! :)

Holly said...

The Pink house with the flag is ours! Wow I was looking for info on the city band to send friends as I am in it this year (we are an active duty military family and have been here 3 years) and stumbled on your blog. Glad the yard was mowed and it was before we were replacing the porch decking! :)