I love to travel to small rural towns and out of the way places. Which is not a long stretch, our family Bed & Breakfast is a bit out of the way to most folks. We are on a hill in the middle of grass country on Open Range. We have a view.
So I had the chance yesterday to go thru a favorite town called Anthony. This is one of those rural towns that has fought the declines and set backs and are coming thru with a great attitude. Despite a major fire that burnt half a block of historic buildings and operating businesses, they are working hard to keep the small town atmosphere and still grow at the same time.
They are taking advantage of the recent boom in oil and gas horizontal drilling. As I came into town from the north I was amazed at all the growth and commotion. I also had my heart broken. I love drive in movies and Kansas is down to only five operating theaters. The old Star Vue Drive Inn has been abandoned for quite sometime. I had always hoped that it could be renovated and saved. But, alas, it is half down now and construction equipment is parked there for rent.
I have been following the renovation of the big theater downtown and I am so glad they are saving it. The downtown of Anthony is a bee hive of activity and there are many great little businesses there. It is worth a day trip to go there. There is a nice little museum and a piece of the Twin Towers as a 9-11 monument. Firefighters from Anthony went back to help in the aftermath of the attack. They have struck up a great relationship with the FDNY.
I also picked up a local paper ( The Anthony Republican) to see what was going on in town. There amidst the news of all the good things going on was my second broken heart. For 100 years Anthony was home to Anthony Downs. One of the annual places that horse and dog racing took place. I have a lot of good memories of my younger days going to the races with the family. I also went with a horse trainer friend once and walked the horse after the race cooling him down. They closed it down ending a hundred year run. It is being sold now for industrial development. You always hope that these iconic pieces of a communities heritage can be revived. But it is not to be.
My mom and a friend went shopping not long ago and had a wonderful time in Anthony. The friendliness and great attitude of everyone they came in contact with was very well recieved. They came home bubbling about the fun day. And they left enough money behind that there were some smiles there too.
If you want to find great places like Anthony, in Kansas, go to THE KANSAS SAMPLER FOUNDATION website and start exploring. In other states tourism and commerce departments have a lot of this type of information. You'd think they would learn and create their own Sampler.
Well William Allen White said "that anything new and inovative starts in Kansas". If that is not an exact quote it is close. Lets bring it up to date. Anything good starts in Kansas and the bad starts on the coasts and gets here in ten years.