There's something about a city's downtown. It's the easiest way to get a snapshot of what the town is, who lives there and what values exist. I see a dead downtown as evidence of a dead, or dying town. It's also the place easiest to find visible history.
So a month or so ago we took a couple hours to walk around downtown Fairfield, Illinois. How did it measure up?
Where: Southern Illinois (Google Map)
County: Wayne (County Seat)
Incorporated: ???? (probably early-to-mid 1800s)
Layout: Parallel one-way main streets; business district between and alongside; courthouse square on one side; old neighborhoods clustered around downtown; sprawl close to the west
|Wayne County Courthouse|
Here's some more of what we found...
|1930s WPA-style high school, still in use, unlike the one on my header image|
|I shot into the sun like a moron, but you can see most of a ghost sign here|
|Alley with a little shed at the end|
|Brick courthouse square! Always charming, and a rarity|
We also saw some great houses:
|Oddball craftsman with a gigantic dormer...and shooting into the sun again|
|Giant Queen Anne with lots of windows and a little tower|
|Another Queen Anne with a crazy double porch and a 3-story tower|
|You can see where the old sign would have been at the wing tip|
I liked Fairfield a lot. It had the character of a struggling small town but with enough heart to cling onto its identity. I hope to go back again.
I'll leave with a couple parting shots:
|another MAIN ST.|