The Charm of SmallTown, USA

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado CRE# 40005863

bankI recently went to my husband's hometown of Ellsworth, Kansas from Denver, Colorado and was reminded of the quaintness and charm of small towns in the United States.  The 400 mile drive across Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas was anything but memorable, but the town itself held some charm for me and reminded me that there are people out there living a much simpler life than I.


Ellsworth was formed in 1864 and was a bustling cattle town until the 1880's.  Lawman, Wyatt Earp even served in Ellsworth, Kansas during his career. 


Today, with a population of 2,965, the largest employer in Ellsworth is the Kansas State Ellsworth Correctional Facility which is prominently displayed as you exit I-70 by the razor sharp fences surrounding the facility. 


ellsworthStill, there is only one stop light in the entire town and most of the activity takes place on Main Street.  There is not a Starbucks or a McDonald's.  In fact, there is only one "café" on Main Street where many residents enjoy lunch and dinner.  I was amazed at the prices at Payden's Café.  A cheeseburger and fries for $4.00.  It was like stepping into the twilight zone.  And the food is actually very good!  While enjoying our lunch, people that my husband went to school with over 40 years earlier came by to visit and "catch up".


All along Main Street, the town has added interesting points of interest.  Near the cowboy hat store, there is an iron cowboy silhouette with his head bowed.  At first glance, it is hard to tell if this is a real person or not.  Since he didn't flinch while I took his picture, we will assume he wasn't alive. cowboy


The architecture of the buildings is amazing. Instead of another glass building which leaves you feeling cold and "nothing", their bank is an old building which they have preserved for years.


I'm not sure if I can live without Starbuck's, but it was definitely refreshing to visit the small town and slow my pace just a bit.  I found myself not looking at my watch or my cell phone.  Cell phone coverage was spotty at best, so there was no need to get crazy about anything. 


If you are ever driving through Kansas on the endless miles of I70, it might be worth pulling off long enough to take in some of the charm of Ellsworth before you hurry on to your destination.

hat sign

Comments (6)

Judith Parker
ProStead Realty - Charlotte, NC
CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC

Hi Belinda, Ellsworth sounds like such a small charming town.  You must have felt like you stepped back in time.  I am glad you took time to just unwind and enjoy!

Jan 19, 2011 12:08 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I hope your father-in-law is better, and sure he appreciated your visit!     Glad you got back before snow hampered the road conditions!

Jan 19, 2011 01:13 PM
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Thanks Judith and Joan.  It was a hairy drive home.  Hit an ice storm about 30 miles out of town.  Crazy Kansas weather.

Jan 20, 2011 02:41 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Looks like a very nice town where everybody knows everybody.

 The colors of winter in Maryland. Life is good!

Jan 20, 2011 03:30 AM
Joyce Godwin, Realtor, CRS
RE/MAX Elite Properties; Serving Cypress, Spring, Tomball, NW Houston - Houston, TX
RE/MAX Elite Properties

Hi Belinda, Isn't it refreshing!?   I have an aunt who lives in Canyon, TX and I love to go visit her -- it's the same kind of experience you describe about Ellsworth.  Although Canyon is larger, you still get that small town feeling.  It's really a nice change of pace.

Jan 20, 2011 07:32 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hi Belinda,  Next time thru Kansas, I will trey to take some time and stop off there, sounds interesting

Jan 21, 2011 12:20 PM