Sunday, April 8, 2018
Back in the early 80's, when I was working for VW, my host on my first visit to Wolfsburg made a point of showing me around. We had a drink at the Alter Wolf, an inn and pub that was a postal and customs house in the 1700's. We drove by the castle that was the genesis of the town. And we drove out into the country to view the Iron Curtain between East and West Germany. We visited a small village, similar to the one in the photo above, that had been split by the divide, complete with fences, wall, and machine gun towers. It was a pretty scary and stark image. My host told me of the families that had been divided along with the town. Forty years on at that time, generations had grown up not knowing their family members living only meters away.
Nothing as extreme as the Iron Curtain, but I was recently traveling back roads in eastern Ohio and ran across a village divided. The village that was built around the junction of 4 small creeks. It has been a hard winter and the bridge through the center of town was damaged and closed by the creek. It wasn't a complete washout, you could still probably walk across, but otherwise it is like two separate villages. Depending on weather, first responders like ambulance and fire have a 30 mile detour to get to the other side of town.
Ohio road officials know that they have to fix this one, but they don't have a contractor willing to do the job at the moment, so they don't know when it will be fixed. That got me thinking about how small town and country infrastructure is being neglected and underfunded. It's creating ghost towns and defacto iron curtains, like this bridge job. Sure, lot of people are moving into cities, but we should be able to support the small places too. I just don't want us to end up with a city like the one in Logan's Run.