January is a rather ‘bleak’ month for landscape photography in the MidWest of the United States when there is no snow to speak of, but, on Saturday, 19 January 2013, I set off in search of opportunities just south of Kansas City and Overland Park, Kansas. Nothing was planned beyond thinking that I would drive south on Holmes Road out of Kansas City in Missouri and at some point turn right to traverse East/West across part of Kansas.
On reaching the junction with Missouri Highway Y I found this grain silo:
this was the clue to take a right, through Cleveland and into Kansas. You will see that a new use for an old building is one of the themes in this blog.
This part of Kansas is a mixture of extra-suburban Overland Park – all the East/West roads continue the numbering out from Overland Park – and ‘not-too-prosperous’ rural. I drove west on 247 Street before being forced to move South onto 255 Street to Hillsdale.
Here is a typical view of the countryside:
I found this old school, or was it a church? It looks like a school but there is an adjacent cemetery leading me to question its original use.
Hillsdale, itself, is an interesting small town. It was very quiet when I was there, but it is probably more lively in warmer times serving customers from the nearby Hillsdale State Park. It has a few old shops (mostly up for sale), and a Post Office that you would expect to see in Florida rather than Kansas:
The church that you meet on entering the town has a ‘cute’ rear view:
Nearby there is this ‘fast food’ joint:
I have no idea of what its food is like as it was closed for the winter. However, it started me thinking about developing a photo album of new uses for abandoned banks, sort of a reverse of buildings repossessed by banks – see later in this blog.
I made a quick scoping of Hillsdale State Park but did not take any photos. It would be an attractive place to visit on warmer days. There were waterfowl on the Park’s lake, but they were doing their usual thing of making sure that humans would stay far away unless they had a boat.
Continuing westward onto US Highway 68 there is this old school.
Finally, I have found an instance where an old school building is not only preserved but put to good use – this time as a community hall. I hope that I can find more examples of this in the future.
Onto Ottawa past the Walmart Distribution Center. Be careful if you want to see the downtown to get in the left lane as you approach this rather dominating and ugly grain elevator complex:
as you get no warning of the need to turn left at the junction with US 58. Do not worry if you miss it as you can still will be able to get to the downtown, but it will not be via the most convenient route.
Ottawa’s downtown is quite spread out. The main street has some attractive buildings, but it is difficult to capture the scene as a whole as the street is wide enough to turn ox carts and lined with one or two or three storey buildings. This is typical of towns in this region – they reflect the means of transport used by farmers over 125 years ago.
Ottawa’s Court House (for Franklin County) is quite attractive:
and there is quite a good mexican restaurant where I was standing to take this photo.
Interstate 35 provides a fast route back to Overland Park and Kansas City. I made a detour into Edgerton where I found this inspired re-use of another bank building:
The photo is not good. It was taken into the sun and I did not check it out before leaving. So here is the starting point for my next trip into Kansas.
You can view these photos and a few more taken on this trip at my web site www.johngirt.com I have set this link up using the site’s advanced search feature to load photos added between January 20 and 24, 2013. For good measure, you will also get a couple of photos that I added on those days that obviously do not relate to this trip. Prints, notecards and file downloads of any photo are available.