Spring Break ’85

My first car (1957 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan), which we successfully drove down to the Florida Keys. Almost made it all the way home, but near Daleville, Indiana, the 28-year-old generator mounting bracket decided to cash out, leaving the generator dangling by its wires and scraping the highway.

After a long, cold walk down the shoulder of the interstate, we entered a truck stop and, luckily, found a guy at the lunch counter who owned a tow truck and a nearby welding shop. Once he had finished his meal, we were off to get the stranded Fairlane and haul it to K & S. He made a replacement bracket and welded it in place, finishing just before sundown (hard to see in this exposure, but he’s there, bent over the right fender). Don’t remember his name…may have started with a K or an S.

Kodak Ektachrome 35mm film

Stinesville 1984

Working on assignments for my college photography courses was a great excuse to tour the country roads and small towns of southern Indiana in my ’57 Ford Fairlane. I shot plenty of Kodak Tri-X in the process—the first rolls of film I ever developed by hand.

Not long ago, while viewing those contact sheets for the first time in many years, I was trying to determine exactly which towns I had photographed, as I had made no notes. In one frame, I found signs containing the name Gosport; after that, shots of a bridge and a river. Moving chronologically through the roll, and with the help of Google Maps, I learned that I had gone south out of Gosport and the next town I came to was Stinesville. Google Street View confirmed it.

For decades, these photos existed only on the contact sheet. Recently, I ran some of the old negatives through my film scanner, and after enlarging the images on my monitor, I found details that I had never noticed before, such as the dog starting across the street at the bottom of the hill in the photo above.

The old buildings on Main Street are still standing, although the cars in the Google imagery are certainly different from the ones seen here.

If you look at Railroad Street (below) in Stinesville today, you’ll notice that the train tracks and telegraph poles have all been removed…

Another detail that I had never noticed prior to scanning the negatives: two kids walking near the base of the pine tree by the Stinesville Baptist Church. Neither the church nor the tree are standing there today…

(Click on any photo to bring up a larger version in a new tab.)

1984
Stinesville, Indiana
Kodak Tri-X 35mm film

Lily

By now, you’re well aware that I love to explore the out-of-the-way places in the middle part of this continent. The great thing is that, in spite of doing this for more than 25 years, there are so many thousands of miles of roads out here that no two trips are identical; each journey is filled with discovery and its own brand of satisfaction.

Even so, I have a long list of favorite places—highways, dirt roads, scenic vistas, natural formations—that I’ll happily visit again and again whenever I happen to be in the vicinity. The list includes several tiny prairie towns that, for one reason or another, always bring a smile to my heart.

Lily, South Dakota has been on that list for many years.