A Town of Doers Works Together to Preserve Their Past and Plan Their Future

Residents and businesses in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania have adopted a mantra: if it’s a community problem, it’s their problem too.


A Remarkable Woman Builds a Remarkable Library

This is the story of how a late-1800s free public library built by Amelia S. Givin in Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania continues to bring the region together today.


How Powerful Stories Are Rebuilding a Church

This is the story of Elias Van Buren Parker and how today’s telling of his story has the power to pull the town of Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania from its early glory days, then decline, back to new days of glory.


Revitalizing a community by focusing on 'quality of life'

Galesburg residents are redefining the heart and soul of the town by bringing their unique history and heritage to the fore.


The Local Tavern: The Tradition Continues at Max Taps-Centennial

Entrepreneurship. Gatherings of friends and colleagues. Industry leadership. Great American traditions. These are prime ingredients of successful local community taprooms. And there's a new one in Centennial, Colorado building community.


Renewing the call for a Marshall Plan for America

Seven decades ago, a plan to rebuild fragile, wounded countries swept across Western Europe. That idea should serve as a blueprint for American towns and cities and regions left behind today, argues Michael Cooper.


The Past, the Future, the Present: Updates from Coast to Coast

A Fellow named, college services goes big, and scenes from a Day of Enlightened Living -- here are three updates on stories we've been following on this site over the years.


Max Taps Supports Marshall Fire Victims

In the wake of one of the costliest fires in U.S. history, a local establishment is leading a local response effort to support those in need.


The Quiet Competence That Makes the Country Run

Being "inside the clouds" is stressful. But when you break into the clear, you see things you might not have noticed before. A view of the "soft skills" part of America's human infrastructure, and their difference from those in China and elsewhere.


What Could Go Right?

How do global changes affect us on the local level, and vice versa?


In Honor of Charly Jupiter Hamilton

A person who became the soul of his community, explains his vision—in art, and in memorable words.


They lost their local paper. So they created a new one--during the pandemic.

A local paper with a longer history than its home state suddenly shut its doors, for good, during the pandemic. How an entire community willed a new publication into existence--and avoided becoming one more American "news desert."

Civic Life

Local Efforts in a Time of Extreme Global Stress

The theme in this “Our Towns” space has been, and remains, the sources of vitality, practicality, generosity, and renewal in local-level America, despite bitter polarization in national-level politics. The series began almost seven years ago, when smaller communities across the United States were still trying to rebuild their economies after the financial collapse of 2008 and beyond. […]

Economic & Business Development

The University of Dayton Is Reinventing Town-Gown Relations

Archway Entrance for the University of Dayton, in Ohio. “The city is in our name,” says the university’s president. “It’s our future.” (Courtesy of the University of Dayton) It’s time for another report on Dayton, Ohio, subject of this introduction last month. A century ago, Dayton was known mainly for the things it created, from the Wright Brothers’ […]

Economic & Business Development

The Modern Women of Rural America

Read the story in The Atlantic here. The author’s sister (on lap), mother (left), great-aunt (rear), and great-grandmother in rural Minnesota, circa 1947 (Courtesy of Susan Zerad Garau) Along the way of our reporting for American Futures and Our Towns, I ran into the stories of some remarkable women—living and dead. Eliza Tibbets, who planted the first navel oranges in […]

Local Institutions

In Memphis, A Lab Experiment for Local News

Read the story in The Atlantic  here. Justin Rushing, advertising director of the online news site The Daily Memphian Courtesy of Patrick Lantrip / The Daily Memphian It’s time for another look at new financial, editorial, and technological models for local journalism. You’ll find previous entries at these links: from Mississippi; from Maine; from Massachusetts; from Southern California and the San Francisco Bay […]