Welcome Back From Afghanistan

An American flag banner in the front yard of a house on West Main Street in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The banner has a photo of army veteran Laura Bonano and the message, Welcome Home From Afghanistan Laura.

American flag banner that says Welcome Back From Afghanistan Laura.
Magnified details of the banner

The banner says: “Welcome Back From Afghanistan Laura.” The U.S. Army soldier on the banner is Laura Bonano, and her Welcome Home sign is in front of a house on West Main Street, which runs through a working-class neighborhood just west of downtown, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

Lonely Tree On Lima Road #9

A lone tree surrounded by evergreen bushes in the middle of a rural Indiana cornfield in winter.
I have photographed this tree many times over a period of twenty years.

This is one of the most perfectly formed trees that I have ever seen. It is in a field along Lima Road (Indiana State Road 3), just north of Hathaway Road, a little south of Huntertown, Indiana.

I have watched it grow bigger and bigger each year for nearly 20 years now. The evergreens that surround the tree’s base were not there back then. I made this photograph on January 8, 2016.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine

A hand painted plywood replica of the Beatles Yellow Submarine in a front yard on Juliette Avenue in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

This handmade plywood replica of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine stands next to a house on the east side of Juliette Avenue, south of Hale Avenue, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was not a thing I would expect to find in this working-class neighborhood, which leans more redneck than hippie.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

Wildwood Liquors

The closed Wildwood Liquors store on Broadway in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Wildwood Liquors closed a few weeks before I photographed it.

Wildwood Liquors closed a few weeks before I made this photograph. The store, located on the corner of Broadway and Wildwood Avenue, was a local legend in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

As long as I can remember, Wildwood was known for its armed employees who shot numerous would-be robbers over the years. The store had a sign on the door warning that robbers would be shot, and every time it happened, it was all over the news. Despite the store’s notoriety, it was still robbed fairly often. Criminals are not the smartest people in the world!

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

The Well At Fremont Baptist Church

A three story brick storefront building with a fire escape on the front facade and arched windows, on Toledo Street in the small town of Fremont, Indiana. The first floor is The Well At Fremont, a storefront church.

This old brick building is on Toledo Street, the “Main Street” of the small town of Fremont, Indiana. The fire escape on the front makes it look like something taken from a large city and dropped into the small town, where it looks out of place.

The first floor is home to a storefront church, The Well At Fremont Baptist Church. The sign on the door has the name of the church and the pastor, Carl Esque.

Confusingly, the lettering on the door’s window says “Brick House.” I originally thought it was the name of the building, but research showed that The Brick House was the name of another storefront church that occupied the space before The Well At Fremont.

At the top of the building’s front facade is a limestone block with the linked-ring logo of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Organizations like the Odd Fellows and Freemasons built many interesting buildings like this one in Indiana’s small towns, though many are no longer used by the groups that built them.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

Home of the Smiley Face

The yellow smiley face water tower in the small town of Ashley, Indiana. A playground stands in front of the water tower in Memorial Park.
The Smiley Face water tower in Memorial Park in the small town of Ashley, Indiana.

This smiley face water tower stands in Memorial Park in the small town of Ashley, Indiana. The town is very proud of it; The signs on the edge of town, and the town’s website, have a picture of the water tower and the slogan: “Home of the Smiley Face.”

A lot of midwestern small towns have happy faces painted on their water towers, though not all of them are the traditional smiley face yellow.

Ashley is on the northern edge of Dekalb County, with a small portion jutting up into Steuben County. It adjoins the smaller Steuben County town of Hudson, and the twinned towns are often referred to as Ashley-Hudson.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

The Town Clock in Hudson, Indiana

An old-fashioned street clock stands on the sidewalk in front of the post office on Main Street in the small town of Hudson, Indiana. The name of the town is painted above the clock face.

This is the town clock on Main Street in the small town of Hudson, Indiana. A lot of Indiana’s small towns have clocks like this one, usually on the town’s “Main Street” or in front of the courthouse if the town is a county seat.

Despite its aged appearance, the clock in Hudson runs and keeps accurate time.

Hudson is a very small town on the southern edge of Steuben County. It adjoins the larger town of Ashley, and the paired towns are often referred to as “Ashley-Hudson.” While Ashley is still a pretty healthy town, Hudson has few functioning businesses. Most of the Main Street storefronts are vacant, including the two visible in this photograph.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

House in Fremont, Indiana

An American flag hanging vertically on the front of a small house, behind a metal patio chair, in the small town of Fremont, Indiana.

I photographed this house last Friday in the small town of Fremont, Indiana. Fremont is in Steuben County, in the extreme northeast corner of both the county and the state of Indiana, very close to the Michigan and Ohio state lines.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

Main Street in Hudson, Indiana

Vacant storefronts surround the post office on Main Street in the small town of Hudson, Indiana. A street clock stands on the sidewalk in front of the post office.

This is Main Street in the small town of Hudson, Indiana. The tiny post office is surrounded by vacant storefronts, and a beautiful old street clock stands on the sidewalk in front of the post office.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.

Main Street Storefront in Hudson, Indiana

A Main Street brick storefront with a traffic light hanging over the entrance in the small town of Hudson, Indiana. The door on the second floor of the building opens to a long drop to the sidewalk below.

This storefront is on Main Street in the small town of Hudson, Indiana. All of the storefronts in Hudson were vacant except this one, the post office, and a bar. This one was closed when I was there on a Tuesday morning, and I don’t know if it is still in business.

A bumper sticker on the front door says: “Proud Steuben County Democrat.” That’s a bold thing to say in Indiana, which is solidly Republican outside the large cities.

Judging from the stuff I could see through the front windows, this place is or was an antique shop. The traffic light over the door is the sort of thing that you see as an attention-getter on many antique stores in Indiana.

The second-floor door leading to a long fall to a hard sidewalk is something I have seen on a lot of old Main Street commercial buildings in small towns. I imagine that they must have had balconies to walk out on to when they were built. I wonder why they’re gone now.

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©2016 Christopher Crawford. Please do not use my photos without permission.