Rural Indiana is dotted with many hundreds of small towns. Some are tiny crossroads with only a few houses and a business or two, and some are small cities with twenty or thirty thousand residents.
Many of the larger ones, like Wabash and Huntington, are thriving, prosperous towns. Others have been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs and the exodus of young people forced to move to the cities for any chance of a good job.
Compared to Indiana's major cities, many of the small towns here have maintained a uniqueness of culture and healthy small businesses that have not been crushed by the big-box stores and commercialism that dominate economic life in the cities and larger towns. The small towns tend to be more religious, sometimes to an extreme degree, and less racially diverse. At the same time, many have made a great effort to attract creative people and to support the arts.
These photographs are my documentation of the interesting people, businesses, and places in the Hoosier State's small towns. Most of them are near Fort Wayne, Indiana's second largest city (and my hometown).
The towns of northeast Indiana are closely tied to Fort Wayne, economically and culturally. Many of their residents commute to the city for work, and many people from Fort Wayne have moved to places like Roanoke and Bluffton seeking a quieter life with less worry about crime and other big-city social problems.