Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Bygone times in a town of dreams
Greg Holmes was taken by the charm of Greensburg, Kansas, when he visited last year. Before it was wiped out by a tornado May 4, the town was a smorgasboard of Americana. From the charming buckaroo smiling down over The Cowboy Supply down to the deepest depths of the city's famed well, Greensburg seemed to be the kind of small town in which most people can only dream about living. The Hunter Drug Store had an old-fashioned soda fountain and a well-known soda jerk to make use of it. But the storm left the town flattened down to a tangled mess of debris.

Holmes returned May 9 with his camera ready to capture the destruction of the town's beloved landmarks, and he found much to see. Identifiable remains of the things he'd seen before were everywhere, and he pieced together a few striking sets of photos showing the town before and after the tornado hit. (View a gallery of his before-and-after photos)

He then sent these photos to I-Report and posted them on his personal blog, using the power of personal experience and citizen journalism to show how the storm changed a part of our world forever. (View I-Reporters' tornado damage photos)

It wasn't his first submission to CNN. Several months ago, during a winter storm, his offbeat photo of an icicle hanging off the nose of a fiberglass storefront cow caught our attention. But now he's told a major story in a way that might not otherwise be told. Individuals often have perspectives and resources that give them the unique ability to give the rest of the world an on-the-ground look at what they've seen, and Holmes is a perfect example. By sending these photos and telling his story, he ensures that the spirit of this destroyed town will live forever and perhaps find a life anew somewhere else.

What do you think of Holmes' storytelling? Where is your favorite slice of Americana? Comment below and speak your mind.
I was born and raised in Greensburg,KS. The devestation was overwelming when I was able to see it the monday following as I was helping some of my family that still lived there. I think Holmes does a fantastic job of telling about Greensburg. I hope he continues to keep greensburg on the net and in our minds.
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