In my previous blog post, I spent some time listing other cities that I have visited in my lifetime, and in comparison to each of these cities, I wrote that I would rather live in Hettinger, North Dakota. For each of these other cities, it’s not just a matter of them having higher crime, worse traffic, or more expensive housing, that causes me to say that I would rather live in Hettinger. There are bits and pieces of these other cities that I miss, that I see in Hettinger.
The pictures and videos that I included in my previous blog post, that were taken on the south side of Hettinger, I hoped to show how much open space there still is, that there has been no hurry to develop everything. What I have been looking forward to the most, is showing the houses in downtown Hettinger. It is not so much that time has passed Hettinger by, it is that Hettinger has moved at its own, slow, peaceful pace.
I like that the railroad yard is still in use in downtown Hettinger, just the same as it was 120 years ago. Many of the same buildings are there from the 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s. Unlike most other cities in the U.S., the downtown in Hettinger never became unpopular, abandoned, and allowed to decay. There never was a new “Mall”, shopping center, private community, gated community, or exclusive community that shone bright at one time, but later became outdated and undesirable.
Here are some pictures and a video of downtown, but these are all still on the south side of Hettinger:
I had driven to Hettinger this Sunday afternoon to take photographs of downtown Hettinger while most of the businesses were closed, to avoid photographing people and vehicles that might be passing by. Hettinger has a population of about 1,100 people currently, there are very few people downtown on Saturday and Sunday afternoon & evening.
However, the few people that did pass by, all had great trepidation and concern that I was photographing downtown, and had to immediately come to a stop in the street, block my photograph, then drive around the block and come back again. The women folk had to get on the phone and follow me, “I don’t know what he’s doing, he’s taking more photographs now.”
I was prepared to explain to people what I was doing, why I was taking photographs, asking them to please look on their phone for the article, “An Appreciation For Hettinger North Dakota, Part I”. But I began to get the feeling that voluntarily explaining what I was doing, would give each of these people the impression that I needed their permission. Instead, I began to think of other things to say, “Yeah, all of this right here is going to have to come down.”
In preparation for additional photography, I spoke to the Adams County Sheriff about what I am doing, and I said that I would call his office ahead of time prior to my next visit, because I am expecting him to receive complaint calls from residents.