SMALL-TOWNSTRONG

The story of Overbrook, Kan.

Pundits have been writing America’s small-town obituaries for decades, yet towns hang on for reasons that seem hazy from a distance. So a Kansas City Star reporter spent much of the year in a small Kansas town to see what keeps small towns going in 2013. What he discovered included poultry swaps, volunteer fire fighters and coffee at the BP.

Part 1

The view from Main Street in a small town

Pundits have been writing America’s small-town obituaries for decades, yet towns hang on for reasons that seem hazy from a distance. So a Kansas City Star reporter spent much of the year in a small Kansas town to see what keeps small towns going in 2013. What he discovered included poultry swaps, volunteer fire fighters and coffee at the BP.

Part 2

Buying a small-town business and hanging on for dear life

Nobody gets rich anymore running a business in Overbrook, Kan. Quite often, you struggle and go broke. But one mechanic, arriving on a prayer, is trying to make a go of it.

Part 3

Try raising $400,000 in 4 months in a small town

Overbrook stakes its future on an ambitious library project that could give it what it’s long wanted — a community room and kitchen — if only townspeople can raise a ridiculous amount of money on a short deadline.