Thursday, May 29, 2008

What Happened To Good Old Vermillion?

I moved to Vermillion, South Dakota, in late December of 1977. The university students were home for the holidays and the town seemed very small and slow paced. After Christmas all the students came back and the town became a busier place but still a small town. I left Vermillion in 1988 for fifteen years and returned in 2003. Vermillion had changed for the worse, all in the name of progress. Now the landfill competes with Spirit Mound to be the highest point on the northern horizon. Main Street and Cherry Street have become noon rush hour traffic jams. A Wal-Mart superstore has arrived and the city has honored it with its very own ridiculous traffic light and two strip malls. The once-quaint university is razing historic buildings, constructing new stupid looking mega-million dollar ones, and tearing out trees to build larger and larger parking lots. A large oil refining company is coming to a nearby town with the enthusiastic endorsement from those who will profit from it. Soon I will pack up my family and leave Verhundred forever. I am busy searching for another small college town that hasn’t caved to the pressure of progress and greed and pollution. Perhaps Missouri? Arkansas? Vermillion used to have a wonderful small town quality. Now it has become just another typical urban spawn. Vermillion, I henceforth will only call you Verhundred.

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