Miles Orvell: Main Street in the 21st Century

Travel across the U.S.A., from Maine to California, and sooner or later you’re bound to stop at a new Main Street-inspired mall. Along the way, you may also find yourself driving into a town with an actual historic Main Street that is struggling to assert its relevance in the age of malls and supermalls. After the postwar romance with the mega shopping mall—which drained the vitality out of small towns across the U.S.—Americans are gradually coming back to the idea of the small-scale community embodied in the Main Street model. Continue Reading Miles Orvell: Main Street in the 21st Century

Miles Orvell: From Mayberry to Dogville: The Small Town as Microcosm

Mayberry, Lake Wobegon, Hadleyburg, Dogville—these are extreme representations of the small town and they are in direct conflict with one another. Taken together, they reveal the contradictions of the American twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Continue Reading Miles Orvell: From Mayberry to Dogville: The Small Town as Microcosm