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Inavale: The Town that Went Away
The town of Inavale sits in a valley in south central Nebraska. It survived the dust bowl and two floods that almost wiped the town out.
But can it survive a dwindling population?
Like tumbleweed rolling down an old dirt road, cars glide through Main Street and continue on.
"In its day it was a nice little town, There was grocery store, hardware, lumberyard, couple of filling stations, but it just all went away," said Virgil Deisley. "This happens to be a picture of the Main Street of Inavale looking west during the 30s of the dust storm that was coming through. My Grandma had this."
This is Inavale. It's just a few miles west of Red Cloud on Highway 136.
"It's a very small town," said Ruth Adams.
The population sits at around 100 people, meaning it's not technically a town.
"Somebody just told me that it was declared a ghost town in 1968. And I would have to say that's probably true."
It's the town that went away.
"We lost the hardware and we lost the lumber yard," Jone Potter said.
Jone Potter has lived in Inavale for over 55 years.
"I came in 1947 and my parents Earl and Ruby Morgan bought a little cafe down here on Main Street," said Potter.
She reminisces about the glory days of this antique town.
There was once a hardware store. Now it sits mangled full of broken glass, wood, nails and this a shingle from that building. It's a harsh reality for most of the shops on the main street.
"You didn't see all these crumpled up buildings and stuff; it was a clean little town," said Deisley.
Virgil Deisley owns a farm in Inavale and remembers the buzz of the downtown shops.
So what caused the stores close?
"When they took the school out then you watched the town decline," said Potter.
"When the economics has gone the way it has with farming that that kind of sped up the situation of these small towns losing their populations so quickly. There just wasn't anything to do anymore," said Joe Strickland.
But there are still a few businesses that prosper in the country setting, including Spring Creek Home, an assisted living home built in 1953 by Jone's parents.
"It was built from my folks original home," said Potter.
And if you get thirsty while driving through town, you're in luck.
"Not much here no more, the pop machine, that's the big thing in Inavale now a days," said Deisley.
The soda machine is the only business on the main street, located right off the road as you drive in to town. The closest convenience store is a few miles away. At a $1.25 a pop, this machine adds a little bit of character to this quaint town.
"Not many people can say well the only thing we have in town is an old pop machine but, by golly, we've got one," said Strickland.
And that's Inavale, the town that went away.
"You're not really on the farm but you're not really in town either. So there you have it," Strickland said.
"It's a nice quiet little town and a nice place to live," Deisley said.
"I wouldn't give up the memories I have growing up in Inavale for anything," said Potter.
"Stop at that pop machine and keep us on the map," said Strickland.
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