Monday, March 3, 2008

Dan Barry's spotlight is again on rural America, this time Bill, Wyoming

Dan Barry's story in today's NYT, like so many in his "This Land" series, takes us to a rural locale. This one is a wide spot in the road (which happens also to be a wide spot by the railroad tracks) called Bill, Wyoming. He tells of recent changes there associated with Bill being a crew changing station for the Union Pacific railway company. Thanks to a deal between Union Pacific and a lodging company, Bill now has a hotel and diner.

The story is worth a read to learn about a place you've likely never thought about existing, and to enjoy Barry's marvelous use of language, like this:

For decades this speck of a place called Bill had one, two or five residents, depending on whether you counted pets. But recent developments have increased the population to at least 11, so that now Bill is more a dot than a speck, and could be justified if one day it started to call itself William.

In mid-December those developments appeared like some Christmas mirage: a 112-room hotel and a 24-hour diner. Here. In Bill. Amid the swallowing nothingness of grasslands, where all that moves are the wind, the antelope, the cars speeding to someplace else — and those ever-slithering trains.

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