After visiting Fransiscan University of Steubenville yesterday, I drove downtown and explored a bit before hitting Route 7 South along the Ohio River, marking the Ohio and West Virginia boundaries. Downtown Steubenville doesn’t look to be in great shape, although the relatively recent rehabilitation of historic Fort Steuben was compelling. I didn’t realize Dean Martin was born in Steubenville. The American flag is flying at half mast in honor of Sen. John McCain.

So many towns and communities like this in America’s great middle, some on the track of natural reclamation by the countryside they once cut into, and others somewhere between health and sickness, just waiting for the promise of the Information Age and ubiquitous connectivity to breathe new life into the place.