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Welcome to Burdick, Pop. 60

The biggest threat facing Great Plains small towns like Burdick, Kansas is an out-migration that has been going on for the past 70 years. Learn more about the history of the town of Burdick, the Great Plains and "rural flight."

The New Frontier

Find out about the depopulation of the middle United States in the following articles, multimedia presentations and picture galleries.

Vanishing Point: The Empty Heartland
This New York Times series examines the effects of rural depopulation in and around the Great Plains. There are four articles in the series, plus a multimedia presentation that features images and audio narration from Times reporter, Timothy Egan. (December 2003)

Change of Heartland: Great Plains
This excerpt from the pages of National Geographic magazine points out the demographic shifts in the Great Plains states in the 1990s and includes a link to a wonderful multimedia presentation featuring photographs and audio descriptions of the geography, people and history of the Plains states. (Of particular interest are the "Down But Not Out" and "Empty Nest" sections of the Flash feature.) (May 2004)

Alone on the Range
The Christian Science Monitor completed this four-part series on depopulation in the Great Plains states. The series includes a slideshow of pictures from the new frontier. (February 2003)

The New Continental Divide
Writer Michael Lind poses a solution to the bulging population on the US coasts in Atlantic Monthly magazine. He also lists related articles about population trends and the future of the Great Plains. (January/February 2004)

Homesteading Reborn for a New Generation
This Washington Post article reports on a handful of central Kansas towns that are reviving President Lincoln's economic development idea for the midwest, The Homestead Act. Give land away and they will come. (April 5, 2004)

The New Homestead Act
Senator Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, has proposed a new bill that promises Americans willing to live and work in areas experiencing out-migration support to succeed. (Introduced to the Senate on March 12, 2003)

NPR Weekend Edition: The New Homestead Act
The 1862 Homestead Act provided 160-acre parcels of land to settlers willing to populate the Western United States. With many original homestead towns dying, two senators have proposed new homestead legislation to revive the Great Plains. NPR's David Welna reports from the Capitol. (July 27, 2003)

Slow Death in the Great Plains
The Atlantic Monthly magazine reports that a sizable swath of the country's heartland is undergoing a severe drop in births that, if it continues, could empty many small towns in just one generation. (June 1997)

Frontier House: Frontier Life
The website for the popular PBS show contains a helpful overview of the history of the original frontier movement, including articles about the Homestead Act, frontier housing, the building of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and life on the Plains at the turn of the 20th century. (2004)

Kansas Ghost Towns
This site attempts to chronicle all the ghost towns across America. It's not pretty, but it's interesting to look through. Burdick is included on their list.

 





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