Humboldt, Kansas City Business Journal, is seeing rapid development, thanks in large part to the success of B&W Trailer Hitches, the generosity of its founder, Joe Works, and a group of locals calling themselves A Bolder Humboldt.


Humboldt, Kansas

Kansas City Business Journal, Sometimes when Cole Herder has a free moment. In addition He likes to get up from behind his cluttered desk at Humboldt City Hall and stand by the bank of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the town square. He remembers what the view once was. A city hanging by its nails, a downtown with half its teeth knocked out, a decaying hotel whose only guests were ghosts.

How things change. These days, downtown Humboldt is tingling with so many projects and new businesses that Herder. The city administrator, struggles to keep track of everything. On a recent afternoon. In addition, Herder gazed out onto his rapidly revitalizing hometown. Hands in his pockets, sunlight pouring in through the glass. “The things that have occurred in this town,” he said, “I could never have dreamed of it.” Get unlimited digital access

A music venue. A brewery. A book shop. A cocktail bar. A honky-tonk bar. A golf-simulator bar. A five-room luxury hotel. A fitness center. A gift shop. A coffee shop. A confectionery. All have opened in recent years or are coming soon to this southeast Kansas town of 2,000. In addition,  Most of these ambitious enterprises are organized under a civic group called A Bolder Humboldt. Which formed about six years ago, said Paul Cloutier, one of the group’s founding members. “I’ve lived in many big cities, and the thing I loved about them was that they had complete neighborhoods. With a grocery store and dry cleaners and a bar and little restaurants,” Cloutier said. “Which is basically what a small town is, or used to be. So our model here is sort of, let’s build the actual small town that people think small towns are. Today’s top headlines

Bold Ideas – Kansas City Business Journal

First things is first. How did Humboldt, Kansas City Business Journal — a place with one stoplight and an annual Bible parade and an old sign that points you four blocks to a museum honoring the birthplace of a man you’ve never heard of — end up alongside Kyoto, Monaco, and the Red River Valley of Vietnam on the New York Times’ list of 52 Places to Visit in 2022? Short answer: It never hurts to know somebody who works at The New York Times.

“In 2021, we invited photographers from all over the country to come to Humboldt for a conference,” said Cloutier, who in a previous life was the publisher of JPG. In addition, A photography magazine. “One of them works for the Times, and she spent several days photographing the town. And my understanding is that when they were compiling the 2022 list, they were thinking about how travel should be different coming out of the pandemic. And what we were doing here, I think, seemed different.” That photographer, Gabriela Herman, whose husband then worked for the Times, wrote that Humboldt was “an unexpected and affordable oasis of cool enclosed by fields of wheat and soybeans”; a subhead in the story compared Humboldt to Marfa, the west Texas art outpost.

It was not the first time the national press took note of Humboldt. NBC News came to town in 2009. Aat the height of the recession, to highlight a feel-good story unfolding out of B&W Trailer Hitches, Humboldt’s largest employer. Like other businesses, B&W had hit a downturn. Kansas City Business Journal.


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Rob Bingaman’s first trip to Humboldt was back in 2012. He had never met Josh Works in person, but he knew him through Instagram — like Works. Bingaman was an early adopter of the app. “I put out on Instagram that I was trying to do this project, and I needed special equipment to make it happen,” Bingaman said recently. “And Josh messaged me — he was traveling the country somewhere — and said, ‘I’m not there right now, but I have an unboxed iMac at my place, and you can have it. The door’s unlocked.’ So I followed his directions to Humboldt, walked upstairs into this empty house, and took his computer. I had never met this guy in my life. So in return, I made him a painting of his Airstream trailer.”

Moreover, After about 15 years in Kansas City Business Journal, Bingaman said he needed a change of pace. In addition, The plan was to move to New York. In December 2021, he came to Humboldt, ostensibly to finish work on a video project documenting A Bolder Humboldt’s work in the town. Instead, he ended up sticking around. He keeps an art studio in a former church a block off the town square and spends a lot of time equine his bike around the Kansas City Business Journal countryside. He’s thinking about buying a house. “My friends in New York like to say, ‘Anybody can live here. You have to choose what you’re going to have and not have,’”

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When Josh Works was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, Humboldt held an annual event called Water Wars. In addition, They’d close down the town square for a day and turn it into a water park full of Super soakers, slip-and-slides, and water balloon launchers. “It was this delightful memory I’ve always carried with me, something that I felt could only exist in a small town like ours,” Works said. Works helped revive Water Wars in 2018, and after a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, it returns on Aug. 13. If all goes according to plan, several long-planned Humboldt attractions will finally be up and running. That includes the Bailey Hotel, Perrenoud’s Cocktail Bar and, The Hitching Post, Cloutier’s bar. “Our whole approach here has been to move aggressively with many projects,” Works said.