Took a turn around the square just after dark Sunday evening to admire the lights and got to thinking about what a different place it is now than, say, just four years ago.
Here's the view last evening through the Larry Clark Memorial Gazebo toward the northeast corner, Piper's on the left, Charitone on the right.
That big neon "Hotel Charitone" sign sprang to life for the first time in many years on the night after Thanksgiving, 2013, and tenants started moving in to new apartments on the upper floors on Jan. 1, 2014. The Market Grille opened later that year.
For many years before that, the Charitone was a gutted and boarded up hulk with an uncertain future.
Now this is the liveliest corner of the square almost any time of the year, an effect enhanced by the addition of new Upper Level Housing initiative apartments upstairs over Piper's and in the Iowa Realty Building, just south of the hotel.
Over on the northwest corner, I've been admiring the seasonal decorations installed by the staff at Chariton Vision Center. Those eight big windows facing the square had been blocked for many years, but opened their eyes this year as part of the historic district's Facade Improvement Initiative.
Now, holiday lights are shining forth from both levels of this grand old building.
And presiding over it all is the courthouse clock, reinstalled after restoration and set to running again just this fall.
I'd say we've got a lot to celebrate as Christmas approaches.