The once-bustling town of Renwick, Iowa, has lost many businesses as its population declined. But when its sole bar closed this year, a group of friends pooled their money to repair and reopen the place as the Blue Moose Saloon.
It was an impressive achievement, and one that is becoming more common as population continues to trickle away from rural America.
Residents of more small towns are scrambling to hold onto places where people can still get together. Some are pooling their money to save bars, groceries and cafes. Others are creating co-ops or seeking private or government grants.
Towns in North Dakota and Minnesota have taken up such efforts. In the village of Decatur, Nebraska, a dozen people put up money when the Green Lantern Steakhouse burned down.