So long Shantytown

The cold has begun to settle back into Shantytown now.  Early we rise to breathe in the frigid air and stir the few embers in the woodstove back to life.  The final weekend of the project was a roaring success.  We naturalized 465 citizens in all and issued too many permits to count.  The Popular Apothecary stocked and dispensed 36 cures for abstract ailments like extreme modern boredom, homesickness, and uncontrollable crying during movies.  We published our zine, Medicine Lake Medicine, a collection of home remedies gathered right here in the Department.  Thank you to the Letterpress Shanty for helping us print the covers!

Here at the end of things, we at the Department feel above all so grateful to the thousands of people who made Shantytown what it is.  To the people who brought us food, firewood, treats, music, muscle, oil lamps, curtains, greens, medicine, help, good cheer and good wishes: we can never thank you enough.  Somehow we never bought a single stick of firewood, our bin magically refilling every week by kindhearted citizens.

To the citizens and visitors who filled out all of our paperwork, we’d like to thank you for sharing your hopes, dreams, drawings and stories of what Shantytown can be.  We believe that documenting is the first step in preservation and proliferation.  We hope that you will remember what you believed was possible in Shantytown and try to make those things happen everywhere else.  Our own hearts and minds are full of the life we believed into existence here on the lake.  We’re leaving with hands dirty with soot and a fair number of burns and scrapes, but traces of our life in Shantytown extend beyond the physical.  We’ve learned that anyone can imagine something more.  Talk with us and you’ll see it in our eyes: we want to know what you’re dreaming of.

A big shout out to all of the AMAZING musicians that performed in the Department.  Sunday’s People’s Revolutionary Jug Band romp was stellar.


The ice never thaws in Shantytown… at least in our imaginations.  So until next time, stay warm, be healthy, mind your permits.


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