Drove through a number of small towns in Ohio this past weekend. It was interesting to note the sometimes profound differences in fortunes comparably-sized communities in the same general region can experience. In many of the hard-bitten towns you could drive along Main Street and see multiple shuttered businesses, but clear signs of former glory still remained. In some cases it'd be the late 19th century ornate Italianate mansions falling into disrepair that remained near the center of town. In other instances it'd be a largely vacant retail center that clearly required more money or population base to support its presence than currently existed.
Echoes of former glory can present themselves in a variety of different ways - perhaps it's simply acres of urban prarie, or maybe it's an 1890 opera house or Masonic lodge that now serves as a second hand clothing store, possibly it's the public library collection that seems to exist above and beyond the community's current station.
What cultural, economic, or other evidence in the built environment have you seen that conveys echoes of former glory in the communities you're familiar with?