cities / towns The Weirdest Small Towns in the United States  

Noah Henry
85.5k votes 21.2k voters 2.6M views 16 items Embed

List Rules Vote up the strangest towns in the United States.

A post on Medium in May 2016 attempted to tackle a seemingly unanswerable question: what's the weirdest town in America? To do this, Lyman Stone used twenty different variables, including what percentage of each city's population was foreign-born, married, working, in the armed forces, etc. He then compared that data to national averages. What he found was that San Jose, CA, is the most bizarre town in the US. But though it may be demographically weird, San Jose doesn't hold a candle to these weird small towns in the United States.

Truth be told, there are thousands of weird US towns that didn't make this list, some of which include Hollywood, Portland, and Providence. The following, however, are notorious for their stark oddity. If you've ever wanted to travel America in search of the silliest, saddest, and most psychopathic of all the states, consider this a travel guide to the weirdest small towns in America.


Centralia is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Weirdest Small Towns in the United States
Photo:  JohnDS/Wikimedia Commons

In 1981, there were 1,000 people living in Centralia, PA. By 2010, there were 10. What happened? Well, there's been a coal mine fire burning beneath the town since 1962. Sinkholes, toxic smoke, gas—the highway itself is hot to the touch. Residents apparently couldn't deal. Although it's been on fire for decades, experts believe that it may burn for another 250 years. If, for some bizarre reason, this sounds like a place where you'd like to live, you can't. In 1992, the state of Pennsylvania seized all the property in the town and condemned it. They allowed the then-current residents to stay, but once they die, that'll be the end of Centralia.

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Monowi, NE - Population: 1


Monowi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Weirdest Small Towns in the United States
Photo:  Bkell/Wikimedia Commons

There is literally one person who lives in Monowi, NE. Her name is Elsie Eiler. She used to live in Monowi with her husband, Rudy, but he passed away in 2004. Elsie is the mayor, the town bartender, and the sole librarian. She pays taxes to herself. Elsie is an octogenarian, meaning the town might soon be abandoned. 

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Whittier is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Weirdest Small Towns in the United States
Photo:  Jessica Spengler/Wikimedia Commons

There is a small town 58 miles southeast of Anchorage where everyone lives together. In one building.

The 14-story Begich Towers is home to the 214 people of Whittier, AK. It was originally an army barracks, but the tower grew to include a police station, a post office, store, church, video rental shop, playground, and health center. It's a cozy nook if there ever was one.

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Colma is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Weirdest Small Towns in the United States
Photo: obeck/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

In Colma's two square miles, there are 17 cemeteries. The San Mateo County necropolis has been dubbed the "City of Souls" because it hosts an estimated two million dead people and only 1,200 live ones. Back in the days of William Randolph Hearts and Wyatt Earp—who are actually buried there—they transported dead bodies in San Francisco to Colma to make room.

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