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.
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.
Monowi, NE - Population: 1
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.
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.
Visitors have said you feel immediately unwelcome when you go there. They say policemen follow you, families glare at you, and husbands wonder where the hell your wives are. Yes, Hildale, UT, is a polygamist town. It's where Mormons go to be serious about Mormons. It is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
As a twin city of Colorado City, AZ, which is also a polygamist haven, critics have said the atmosphere resembles a prison. Basically, if you're not into the whole plural marriage thing, you can get out.