From a village for little people to an underground mining town, we count fifteen of the most unusual towns on Earth!
15 – Gibsonton,
- Gibsonton is both a home base and retirement destination for hundreds of America’s carnival and circus folk.
- The Florida town, also called Showtown, honours circus culture and many of its interesting citizens at the Independent Showmen Association’s famous Museum of the American Carnival. There’s even a colossal statue inspired by circus giant Al Tomaini, who stood proudly at seven feet eleven inches. The boot statue pays homage to Al’s incredible size twenty-seven feet.
- To hear tales about the town’s colourful local characters, stop by Showtown Bar and Grill, and if you’re a member of the circus community the town permits folks to leave circus trailers and elephants on the lawn. Just maybe don’t leave your lions unattended.
14 – Setenil de las Bodegas,
- This name of this small picturesque riverside town simply begs to be said in a sultry Spanish accent …
- The remarkable thing about Setenil de las Bodegas is its structures have been partway carved into the surrounding cliffside, and partway above it. Residents in the lower half of town live in cave-like structures built into a gorge that has large rock formations jutting out over the streets.
- The town is also famous for its cultivation of Mediterranean foods and its cafes, which serve a delectable assortment of local chorizo, almonds and olives. Definitely one to check out if you’re in the area.
13 – Monowi,
- Monowi is the smallest jurisdiction in the US. It was founded by Czech migrants in northeast Nebraska and is home only to a single resident: seventy-seven-year-old Elsie Eller.
- In the 1930s, the town had a population of about a hundred and fifty, but by the turn of the new millennium only two people lived: Elsie and her husband, Rudy. Unfortunately, Rudy passed away in 2004, leaving Elsie as the town’s sole resident.
- But don’t worry; she keeps busy. Elsie is Monowi’s clerk, treasurer and head of council, and she runs the town’s only tavern and library. Oh, and she’s also the mayor – of Crazy Town! No, I kid. I’m sure she’s a sweet old lady, but you have to admit this is a pretty bizarre situation. I’m surprised no one’s come bulldozing in to build a Walmart.
- Elsie pays annual tax to maintain the town’s four streetlights and provide other basic amenities. Without any civic upkeep, several of the abandoned buildings in town have become covered with grass. Others have collapsed completely.
12 – Kowloon Walled City,
- Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City had the highest human population density of anywhere on the planet. With an area of only 6.5 acres, an estimated 50,000 people were said to live within its walls.
- Kowloon was originally a Chinese military fort, but British forces commandeered it in 1898. When China announced intentions to reclaim it, refugees poured in by the thousands. The British couldn’t evict them, so pulled out. But when the Chinese proved uninterested in maintaining Kowloon, the city became a cesspool of drugs and crime. In the Sixties, it was run by organised crime syndicate the Triads.
- There was a construction boom in the Seventies and residents built dwellings as they wished, disregarding safety codes. There was squalor and overpopulation, but people remained there.
- Eventually, Chinese officials found the living conditions intolerable and made plans to demolish the buildings. They compensated residents and force evacuated them in 1991. In 1995, the site became the Kowloon Walled City Park.
11 – Roswell,
- This small New Mexico town is mad for all things extra terrestrial. As everyone and their dog knows, the residents believe a UFO crash-landed in town during the 1940s and, ever since then, they’ve moulded the town to fit the phenomenon.
- UFO tourism attracts many travellers. Visitors love frequenting the UFO-themed Alien Zone shop, crashing at local motels and wearing their tinfoil hats to the annual summer UFO Festival. Even the local McDonald’s is shaped like a flying saucer.
- Skeptics and believers will have plenty to argue about after a visit to the International UFO Museum and Research Centre.
- If you’re looking for a quaint, alien-inspired slice of small town America, visit Roswell. It’s out of this world.