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America's Quirkiest Towns
America's diversity is a known fact. Some may say it is eccentric. From the California coast to the Maine seashore lies a cornucopia of regional idiosyncrasies and custom that can only be called unique. There are towns that stand out. We could say they have character. They are peculiar, they are different and they are down right quirky. Here are a few.
Randsley, Arkansas -
You know those uncomfortable moments when you're talking to someone and you just can't remember their name? Not a problem in the little Arkansas town of Randsley where everyone's name is either Billy Bob or Billie Bob. It all started when folks began to name their children after the admired founder of the town, you guessed it, Billy Bob Randsley. It caught on. Randsley's entire population of 2307 souls is a Billy or Billie Bob. The story goes that there was once a holdout named Tommy who refused to change his name. He was "persuaded" by the townsfolk that he would be happier living somewhere else. So if you're in Randsley go to a busy area and shout "Hi, Billy Bob" and watch all eyes turn toward you. Creepy.
Cassadaga, Florida -
If you can't seem to spit out exactly what's on your mind and if you're in Cassadaga, Florida you don't have to. Everyone who lives in this small central Florida town is a psychic or medium. Cassadaga was estabished in 1894 by George Colby, a 27 year old medium who had received a message from his Indian spirit guide to go there. He set up camp and in no time at all Cassadaga became the center and winter getaway for spiritualists. It has become known as the "Psychic Capital of the World" and remains much like it did in the 1920s. The residents possess a variety of supernatural abilities including clairvoyance and communicating with the dearly departed. Spooky.
Pearsonville, California -
If you need a part for your car or just shopping around for some new hubcaps for it, Pearsonville, California is the place for you. Known as the "Hubcap Capital of the World", Pearsonville still seems like a throwback from a 1960s road trip. The town was founded by Andy and Lucy Pearson in 1959 when they bought land to open a wrecking yard and raise their family. Lucy began collecting hubcaps and it is said she has over 80,000 on hand. Pearsonville may seem like just a wide spot in the desert but Hubcap Lucy gives it character. Visitors there have included Whoopi Goldberg and Jim Belushi among others. Lucy maintains her own website and caters to vehicles from 50's, 60's and 70's. Cool.
Kennesaw, Georgia -
At first glance, Kennesaw seems like an ordinary American town. It was voted one of the nation's "10 best towns for families" by Family Circle magazine. So what makes it unique? In 1982, the city passed an ordinance requiring every head of household within city limits to maintain a firearm along with ammunition. Those who had religious or philosophical objections were exempt. Since the ordinance went into effect, Kennesaw's population has soared from around 5000 to over 31,000. Crime in Kennesaw is now 45% lower than the national average.( data). Depending where you stand on gun ownership, Kennesaw is either a scary or safe place. Controversial.
Gold Hill, Oregon -
Gold Hill is an old gold mining town in southern Oregon. It is the home of the Oregon Vortex where strange things occur. The area was used for tool storage by a mining company in the early 1900s. But its history goes back to the time of the Native Americans whose horses refused to enter the area. They dubbed it the "Forbidden Ground" and stayed away. No wonder. The laws of physics don't seem to apply here. Balls roll uphill and brooms stand on end. People appear to be dramatically shorter or taller when they switch positions. No one knows what causes this phenomena. Theories include paranormal or magnetic fields as the cause. Some think it is nothing but an optical illusion. The population of Gold Hill see it as a tourist trap. Scary.
Mount Airy, North Carolina -
Andy Griffith's hometown is Mount Airy and when you're there you'll feel like you're in Mayberry. The historic town is vintage 1960s television with a tongue in cheek tribute to its most famous son. You can tour the town in a 1962 squad car or visit the Old City Jail. There's even an Aunt Bea's Restaurant and a very good replica of Wally's Service Station. Or you can get your hair cut at Floyd's Barber Shop. Mount Airy is truly a TV town full of nostalgia and memories of the popular television series. The townsfolk's quirky obsession is contagious and the Barney Fife look-a-like handing out brochures helps it along. Funny.
Whittier, Alaska -
Whittier is a tiny city of just under two hundred souls. It sits at the mouth of the wildlife and glacier filled Prince William Sound. It is an alternative port for cruise ships when the port of Seward is full. The weather in Whittier is often quite nasty. Between December and April the average amount of snow on the ground on any given day is 33.8". Almost all residents live in a 14 story apartment building. The kids don't have to go outside to go to school. They travel through a tunnel which they share with rail and vehicle traffic. The trains and vehicles take turns every half an hour. Whittier was established by the U.S. Army during World War II but was abandoned by the army in 1960. Cold.
Kingsville, Texas -
Kingsville is a friendly and dusty town not far from Corpus Christi, Texas. This Rio Grande Valley town of 25,000 people is trying to set a precedent. The word "hello" is no longer welcome because it contains the word "hell" which is bad. They have replaced it with the word "heaven-o" because it contains the word "heaven" which is good. Call the courthouse or city hall and employees will answer the telephone with "heaven-o". The brainchild of Kingsville citizen Leonso Canales, the habit caught on quickly. The Chamber of Commerce hopes to promote Kingsville as a heavenly place to visit. Linguists agree that the word "hello" has no roots in the underworld but if it makes them happy..... Weird.
Beallsville, Pennsylvania -
Some people just love Halloween. In the little town of Beallsville, Pennsylvania they are dead serious about it. This is the home of Castle Blood, a ghoulishly decorated building that is maintained all year. Actors are hired to play the parts of vampires and ghouls. Visitors are attracted to the props and gore to the delight of its keepers, Chris and Ricky. They are quick to point out that the dead in Beallsville outnumber the living with a population of 500 and 5000 in the cemetery. U.S. Hwy 40 passes through town and right by Castle Blood's door. The people in town don't really want to frighten folks but they are hauntingly satisfied with the attention they get. Fun.
Marfa, Texas -
Marfa is a very odd town. It ls situated 200 miles from anywhere in the Chihuahua desert. Marfa is best known for the mysterious light show in the night sky. For years visitors have reported seeing small random gyrating orbs which remain unexplained. Some believe it is something as simple as headlights from a distant highway. Others suspect ghosts or other out of this world things. But the lights are not enough to define Marfa as a quirky town. It is home and haven to minimalist and modern artists. Unusual sculptures stand among the tumbleweeds. Accidentally running into Marfa would be like entering a contrasting world where nothing fits neatly. Awesome.