CLOSE
Original image
iStock

The Best Bakery in All 50 States

Original image
iStock

There’s bread, and then there’s the kind of bread that inspires a line around the block. The kind that’s too good to make into toast. We’ve combed the country and found you the very best loaves, rolls, pastries, and pies from sea to shining sea.

1. ALABAMA // MASON DIXON

Location: Huntsville, Alabama

Bring one of Mason Dixon’s chewy, hearty loaves to your next potluck and you’ll be the hit of the party—especially among guests who can’t eat gluten. Every single one of the Huntsville bakery’s breads, bagels, cookies, cupcakes, and pies is completely gluten-free. Want to kick your grilled cheese up a notch? Try starting with Mason Dixon’s zippy, creamy jalapeño cheddar bread.

2. ALASKA // FRESH SOURDOUGH EXPRESS BAKERY & CAFÉ

Location: Homer, Alaska

Donna Maltz started her bakery in the 1970s with a portable oven, a delivery van, and a wildly ambitious dream: to bring delicious, healthy food to the remote community of Homer, Alaska. It took a little while to catch on, but today the Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery & Café is one of the area's best-loved treasures. Start with Donna’s famous sourdough loaf, sample local meat, seafood, and vegetables, and don’t forget to save room for dessert.

3. ARIZONA // NOBLE BREAD

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Bread aficionados passing through the southwest will want to make a pit stop in Phoenix for a few loaves at Noble Bread. Their bakers are traditionalists, kneading salt, organic flour, water, and yeast into rustic loaves before baking them on a stone hearth. The bakery produces three highly sought-after breads each week: their classic, fluffy-crumbed country loaf; an ancient grain variety with emmer, Kamut, einkorn, or spelt; and a fruit-and-nut bread.

4. ARKANSAS // STONE MILL BREAD

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas

There’s a yellow house in Fayetteville that makes some of the best bread in the Ozarks. Dan and Karen Dantzler founded Stone Mill Bread in 1997 as a way to keep their family close to the community. And as their passion and talent for baking grew, so did their fan base. Savvy patrons buy twice as many loaves, kolaches, or cinnamon rolls as they need—half to keep, and half to give as gifts to very lucky friends and family.

5. CALIFORNIA // DELLA FATTORIA

Location: Petaluma, California

Kathleen Weber started baking bread first for her family, then for her friends, then for her neighbors. Her circle of fans grew and grew and Weber soon found herself sending loaves over to chefs at exclusive Sonoma restaurants. More than 20 years later, Weber and the team at Della Fattoria ("of the farm" in Italian) hand-shape between 400 and 1200 loaves of bread each night, from ciabatta and polenta to pain de campagne and pumpkin seed. Locals recommend the bakery’s zingy, beautiful rosemary-Meyer lemon bread.

6. COLORADO // THE DENVER BREAD COMPANY

Location: Denver, Colorado

The only thing more impressive than a stack of fragrant, fresh "Laundry" baguettes from the Denver Bread Company might be the bakery’s towering pile of awards, including a shout-out from Bon Appétit. Not satisfied with acclaim and fantastic loaves, the bakery also donates bread every day to food banks, shelters, and meal delivery services for people living with life-threatening illnesses.

7. CONNECTICUT // BANTAM BREAD COMPANY

Location: Bantam, Connecticut

Niles Golovin left his job as a restaurant chef in New York City for a quieter life in the Connecticut suburbs. He started baking part-time and quickly got hooked, eventually studying the craft under a master baker and opening the French-style Bantam Bread Company with his wife and daughter. The bakery’s offerings are as good-looking as they are flavorful; we recommend the Calamata Olive Sourdough and the Semolina Batard.

8. DELAWARE // BING'S BAKERY

Location: Newark, Delaware

Voted Best Bakery several years running by Delaware Today, Bing’s has been operating for 70-plus years in Newark and is known in the area for their trademark, elaborately decorated Easter egg cakes. For the rest of the year, customers come back time and again for their sugary pastries and dainty petit fours.

9. FLORIDA // YALAHA BAKERY

Location: Yalaha, Florida

For Old World breads, look no further than this German gem in central Florida. Since 1995, Yalaha has been serving Bee Stings (yeast cakes with Bavarian cream), Berliner Brotchen (Berlin-style breakfast rolls), and a variety of pretzels and rye. The bakery also offers tours of their kitchen for inquiring groups, and weekend visitors can grab a drink in the in-house beer garden and enjoy live music.

10. GEORGIA // BACK IN THE DAY BAKERY

Location: Savannah, Georgia

A much-celebrated sweet shop, Back in the Day goes vintage in both its décor and its menu. Rather than keep up with food trends, owners Cheryl and Griffith Day focus on perfecting classic favorites like chocolate cake and cinnamon buns (which are available on Saturdays only). Other times, you may be able to catch a slice of their Brown Sugar Banana Bread.

11. HAWAII // THE ALLEY AT AIEA BOWL

Location: Aiea, Hawaii

Who says a bakery housed in a bowling alley can’t deliver the goods? The Alley specializes in crunch cakes—lemon, pumpkin, pistachio, and strawberry—that deliver a unique texture, though you can always grab a PB&J scone while hitting the lanes.

12. IDAHO // JANJOU PÂTISSERIE

Location: Boise, Idaho

Idaho may not be the first place you think of for delicious French pastries, but that would be to ignore Janjou, which serves croissants and other decadent Parisian goods courtesy of co-owner Moshit Mizrachi-Gabbitas. The storefront filled to the brim with pastries, tarts, and quiches, and business is brisk enough that Janjou doesn’t advertise, relying exclusively on word of mouth.

13. ILLINOIS // WEBER'S BAKERY

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Since 1930, Chicago residents have endorsed Weber’s fully-made-from-scratch selection as the finest in a city that has no shortage of eateries. Rocky Road brownies are a popular attraction, as are the hand-cut kolacky, and banana split torte cakes, which are known locally as BSTs.

14. INDIANA // THE CAKE BAKE SHOP

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

The first thing to greet you at Cake Bake after the smell is the setting: The bakery is a converted cottage that seats patrons for lunch (quiche, sandwiches) or a treat. The store’s selection of cakes and pies—particularly the apple—routinely make "Best of" lists in the state, and there’s typically a line forming most mornings for the trademark caramel cake. Owner Gwendolyn Rogers was even honored with a Best Taste and Presentation nod at the 2013 London Cake and Bake Show for her chocolate recipe, which was then requested by Elton John for a Paris engagement.

15. IOWA // THELMA'S TREATS

Location:: Des Moines, Iowa

If warm cookies delivered to your door are the key to a good day, then living in a zip code near Thelma’s would be a wise move. The bakery serves cookies warm and even brings them to doorsteps in an oven-shaped cardboard box. In the summer, the cookies are baked and then used to squish fresh ice cream scoops for homemade ice cream sandwiches.

16. KANSAS // WHEATFIELDS BAKERY WHEATFIELDS BAKERY CAFÉ

Location: Lawrence, Kansas

WheatFields Bakery Café in Lawrence bakes more than 18 different types of loaves, from a sourdough made with its own signature culture to French bread made with stone-ground wheat to a kalamata olive bread that Artisan Baking author Maggie Glezer once called "the best I’ve ever eaten." The bakers at WheatFields are true experts: The History Channel visited the bakery for a wheat-themed episode of Modern Marvels in 2008, interviewing then-head baker Tom Leonard for a lesson in types of wheat flours and ancient baking techniques.

17. KENTUCKY // BLUE DOG BAKERY AND CAFÉ

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Blue Dog Bakery and Café spends up to 48 hours crafting every one of the 1000 loaves it sells per day. Eater Louisville calls owner Bob Hancock "the undisputed king of Louisville bakers," and he and his wife and co-owner, Kit Garrett, are something of local celebrities. The bakery has a variety of French and Italian country loaves, but it’s not the only place you can sample Blue Dog’s bread—the bakery is the supplier for more than 20 different restaurants in the Louisville area.

18. LOUISIANA // BELLEGARDE BAKERY

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Master baker Graison Gill opened Bellegarde in his early twenties, shortly after finishing baking school in California, and has been single-minded in his commitment to bring great bread to New Orleans ever since, using its own fresh, stone-ground grains that are largely sourced from local growers. The bakery is named after François Lemesle—known as Bellegarde—who opened one of the first bakeries in New Orleans in the 1720s. Bellegarde accepts orders online for pick-up the following day (it’s only open until 2 p.m.) and sells its bread through several retail stores. The bakery also offers regular workshops for aspiring bread makers.

19. MAINE // SCRATCH BAKING CO.

Location: South Portland, Maine

The secret ingredient behind many of Scratch Baking’s beloved breads is LuLu, the sourdough starter that co-owner and head baker Allison Reid began in her kitchen more than a decade ago and has been carefully tended to every day since. LuLu goes into the bakery’s sourdough as well as its ciabatta and multigrain breads—plus the bakery’s renowned hand-rolled bagels, which are so popular the company had to move its baking operations to another location to make room for the hordes of people who wait in line for them every day. If you want to ensure you get a bagel, you’d better arrive before 10 a.m. But don’t worry, night owls: baguettes are only available after 11 a.m., so at least you can snag one of those.

20. MARYLAND // THE BREADERY

Location: Catonsville, Maryland

Located just outside of Baltimore, The Breadery features a huge selection of specialty, preservative-free breads, from honey whole wheat loaves to smoked gouda rolls, and their whole grains are stone-milled on-site daily. While you’re there, taste-test one of the shop’s large selection of flavored olive oils—perfect for pairing with your new favorite breads.

21. MASSACHUSETTS // BERKSHIRE MOUNTAIN BAKERY

Location: Housatonic and Pittsfield, Massachusetts

No trip to western Massachusetts should skip over Berkshire Mountain Bakery, where baker Richard Bourdon has been selling European-style breads since 1986. Born in Quebec, Bourdon learned to bake in the Netherlands, where he ran one of the first bakeries in Holland to revive traditional sourdough fermentation techniques. Berkshire Mountain Bakery has since been heralded as one of the best bread bakeries in the nation by the likes of Saveur and Bon Appétit and featured in the Netflix documentary series Cooked. Make sure to try the famous Bread & Chocolate loaf, which has Belgian chocolate folded into the dough.

22. MICHIGAN // PLEASANTON BAKERY

Location: Traverse City, Michigan

Pleasanton Bakery has been a forerunner in Northern Michigan’s local food movement for decades. Its bread is naturally leavened using a sourdough starter its bakers have fed for more than 20 years, and it's made in wood-burning ovens with only organic, Michigan-grown grains. Currently run by Jonathan St. Hilaire, an award-winning pastry chef who has worked at venerable restaurants and bakeries in New York City and Atlanta, Pleasanton Bakery has been named one of the best places to get bread in America by Food & Wine magazine, and in 2015, Mario Batali called its date and fennel loaf with sea salt one of his favorite food finds of the year.

23. MINNESOTA // RUSTICA BAKERY

Location: Minneapolis and Eden Prairie, Minnesota

For more than a decade, Rustica Bakery has been the place to go for fresh bread in the Twin Cities. In 2015, Rustica Bakery founder Stephen Horton was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s "Outstanding Baker" award, and while he’s no longer with the shop, the new bakers at the ovens are just as obsessed with churning out consistently great bread by hand. And though Rustica is known to have some of the best challah in the region, don’t stop there—it has seven regular breads on daily offer and multiple specials throughout the week.

24. MISSISSIPPI // GIL'S BREAD

Location: Ridgeland, Mississippi

Years ago, investment banker-turned-baker Gil Turchin turned to the kitchen to relieve stress and discovered that he loved making bread. A two-week intensive course at the French Culinary Institute convinced Turchin to switch careers, and he honed his skills at a bakery in Fort Worth, Texas for 12 years before moving to Ridgeland, Mississippi in 2013 and opening Gil’s Bread. Today, Gil sells a variety of artisanal breads and offers bread-making classes focusing on old-world techniques. Home bakers can even purchase a sourdough starter upon request.

25. MISSOURI // COMPANION

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Artisan breads take center stage at Companion, the wholesale bakery and café founded by Missouri native Joshua Allen in 1993. Customers can enjoy crusty, European-style loaves, or support local farmers by purchasing breads made with locally grown and milled grains. For a true oven-to-table experience, visitors who swing by Companion’s new headquarters in West St. Louis can even watch bread being made and learn how to bake it themselves. And, Companion's pastries are also worth a mention—try the MOMO, a rolled brioche dough pastry with cinnamon and sugar.

26. MONTANA // BERNICE'S BAKERY

Location: Missoula, Montana

Bernice's Bakery opened in Missoula, Montana in 1978, and quickly became a beloved community institution. Word of their scrumptious molasses cookies, billowy croissants, and deli-style sandwiches, made with fresh, house-baked bread, spread so widely that PBS even featured Bernice’s in their 2015 documentary A Few Great Bakeries. While paying a visit, don’t be too star-struck if you run into Marco Littig, the bakery’s co-owner, who served as real-life inspiration for the character "Paul" in Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling autobiography, Wild.

27. NEBRASKA // ROTELLA'S ITALIAN BAKERY

Location: La Vista, Nebraska

Rotella’s Italian Bakery—and its rustic-style loaves and rolls—are a longstanding family tradition. The business began with 19th-century Italian master baker Domenico Rotella, who passed his knowledge down to son Alessandro. In 1909, Alessandro Rotella left the Old Country for America, settled in Omaha, and purchased a bakery. His fledgling business grew into a larger, successful one, and is today run by Alessandro grandson, Louis Rotella Jr. The bakery produces hundreds of bread varieties, but the business also stays true to its old-school roots. Try their special Split Hard Roll, or the Vienna, a thick, sliced Italian loaf.

28. NEVADA // BON BREADS

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Carlos Pereira left his native Peru to study hotel management in Las Vegas, and worked his way through school as a baker’s apprentice. Upon completing his degree, the newly minted graduate couldn’t find a job as a casino manager—so on a whim, Pereira replied to an ad seeking an artisanal baker for the famous Caesar’s Palace hotel and casino. The executive pastry chef couldn’t find any qualified candidates, so he took a chance on Pereira and enrolled the novice in an intensive baking course at the San Francisco Baking Institute.

Pereira went on to become Caesar’s top baker, and in 1999, he opened his very own business, called Bon Breads. Today, Bon Breads supplies Las Vegas’s top casinos and restaurants (including Wolfgang Puck and Julian Serrano) with baguettes, rustic loaves, brioches, and other specialty breads.

29. NEW HAMPSHIRE // THE GOOD LOAF

Location: Milford, New Hampshire

In 2016, New Hampshire magazine’s readers voted Milford’s The Good Loaf as their favorite bread bakery. Fresh-baked daily offerings include oatmeal, pain de mie, cinnamon-raisin, and multigrain loaves, but if you’re looking for a bread that’s a crust above the rest, try one of The Good Loaf’s made-to-order items, like Chocolate Challah, Caramelized Onion and Sharp Cheddar Miche, and Sesame Semolina. These breads require extra prep, so make sure to order them at least four days in advance.

30. NEW JERSEY // BALTHAZAR BAKERY

Location: Englewood, New Jersey

Dine at any number of New York City’s best restaurants, and you’ll likely be served bread made by Balthazar Bakery. The artisanal bakery opened in SoHo in 1997, next to a French bistro of the same name. Space became limited as Balthazar grew from a one-stop shop into a citywide powerhouse, so in 2000, the business moved its wholesale division to Englewood, New Jersey. (The restaurant remains in Manhattan, next to a small bakery.) Today, customers can swing by Balthazar’s New Jersey location and purchase their famous baguettes, croissants, and wheels of pain de seigle at an on-site retail store.

31. NEW MEXICO // WILD LEAVEN BAKERY AND CAFÉ

Location: Taos, New Mexico

Before opening Wild Leaven Bakery and Café in Taos in 2016, Andre Kempton studied his craft in Santa Fe with Willem Malten, a Dutch master baker whose now-closed Cloud Cliff Bakery & Café "pioneered artisan baking in New Mexico," according to Sunset magazine. Long ago, before World War II, Northern New Mexico produced more kinds of wheat than any other state. Hoping to bring wheat farming back to New Mexico, Malten used locally grown grains, raised by farmer co-operatives, to make his breads.

Not surprisingly, Kempton’s approach to baking resembles his mentor’s. At the Wild Leaven Bakery and Café, customers can purchase around a dozen types of bread, made from all-organic ingredients and mostly locally grown grains. Sandwiches, soups, and pizzas are also on the menu for patrons who feel like sitting down and enjoying a home-cooked meal.

32. NEW YORK // PERRECA'S

Location: Schenectady, New York

When Salvatore and Carmella Perreca immigrated to America from Italy in 1913, they brought their passion for baking with them. A year after settling in Schenectady, New York, the couple opened up Perreca’s: a bakery serving up the same style of crusty Italian loaves they made in their home village outside Naples. Not much has changed in 100 years. Perreca’s is still owned by the same family, and their bread is still baked in the same coal-fired brick oven that was there when it opened. Customers can buy the baked goods straight from the source, or they can pop into Perreca’s cafe next door to enjoy some homemade paninis.

33. NORTH CAROLINA // LA FARM

Location: Cary, North Carolina

La Farm via Facebook

Before opening La Farm in Cary, North Carolina, Lionel and Missy Vatinet did their homework. They spent years traveling the world and picked up grains of knowledge from the bakeries they visited along the way. In 1999, the launched a bakery of their own stateside. Today the shop sells 15 kinds of bread—not including their 20 seasonal varieties—that are made by hand, fermented for days, and baked in a European-style hearth oven.

34. NORTH DAKOTA // BREAD POETS

Location: Bismarck, North Dakota

Jon Lee fulfilled his dream of opening a bakery in his hometown nearly two decades ago. The products at Bread Poets—like the Cheddar Cornbread or the Cherry Cream bread, made with dried Michigan cherries—are made from stone-ground grains and sold within 30 hours of baking. 

35. OHIO // RESCH'S BAKERY

Location: Columbus, Ohio

German immigrants Wilhelm Resch and his Uncle Frank learned their way around an oven while working at a bakery in Columbus, Ohio. After overhearing the two employees conspiring to one day run a bakery of their own, their boss fired them outright. Unemployment turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the pair: It gave them the opportunity to open Resch’s Bakery in 1912. The shop, which sells homemade bread, bagels, pretzels, cakes, and doughnuts, remains a family business today.

36. OKLAHOMA // PRAIRIE THUNDER BAKERY

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Prairie Thunder Bakery offers all the classics: Baguettes, ciabattas, and sourdoughs, to name a few. It also sells specialty flavored loaves like Roasted Potatoes, Caramelized Onion Ciabatta, and Jalapeño and Habañero Hummus. The breads can be purchased from the downtown Oklahoma shop or found at restaurants and retailers throughout the city.

37. OREGON // KEN'S ARTISAN BAKERY

Location: Portland, Oregon

Artisan baked goods aren’t difficult to come by in Oregon, but the fare at Ken’s makes an impression. Since Ken Forkish opened the shop in 2001, it’s grown into a Portland institution. In addition to its selection of fine breads, cookies, and cakes, Ken’s also serves a full cafe menu of salads and sandwiches. And early on, the bakery was known for its Pizza Mondays, and the night became so popular that within five years, Ken decided to open a separate pizza shop on the other side of the Willamette River.

38. PENNSYLVANIA // BIRD-IN-HAND BAKESHOP

Location: Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania

A trip to Amish Country isn’t complete without sampling some Pennsylvania Dutch baked goods. Bird-in-Hand offers traditional staples like potato rolls, whoopie pies, and wet bottom shoo-fly pie. Many of the recipes are the same ones used by Annie Miller when she opened the bakery with her husband, Erwin, in 1972. Today their children and grandchildren keep the business running.

39. RHODE ISLAND // SEVEN STARS BAKERY

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

The key to turning out great products is patience. The bakers at Seven Stars Bakery subject their breads and pastries to a lengthy fermentation process. During hours or possibly days of rest, the dough develops a depth of flavor that’s impossible to rush. This level of craftsmanship is evident in everything from the simple white bread to the rosemary and thyme focaccia.

40. SOUTH CAROLINA // BAGUETTE MAGIC

Location: James Island, South Carolina

Started by a French expat who couldn’t find a good baguette, this Lowcountry favorite began as a stand at the Charleston farmers' market and quickly upgraded to a standalone shop on nearby James Island. Customers come out for the signature baguette, made the old-fashioned way, as well as the brioche, sourdough, and other breads. The café serves up breakfast and lunch fare, including their Recovery Baguette—a sandwich made with eggs, ham, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, and tomato.

41. SOUTH DAKOTA // QUEEN CITY BAKERY

Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

In 2007, New York City baker Kristine Moberg and husband Mitch Jackson, both South Dakota natives, returned home to start their own bakery. Ten years later, Queen City Bakery has become a local favorite where customers file in each day for scratch-made muffins, croissants, quiches, and bourbon pecan bars. The shop is best known for Moberg’s specialty: cakes, including a Lemon Polka Dot, Chocolate Espresso, and a shout-out to her old neighborhood, a Brooklyn Blackout.

42. TENNESSEE // WILD LOVE BAKEHOUSE

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

Wild Love’s hand tarts—homemade Pop-Tarts in flavors like apple pecan and apricot raspberry—are worth the trip on their own. There’s much more, of course, including pear and almond galettes, fudgy brownies, and a variety of croissants. Customers have lots of love for Wild Love’s scratch-made "monster biscuits," too, which tend to sell out quickly. Get there early and score a monster biscuit topped with locally sourced eggs and sausage.

43. TEXAS // CZECH STOP & LITTLE CZECH BAKERY

Location: West, Texas

Texas is crazy for kolaches, the fruit and meat-filled pastries introduced by the state’s Czech immigrants beginning in the late 19th century. And there’s arguably no better place to get them than this otherwise unassuming gas station and bake shop situated off Interstate 35. In addition to kolaches made with sausage, pepperoni, pulled pork, and other fillings, Czech Stop carries killer cream cheese brownies and pies. And it’s stayed open continuously for more than 30 years—even during a massive nearby fertilizer plant fire in 2013.

44. UTAH // GOURMANDISE THE BAKERY

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Gourmandise excels as both a bake shop and fine dining destination. Breakfast brings out top-notch pastries like the bacon, cheese, and tomato croissant, while lunch offers salads and sandwiches made using some of Gourmandise’s 15 house-made breads. Dinner patrons, meanwhile, can savor beef bourguignon or lasagna bolognese and swirl a glass of red.

45. VERMONT // MIRABELLES CAFÉ AND BAKERY

Location: Burlington, Vermont

Started by two graduates of the New England Culinary Institute, Mirabelles is known for its scratch-made biscuits and popovers, as well as its solid breakfast fare. On cold Vermont mornings, a Rise & Shine sandwich made with eggs, bacon, microgreens, and spicy mayo promises a flavorful warm-up. Mirabelles is also an ace at cakes, from coconut-lime to its maple old-fashioned chocolate.

46. VIRGINIA // BLACKBIRD BAKERY

Location: Bristol, Virginia

Krispy Kreme, take note: Blackbird runs the doughnut game in southwest Virginia, with more than 2000 of the homemade treats sold every morning. Started by a former middle school teacher, the shop also offers a variety of pastries, cupcakes, tarts, and homemade bars. Cakes include everything from German chocolate to key lime to a "hummingbird" variety made with bananas, pecans, and caramel sauce.

47. WASHINGTON // BAKERY NOUVEAU

Location: Seattle, Washington

If you've ever wanted to taste a baguette or a macaron made by a world champion baker, this is your chance. Owner William Leamon led the winning U.S. team at the World Cup of Baking back in 2005, then brought his talents back to Seattle. Bakery Nouveau offers a variety of breads and baguettes, but what draws the shop’s notoriously long lines every morning are sweet treats like twice-baked almond croissants, pear Danishes, and kugelhopfs (a light cake baked in rum butter, then rolled in cinnamon and sugar).

48. WEST VIRGINIA // SPRING HILL PASTRY SHOP

Location: South Charleston, West Virginia

Spring Hill turns out top-notch butter bread and French bread, along with pan rolls and Parker House rolls. Its specialty, though, is hot dogs—but not the kind you’re familiar with. These are stretched-out doughnuts that get filled with cream and dusted on top with powdered sugar. You can also get chocolate sauce on top, naturally. True to its name, the pastry shop also offers petit fours, napoleons, and cherry tarts, along with an assortment of pies, cakes, and cookies.

49. WISCONSIN // PETER SCIORTINO BAKERY

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This Milwaukee establishment has gotten a new look and new owners since its namesake founded the shop in 1947. But it’s still turning out traditional favorites like Italian loaves, dinner rolls, brat rolls (this being Wisconsin, of course) and handmade breadsticks. There are plenty of sweet treats, as well, including amaretti, chocolate biscotti, spumoni, and other authentic Italian cookies.

50. WYOMING // PERSEPHONE BAKERY

Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The bread artists at Persephone use locally sourced wild yeasts to slowly ferment their dough before baking it in a stone hearth. The result is deeply flavorful baguettes, whole wheat, rye, and multigrain loaves. Persephone also carries pastries, tarts, and cookies, and recently began serving high tea every afternoon at 4 p.m.

By Michele Debczak, Kirstin Fawcett, Shaunacy Ferro, Kate Horowitz, Jake Rossen, and Jeff Wells.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Lists
The Spookiest Ghost Stories From All 50 States
Original image
iStock

From heartbroken brides to spectral oenophiles, America is a melting pot of otherworldly entities who have staked a spiritual claim in every crack and cranny of the country—as well as in the local community's consciousness. No matter what city or state you hail from, you no doubt grew up hearing terrifying tales of one ghost or another with whom you shared a zip code. We all did. Here are the spookiest ghost stories from all 50 states.

Original image
dschreiber29/iStock
arrow
Lists
The Smallest Town in Each of the 50 States
Original image
dschreiber29/iStock

From a central Florida enclave where the mermaids outnumber the residents to the town that changed its name to Joe, Montana, there’s a lot of quirky history in America’s least populated places. We’ve combed the country to find the most interesting tiny town in each state—ranging in population from one to more than 1000. Some entries describe the state’s smallest incorporated town, while others highlight the smallest census-designated place. We picked the one with the wackiest, cutest, or most surprising story.

1. MCMULLEN, ALABAMA // POPULATION: 9

In 2000, McMullen was one of the only all-black towns in America, with a population of 66. But a series of recent natural disasters has pushed residents away, from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to an EF2 tornado that destroyed 13 homes in February 2016. Now only nine people remain in the rural western Alabama town, according to a 2016 population estimate from the Census Bureau.

2. HOBART BAY, ALASKA // POPULATION: 1

Moonrise on Hobart Bay

Commander John Bortniak, NOAA Corps (ret.) // Wikimedia Commons

David Jorgensen has Hobart Bay all to himself. The 62-year-old has been the sole caretaker for the abandoned logging camp, accessible only via floatplane or boat, for nearly a decade. He used to live in Hobart Bay with scores of neighbors before the logging dried up in the late ‘90s. The population plummeted from 187 in 1990 to just David Jorgensen by 2010. Now Goldbelt, Inc., a former logging company which owns 30,000 acres in and around Hobart Bay, wants to turn the place into a cruise ship destination and clam farm.

3. JEROME, ARIZONA // POPULATION: 455

Jerome holds simultaneous claims as the smallest incorporated municipality in Arizona and the largest ghost town in America. Founded in 1876, the city grew out of a copper mining camp into the fourth largest city in Arizona Territory. Workers poured in to climb down the town’s mine shafts and extract as many as 3 million pounds of copper each month. The vast number of saloons and brothels that cropped up to cater to the miners in their off-work hours led the New York Sun to dub Jerome “the wickedest town in the west” in 1903. Today, Jerome’s small population of artists, shopkeepers, and hospitality workers bring the ghosts of its past to life for visiting tourists.

4. MAGNET COVE, ARKANSAS // POPULATION: 5

Magnet Cove was named for the abundance of magnetite (lodestone) in its soil, which early settlers discovered when they felt their plows and other tools strangely attracted to the ground. It remains a popular site for rockhounding thanks to its unusually rich [PDF] diversity of minerals. Today, the only businesses in Magnet Cove are a gas station and two novaculite quarries. (Novaculite is a mineral used to make whetstones, and Magnet Cove produces some of the purest novaculite in the world.)

5. VERNON, CALIFORNIA // POPULATION: 209

Vernon was founded in 1905 as an “exclusively industrial” city just south of downtown Los Angeles. Until 2015, Vernon housed about 1800 businesses employing roughly 55,000 workers —but was home to only 100 residents. The city kept its population low on purpose. All residences were owned by the city government, which evicted its political rivals and tore down houses to prevent newcomers from moving in. This enabled a ruling family to control the electorate, run the city “like a fiefdom,” and pay one city administrator a salary of $1.65 million one year. In 2015, under threat of dissolution from the state, Vernon agreed to adopt a series of reforms, including the construction of a new privately-owned apartment building that doubled the city’s population.

6. BONANZA, COLORADO // POPULATION: 1

Bonanza got its name in 1880 from silver miners who thought they’d struck it big. Over the next few decades, Bonanza grew into a copper, zinc, and silver mining boomtown, home to thousands of miners, two hotels, seven dance halls, a newspaper, a candy store, and even a baseball team. Today the town is mainly a summer vacation getaway. Although as many as 200 people own property in Bonanza today, only one man lives in town year-round: Mark Perkovich, a retired hotshot firefighter who moved in 22 years ago seeking solitude.

7. UNION, CONNECTICUT // POPULATION: 843

Trees reflected in Bigelow Pond in Union, Connecticut

Jesse Goodier // Wikimedia Commons

Founded on rough terrain with poor soil, Union was the last town settled east of the Connecticut River. James McNall, the town’s first settler, arrived from Ireland in 1727, and Union was officially incorporated in 1734. Legend has it that the town got its name because it was formed from the “union” of leftover plots of land that surrounding towns hadn’t incorporated. Today Union is a quiet residential community that prides itself on its scenic hills, trees, and wildlife.

8. HARTLY, DELAWARE // POPULATION: 71

After 280 years of townhood, Hartly faced an existential crisis in 2014. The town had no functioning government. It hadn’t collected taxes in two years. And it was somewhere between $20,000 and $36,000 in debt—no one knew exactly how much the town owed because Hartly had stopped paying for the P.O. box where it received its bills. To make matters worse, a former treasurer, convicted in 2004 of embezzling $89,000 from Hartly’s coffers, still hadn’t repaid the town for his theft. Then in December, more than 100 people, mostly out-of-towners, assembled at the local fire station to come up with a plan to save Hartly. They formed a new council and got to work reviving the town, inspiring the 2016 documentary A Hope for Hartly.

9. WEEKI WACHEE, FLORIDA // POPULATION: 5

Weeki Wachee is home to a state-estimated five human beings—and roughly 28 mermaids. More than 250,000 visitors drive each year to the small central Florida town, an hour north of Tampa, to see the Weeki Wachee Mermaids perform 30-minute live shows in Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. The show began in 1947, when a navy veteran named Newton Perry figured out a way to breathe underwater using an air hose and a compressor. He built an underwater theater into the springs’ limestone and sought out “pretty girls” to train as mermaids. Today, the mermaids swim and dance alongside manatees, otters, turtles, and even alligators, stopping only occasionally to catch a breath through tubes at the bottom of their tank. The mayor of Weeki Wachee, Robyn Anderson, is a former mermaid.

10. TATE CITY, GEORGIA // POPULATION: 16

Tate City, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “isn’t really a city, more an assortment of fancy, second-home homes owned by Atlantans and Floridians and more utilitarian houses for residents working in Clayton or Dillard.” The town sprang up around a ruby mine that once attracted more than 1000 residents, and later switched to logging. (A man named Tate owned the biggest logging camp, hence the name.) After the loggers stripped Tate City of its forests, they moved on and left little behind. The sleepy town didn’t get electricity until the early 1970s.

11. MANELE, HAWAII // POPULATION: 29

Evans / Getty

Manele is the site of the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, on Hawaii’s sixth largest island. Through most of the 20th century, Lanai was the site of the Dole pineapple plantation, once the most productive in the world. But today, 97 percent of the island belongs to Larry Ellison, founder of the software firm Oracle and the fifth-richest person in the world. Ellison bought the land, along with a third of Lanai’s housing, the water utility, two resort hotels, the cemetery, and most other businesses in a single real estate deal in 2012. He plans to turn the island into a luxury resort destination for the super-rich, prompting concerns for the future of the island’s residents.

12. WARM RIVER, IDAHO // POPULATION: 3

Warm River became a city thanks to a quirk in Idaho’s 1947 liquor laws that restricted liquor licenses to establishments within municipal borders. That year, Fred Lewies, an Estonian immigrant who owned and operated the Warm River Inn and Rendezvous Dance Hall, incorporated the city so that he could legally serve drinks at his bar. The town has had three mayors: Fred’s wife Berta, their daughter Lillian, and their granddaughter Lonnie. Today, Warm River still has its dance hall, but it’s also a fishing destination and a stop for tourists on their way into Yellowstone National Park.

13. MOONSHINE, ILLINOIS // POPULATION: 1

There’s one business, one house, and one person in Moonshine, and they’re all under one green tin roof. Helen Tuttle owns the Moonshine Store, a country store and restaurant she operates out of a century-old building in the middle of Eastern Illinois farmland. Each day, Tuttle serves 140 Moonburgers to customers visiting from surrounding farms (and sometimes ranging from the far flung corners of 50 states and 45 countries). The burgers aren’t very elaborate. Tuttle serves a gas-grilled beef patty on run-of-the-mill buns. But guests are invited to jazz them up themselves from a condiment table featuring mustard, mayonnaise, onions, hot pickle relish and horseradish. For years, Moonshine had a second resident: Roy Lee, Helen’s husband. But Roy died in 2015, and now Helen lives alone in the six rooms above the Moonshine Store.

14. NEW AMSTERDAM, INDIANA // POPULATION: 27

New Amsterdam was born and nearly destroyed on the banks of the Ohio River. Until 1937, the town thrived on the riverbank. It had two general stores, its churches’ pews were packed, and the houses along the river held upwards of 400 people. Then a 1937 flood wiped out most of the city and drove many of its residents away for good, but the remaining folks didn’t give up. In 2015, New Amsterdam celebrated its bicentennial.

15. BEACONSFIELD, IOWA // POPULATION: 15

US astronaut Peggy Whitson tests her space suit before blasting off to the International Space Station
Kirill Kudryavtsev / Getty

Beaconsfield may be tiny, but it punches above its weight class in terms of bragging rights. The Iowa town was the birthplace of the Hy-Vee grocery store chain, which operates more than 240 stores in the Midwest. The founders Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg (Hy-Vee, get it?) opened their first store in Beaconsfield, right at the onset of the Great Depression in 1930. Beaconsfield is also astronaut Peggy Whitson’s hometown [PDF]. In April 2017, Whitson broke the NASA record for most total days in space (at the time, 534). She’s also the first woman ever to command the International Space Station twice. 

16. FREEPORT, KANSAS // POPULATION: 5

Freeport is a dwindling town that refuses to go softly into the night. For years, the town boasted in its motto that it was “the smallest incorporated city in the United States having a bank.” But the bank left in 2009. Two years later, the post office tried to leave, too, but Freeport residents put up a fight. They petitioned the U.S. Postal Service to review its decision and hung a sign in city hall, housed in the abandoned bank building, urging visitors to “Help Keep Our Post Office—Buy Stamps.” Ultimately, the USPS was no match for Freeport’s residents. The post office remains, along with a grain elevator, a church, and five stubborn Kansans.

17. SOUTH PARK VIEW, KENTUCKY // POPULATION: 7

South Park View is quickly disappearing beneath the air traffic of Bowman Field. Since 1994, the Louisville Regional Airport Authority has been buying up homes and relocating residents under the path—and wall-to-wall noise—of arriving and departing planes. Over two decades, the program bought out more than 2000 homes at a cost of more than $260 million. But seven holdouts in South Park View have refused to accept the voluntary buy-outs.

18. MOUND, LOUISIANA // POPULATION: 18

Mound got its name because its founders built the town on top of a Native American burial mound. A century ago, Mound was a collection of cotton plantations owned by a few landed families. In those days, a planter named George S. Yerger controlled 50,000 acres and paid his workers in a made-up currency they could only spend at his company store. He also acted as town sheriff and kept prisoners in a subterranean jail buried under his store. Today, corn and soybeans grow in the fields, but the same families still live in their ancestral homes and own much of the land. Margaret Yerger, who is married to George Yerger’s grandson, is mayor.

19. HIBBERTS GORE, MAINE // POPULATION: 1

A gore is an unincorporated area, usually created when land surveyors make mistakes that leave irregularly shaped hunks of unaccounted land between town boundaries. In Maine, Hibberts Gore is home to one resident, Karen Keller, who lives 100 yards from the nearby town of Palermo. Curious reporters have been seeking her out for stories since the Boston Globe ran a profile on her in 2001, but Keller doesn’t like the attention. “These people from these big papers come. Why? What have I done? It’s a bunch of lines on a map. Nothing else.” Keller told Sunday Salon in 2013. “What have I accomplished? What have I ever done to make anyone’s life better? What good for the planet? What good for people? What good for anybody? Why? It’s hogwash.”

20. PORT TOBACCO, MARYLAND // POPULATION: 13

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Port Tobacco was Maryland’s second largest port and the seat of Charles County. Historians say it rivaled Williamsburg and Philadelphia among colonial ports, and that George Washington used to pass through town regularly on his way to see his doctor. Today, Port Tobacco still operates under an 1888 charter that bars women from holding office, imposes a $1 tax on every dog and prohibits any resident from allowing “his swine to run at large within said village.” Mayor John Hyde, a mortician by trade, told the Washington Post in 2006 that the town never got around to changing those laws, but it doesn’t enforce them anymore.

21. GOSNOLD, MASSACHUSETTS // POPULATION: 75

An 1858 landscape of Cuttyhunk Island by painter Albert Bierstadt

Albert Bierstadt // Wikimedia Commons

Gosnold comprises the Elizabeth Islands off the southern coast of Massachusetts. Most residents live on the island of Cuttyhunk, the town seat. According to news reports, in the summer Cuttyhunk’s population can swell up to 400, but in the winter, the island’s 150 golf carts far outnumber its 20 year-round residents. Cuttyhunk is home to a one-room schoolhouse with one teacher and two students. It is only accessible by a ferry which in the winter runs twice a week across Buzzards Bay, carrying food, fuel, mail, and people.

22. POINTE AUX BARQUES, MICHIGAN // POPULATION: 10

Pointe-Aux-Barques Lighthouse
Cliff Kinney // Wikimedia Commons

Pointe Aux Barques is a resort town on the tip of the thumb of Michigan’s mitten. It got its name in 1665 from French priest Claude Alouez, who thought the rocky coast resembled the prow of a ship. From 300 BCE to 600 CE, the land Pointe aux Barques would occupy was a sacred place for an ancient indigenous culture. After its disappearance, the land went unoccupied for a millennium until European colonists showed up and began logging the forest in the 17th century. In 1896, railroad baron Stanford Crapo built a resort, connecting Pointe aux Barques to wealthy Detroit families who fled to the rural township in the summer.

23. FUNKLEY, MINNESOTA // POPULATION: 10

Green Funkley Road Sign
Ed Kohler // Wikimedia Commons

Funkley mayor Emil Erickson will serve anyone who visits his town a drink—provided that they go to the Funkley Bar and Lounge, which he owns, and pay using Funkley Bucks, a made-up currency with his face on it that he prints and doles out to tourists. Erickson presides over the bar with his dog Chopper, who likes to sit on a stool next to the patrons. In the fall, big crowds of hunters visit. In the summer, Funkley gets bikers. Otherwise, there aren’t many new faces in Funkley. The city’s population recently doubled to its current 10 residents after a five-person family moved in.

24. SATARTIA, MISSISSIPPI // POPULATION: 53

Satartia’s main claim to fame is the Satartia Bridge over the Yazoo River in the Mississippi Delta. Its concrete, steel, and rust aesthetic has landed it on a website that catalogues ugly bridges. But most infamously, a team of paranormal investigators has claimed the Satartia Bridge is haunted: They saw mysterious floating flights, heard phantom moans, and smelled rotting flesh coming from the water in 2003. They suggested the source could be the indigenous Yazoo people, who according to legend were marched into the river to their deaths after refusing to surrender to the conquering French. Another theory claims the river is haunted by the crew of one of the 29 ships sunk here during the Civil War.

25. BAKER, MISSOURI // POPULATION: 3

Baker is tiny— less than a quarter-square-mile of land. But the town’s only family farms 3,300 acres of rice, soybeans, and wheat in fields that extend beyond Baker’s boundaries. Mark Rinehart took the land over from his father, Max, and now works it with his son, Eric. Mark told the Missouri News Scene his proposal for boosting the U.S. rice market in 2014: “Drink more beer, eat more rice, or both.”

26. ISMAY, MONTANA // POPULATION: 21

Ismay wasn’t always named Ismay. Until the 1910s, the town was called Burt. Then a railroad division superintendent renamed the place Ismay, a mashup of his two daughters’ names, Isabella and Maybelle. Then, in 1993, as part of a Kansas City radio station’s publicity stunt, the town agreed to change its name to Joe, Montana, in honor of the NFL quarterback who had just been traded to the Chiefs. Sports Illustrated picked up the story, and soon the town was selling hundreds of “Joe, Montana” t-shirts, coffee mugs, and golf balls. More than 2000 visitors descended on the town the first time it hosted “Joe Day.” And the Kansas City Chiefs flew the entire town down to see a game and hang out with Joe Montana. When Ismay ended the stunt eight years later, the town had enough money to buy itself a new fire truck and build a community center—named for Joe Montana.

27. MONOWI, NEBRASKA // POPULATION: 1

Elsie Eiler is all that’s left of Monowi, the only incorporated town in America with one inhabitant. She is the mayor and the owner of the Monowi Tavern, the only business in town. She lives half a mile away from the bar in a mobile home. Each year, she taxes herself to raise the money to keep Monowi’s four streetlights on. For decades, there was another resident in Monowi: Eiler’s husband Rudy, an avid reader. He died in 2004. The next year, Elsie built a library behind the tavern and stocked it with 5000 books. The library was her husband’s lifelong dream, and Elsie dedicated the building to Rudy.

28. CALIENTE, NEVADA // POPULATION: 1108

The land that would become Caliente was first settled in the early 1860s by Ike and Dow Barton, two escaped slaves from Arkansas. For a while the place was called Culverwell, after Charles and William Culverwell, who owned a ranch on the land. In 1901, when Union Pacific and another railroad got into a territory dispute over who could lay down track in a narrow canyon near the ranch, William Culverwell ended the land battle “with his shotgun.” He gave Union Pacific the right to build a railroad grade through his property and the rival company dropped its claim. The town quickly grew to more than 5000 residents thanks to the train depot. It was renamed Caliente after the discovery of nearby hot springs.

29. DIXVILLE NOTCH, NEW HAMPSHIRE // POPULATION: 8

A man casts his ballot in Dixville Notch's midnight primary election in 2016
Alice Chiche // Getty

The residents of Dixville Notch have cast the first votes in every U.S. presidential election and primary since 1960. Thanks to an obscure New Hampshire law, voting precincts with fewer than 100 voters can open their polls at midnight on election day and close them as soon as everyone has cast their vote. A local hotelier started driving his employees to the polls at midnight in 1960 as a publicity stunt for his resort. The polls closed at 12:07 a.m., and the town became the first precinct to report election results. It wasn’t long before presidential candidates began visiting Dixville Notch every four years.

30. TAVISTOCK, NEW JERSEY // POPULATION: 5

A group of golfers founded Tavistock in 1921 to evade blue laws in nearby Haddonfield that banned sports on Sundays. When 19 former members of the Haddonfield Country Club got fed up with the restrictive rules, they incorporated Tavistock, a quarter-mile splinter of Haddonfield. There they created a new country club with a new golf course, which stays open seven days a week. The Tavistock government also lets its country club sell liquor, which is illegal in Haddonfield.

31. WHITES CITY, NEW MEXICO // POPULATION: 7

Kentucky teacher Charlie White founded this town near the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the 1920s. White built tourist accommodations on the only road in or out of the park. “White’s Cavern Camp,” a collection of 13 visitor rooms, a gas station, and a house for his family, grew into Whites City. White’s children and grandchildren eventually added a theater, a saloon, and a museum of curios including a stuffed two-headed snake. In 2008, the White family auctioned off the entire city for $1.55 million. (Before the final auction, the family listed it on eBay for $5 million.) The new owners sold Whites City again in April for an undisclosed sum.

32. OIL SPRING RESERVATION, NEW YORK // POPULATION: 1

A Franciscan missionary named Joseph DeLa Roch D’Allion made the first recorded mention of oil in North America here in 1627. The Seneca and earlier indigenous peoples knew about the oil long before, and used the spring’s petroleum-laden waters for medicinal purposes. The U.S. federal government officially recognized Oil Spring as a Seneca reservation at the end of the 18th century, but by the 1850s white squatters, including future New York governor Horatio Seymour, had taken up residence. The Seneca waged a legal battle to evict the squatters and have retained control of the land ever since [PDF].

33. DELLVIEW, NORTH CAROLINA // POPULATION: 13

In 1925, the Dellinger family had a problem: stray dogs kept raiding their chicken coops and killing their poultry, but local laws prevented them from shooting the mongrels on sight. Luckily, they had a cousin in the state assembly. That year, state representative David R. Dellinger proposed a bill to incorporate the town of Dellview, populated almost exclusively by Dellingers. The town never collected taxes, provided a police force, or offered water or sewer services. But it did pass a local ordinance that made it legal to shoot stray dogs. In 1978, no one in Dellview responded to a Census Mapping Survey and the state declared the town inactive.

34. RUSO, NORTH DAKOTA // POPULATION: 4

Ruso was founded in the early 20th century by protestants from Ukraine who wanted to escape the influence of the Russian Orthodox church. Many took homesteads for farming and ranching in North Dakota. By 1910, 71 percent of the state’s population was first- or second-generation immigrants. The new arrivals named Ruso nostalgically, either after a Russian word meaning “south of us” or a combination of the first letters in SOuth RUssia.

35. RENDVILLE, OHIO // POPULATION: 36

Rendville is a former coal mining town with an outsized influence on the history of labor and civil rights in the U.S. Founded in 1879 by William P. Rend, the town quickly gained notoriety as a place where black men could get work as coal miners. Rend hired black and white workers in large numbers, despite violent threats from white miners in neighboring towns. Rendville produced the first black man and woman to serve as mayors in Ohio—Isaiah Tuppins and Sophia Mitchell—along with the country’s first black woman postmaster general, Roberta Preston. Adam Clayton Powell Sr., pastor and cofounder of the National Urban League, and Richard L. Davis, cofounder of the United Mine Workers of America, both worked in Rendville.

36. LOTSEE, OKLAHOMA // POPULATION: 2

George Campbell had been letting Boy Scouts and church groups camp on his ranch for years. But in 1963, the nearby cities of Tulsa and Sand Springs were racing to annex as much surrounding land as possible, and Campbell worried that if either city gobbled up his ranch, he would have to follow local ordinances prohibiting the campers. So he filed to incorporate a new town and named it after his daughter, Lotsee. Today, Lotsee Spradling and her husband Mike are the only two residents in town and their ranch takes up nearly all of its area.

37. GREENHORN, OREGON // POPULATION: 2

With an elevation of 6306 feet, Greenhorn is Oregon’s highest city. Founded during an 1860s gold rush, Greenhorn now serves as a vacation retreat and hunting outpost for a handful of part-time residents. Two people, Joyce Pappel and Ron Bergstrom, account for the town’s entire permanent population. Greenhorn collects no taxes and has no sewers, power lines, or police.

38. CENTRALIA, PENNSYLVANIA // POPULATION: 5

A smoking crack opens in a highway near Centralia, Pennsylvania caused by underground coal fires
Don Emmert // Getty

In 1962, a trash fire in Centralia’s dump spread into an underground coal seam and wouldn’t stop burning for the next two decades. In 1981, a 12-year-old boy was nearly sucked into the subterranean inferno when the ground gave out beneath him. Two years later, Congress set aside $42 million to buy out the town’s 1100 residents, but nine holdouts refused. After another two decades, they won the right to stay in their homes. Those that remain alive are Centralia’s last residents.

39. WATCH HILL, RHODE ISLAND // POPULATION: 154

Watch Hill is a blue-blooded beachside village—home to the Ocean House, a grand hotel built here just after the Civil War—where wealthy families have spent their summers for more than a century and resisted letting newcomers into their enclave. But in 2013, nouveau-riche pop star Taylor Swift plunked down $17.75 million in cash for a 16-room waterfront mansion. For the rest of us, one of two Watch Hill beaches is open to nonresidents.

40. JENKINSVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA // POPULATION: 43

A nuclear reactor in Jenkinsville, South Carolina at sunset

DJSlawSlaw // Wikimedia Commons

Jenkinsville successfully installed sidewalks, curbs, and streetlights through federal grants. But Jenkinsville is also the site of a slightly larger construction project: two nuclear reactors. Joining its existing 30-year-old reactor is a pair of new 1117-megawatt reactors, the first such structures built in the U.S. in three decades. They’re scheduled to start running by 2021, and each will provide enough electricity to power 640,000 homes.

41. HILLSVIEW, SOUTH DAKOTA // POPULATION: 2

It might be hard to find Hillsview, a half-square-mile patch of territory near South Dakota’s northern border. There used to be two signs that pointed toward the town from the highway, but vandals stole one of them, and the county took down the other down, reasoning that they couldn’t direct drivers to a place with no services to speak of. Now Hillsview’s two residents, a mother and son named Helen and Cletus Imberi, use the town’s only revenue—a small transportation allotment—to keep the Hillsview’s eight streetlights on, which illuminate their home, an abandoned school, and a hardware store.

42. SAULSBURY, TENNESSEE // POPULATION: 112

Saulsbury used to be renowned for its valuable sand. In the 1870s, the sand mining industry took off and the town shipped 47 different kinds of sand to nearly every state in the country.

43. LOS YBANEZ, TEXAS // POPULATION: 19

In 1980, Israel Ybanez snapped up an auctioned parcel of government land in western Texas with one goal: open dry Dawson County’s only liquor store. He incorporated the town in 1983, installed his wife as mayor, got his liquor license, and opened a take-out beer store. For three decades, Ybanez did brisk business as the only booze merchant for miles, eventually expanding to also sell wine and spirits. Ybanez died in 2014, but there are three liquor stores in Los Ybanez today.

44. BONANZA, UTAH // POPULATION: 1

Bonanza is a company town, owned by the American Gilsonite Co., at the center of the only commercial gilsonite mining operation in the world. You may not have heard of gilsonite, but this shiny black subspecies of asphalt is the stuff that shades the ink in your printer and seals your car to keep dust from drifting in from the road. Most of the company’s 225 workers live 48 miles away in Vernal, but Bonanza still encompasses 26 houses, processing plants and administrative buildings.

45. NEWFANE VILLAGE, VERMONT // POPULATION: 113

Newfane Village is a small incorporated enclave within the larger town of Newfane—a cluster of old, historic homes and small stores surrounded by forest. The settlement dates back to 1825 and its “village” status is a holdover from an archaic local government structure that Vermont abandoned by the 1930s. With its idiosyncratic government and its 60 white-clapboard, black-shuttered homes, Newfane Village has been described as a “microcosm of Vermont” and the “epitome of small-town New England.”

46. CLINCHPORT, VIRGINIA // POPULATION: 66

Clinchport started as a port for loggers transporting logs down the Clinch River to Chattanooga. The loggers rode the logs downstream, guided them into port at Chattanooga, and then hitched a ride back to Clinchport to chop down another tree. The town grew until 1977, when the Clinch River flooded and washed away many of its homes and businesses. Clinchport was never rebuilt. Today the Clinch River is renowned for its biodiversity. With over 130 species of fish and 40 species of mussels—many of them threatened or endangered—it is the most biodiverse river in the country.

47. KRUPP, WASHINGTON // POPULATION: 49

The town of Krupp was incorporated in 1911 and still officially bears that name—but everybody calls the place Marlin, because of a grudge against the Germans that dates back to World War I. During that conflict, the German Krupp gun factory manufactured much of the artillery the Axis powers fired on Allied soldiers. Queasy about this association, the town started calling itself Marlin, after John Marlin, the town’s first white settler.

48. THURMOND, WEST VIRGINIA // POPULATION: 6

William D. Thurmond, a former captain in the Confederate army, got 73 acres of land along the New River Gorge in 1873 as payment for his work as a surveyor. With rich coal fields and access to a nearby railroad junction, Thurmond’s property quickly attracted miners and merchants from across West Virginia. Saloons and gambling houses quickly followed. The town of Thurmond came to be known as the “Dodge City of the East” and was described as “hell with a river through it.” As the coal industry dried up, so did the town, until only five residents remained by 2015. That year, Thurmond became the smallest town in America to unanimously ban housing and employment discrimination against LGBT people.

49. ODANAH, WISCONSIN // POPULATION: 13

Odanah is the seat of government of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians on the Bad River Reservation. During the 1850 Sandy Lake Tragedy, 400 Chippewa died of disease, starvation, and cold when the federal government tried to force them to relocate west of the Mississippi. In 1854, the government granted the tribe permanent reservations in Wisconsin. Today, the Bad River Band has more than 7000 members, most living on the roughly 125,000 acres of undeveloped land in the reservation.

50. (PHINDELI TOWN) BUFORD, WYOMING // POPULATION: 1

All of Buford belongs to Pham Dinh Nguyen, a Vietnamese businessman who bought the place solely to promote his brand of gourmet coffee. He even unofficially renamed it PhinDeli Town Buford after the coffee. Nguyen, who reportedly walks around his native Ho Chi Minh City wearing a cowboy hat and calling himself “the mayor,” paid $900,000 in an online auction to buy Buford’s five buildings in 2013. He leases the town to a caretaker named Jason Hirsch, who runs a convenience store and gas station called the Buford Trading Post. It is the town’s sole business and the only place in America where you can buy PhinDeli coffee. Hirsch, however, doesn’t live in town. Buford’s one resident is Brandon Hoover, who lives in a modest house behind the gas station. Hoover shares Buford with a horse named Sugar, Buford’s unofficial mascot.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios