Have You Heard of This Mysterious ‘Phantom Town’ in Upstate New York?
If you carefully examine an old map of New York, odds are, you'd be able to find a small hamlet, called Agloe.
Agloe was founded around the year 1930, and sits in Colchester in Delaware County, southwest of Albany and the Capital Region. Nestled into the area around the Catskill Mountains, Agloe was about as rural as it gets.
Now, how could it be, that when a New Yorker tried to drive to Agloe, they never found it?
Introducing Agloe, New York, the Phantom Settlement of Upstate New York
While listening to a recent episode of the Nateland Podcast, hosted by comedian Nate Bargatze, I learned of a concept called a phantom settlement, or paper town. The concept is one out of the world of cartography, and was something that was used in many old-school maps of the United States.
Paper towns were a common copyright trick, meaning that cartographers would include fake towns somewhere in their maps in order to distinguish their work from others. In essence, if another cartographer included this town on their map, the originator would know that they were being copied.
So, naturally, after hearing of this concept, I had to look up phantom settlements in New York. That is when I came across the fictional hamlet of Agloe.
YouTuber alittlebituseful explains more here:
The hamlet's name, Agloe, is actually an anagram, made up of the initials of the names of the cartographer and his assistant. Otto G. Lindberg and Ernest Alpers of General Drafting are responsible for the town's creation, and nearly got into a legal battle with Rand McNally after the latter had included it in a map of his own.
Agloe, New York gained attention in 2008, when author John Green featured it prominently in his book, the aptly-titled Paper Towns. Without ruining the book, and its subsequent movie adaptation, Agloe ends up being an important location for one character who is searching for another.
You can actually visit the "location" where Agloe is supposed to be located. The hamlet was placed at latitude: 41.9583, longitude: -74.9043 on a map, and it might make a fun day trip for those looking to explore the more peculiar side of the Empire State.