Something strange about a town you know

I was going to say a local town, but I don’t want to compromise anyone’s anonymity. So let’s just say: a town you know. Here’s a few odd or unusual things about a couple of towns in Sussex (UK), not far from me.

Burgess Hill: the shops huddle together for safety. No, really. I mean, if you were a Dental Practice, it would be scary to be all on your own, right? So these three huddle together for mutual protection. And as for estate agents (I believe the US term is Realtors) – they are proper scaredy cats. There are so many here that I can’t get them all in one streetview shot, but from left to right you’re looking at Mansell McTaggert, Sterling, Fox & Sons, Stanley & Partners, an interloping food and wine store, and The Letting People. Five out of six businesses in a row. You should be impressed, but as this is streetview, you can turn around and look behind you – and there are two more (!!) on the opposite side of the road.

Haywards Heath is just up the road from BH. In my view, it has two worthwhile claims to fame. First, it’s most famous resident, the Oscar-nominated film editor Roderick Jaynes, doesn’t exist. In his own words and in Wikipedia . Second, it has a blue plaque commemorating…… a pigeon called Commando.

I could go on, but I’d rather hear fun stuff about a town you know – got anything you’d like to share?


They’re converted semi-detached houses. That must have been really weird for whoever’s living in the house in the middle - the family next door moves out and a dentist moves in and sets up shop, then another and another. Like the beginning to a really slow horror movie…

Also, I don’t know why Google have blurred this house’s plant pot.

I’ve never quite gotten the allure of Bubble Gum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California, but there it is. Folks have been contributing to its, ummm, art medium for more than 40 years.

We can probably agree it is a distinguishing feature of the town.

When I visit my brother up near St. Louis, I always try to go by the World’s Largest catsup bottle:

Can’t think of another reason to visit Collinsville, IL…


I wonder where Trojan condoms are made? They could have a wall of, ummmm, well…


Hot Springs, Arkansas has had a very storied existence. For one thing the hot springs were turned into bath-houses. Claimed to cure all manner of ailments.
There were gambling casinos resulting in gangsters appearing. They got shut down. The horse racing carried on even though “gambling” was not really legal. They had special permissions.
There were many years of corrupt City government. Shoot outs in the streets.
Crazy place. It’s still a fun place to visit.
I’ve spent many happy hours there.

OK, here’s one. There’s a town called Havre in central Montana, about 40 miles from the Canadian border. There’s a little town under the streets of the actual town. It started at the turn of the 20th century when fire destroyed the town and merchants moved underground during construction. During the 1920’s, the underground was used to stockpile bootlegged hooch from over the boarder. There was a bordello, shops, and at least one opium den.

In February 1968 the small northwestern Alabama town of Haleyville rolled out 9-1-1 service, the first place in the United States to do so.

Despite the heavy involvement of AT&T in the process of developing protocols for a simple emergency number it was the small independent Alabama Telephone Company that implemented the system that delivered the first 9-1-1 call.

Arco Idaho was the first town in the world to be supplied with electricity generated solely by nuclear power.

Kokomo indiana had one of the first practical automobile companies and their ars participated in the first car race in america heres a wiki on the car company Haynes-Apperson - Wikipedia

That is truly appalling. Exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for. Thank you.


I’m sorry but NINETEEN SIXTY EIGHT?? That was, like, five minutes ago!

I’ll ask…
What would be scary about being the only dentist in the area? And, what does grouping them together protect them from?

Now, I have a friend that owns a bunch of car dealerships and he’s found that his dealerships that are, more or less, the only one in the city don’t do as well as his dealerships that are in an area with three or four others. However, that’s different. That works because people aren’t sure what kind of car they want, so they go to a place where they can see multiple makes (ie Chevy, Honda, Nissan etc) in one trip. Most people don’t go from dentist to dentist in one day.
The only way that would really make sense to me is if one was a dentist, one an orthodontist, another an endodontist etc.

Lastly, what’s with the cars parked in the real estate picture. Are people allowed to park on either side of the road or do they prefer to park in alternating directions?

I live near Apollo, PA. Firstly, it’s a palindrome. As if that’s not enough, at the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Apollo, Pennsylvania, was the only place in the world named Apollo*****. Coincidentally, it is in Armstrong County, and the name of the first astronaut to walk on the moon was Neil Armstrong. On the day of the moon landing, members of the Apollo fire department dressed up as astronauts and ceremoniously drove to nearby Moon Township, where they planted a flag and returned with some “Moon Soil”.

***** Apollo was originally named Warren, PA. But, this caused confusion with another town named Warren. In 1848 they renamed the town Apollo to fix the problem.

The town I grew up in has the Automile - a whole bunch of dealerships in a row, and they’ve even banded together to form their own group. An unusual case of competing businesses working together.

It’s been mathematically proven that like businesses tend to clump together, although it obviously doesn’t happen all the time.

There’s a Wikipedia article on it but I don’t remember its name. The gist of it is: if there is an optimal location for a particular business, businesses won’t do worse by moving closer to that optimal location, even if it is closer to competitors, because they will still be the closest business to everyone on the other side of them. Taken to extremes, this results in lots of like businesses clumped together, and you don’t even need zoning or the “shopping around incentive” effect to create it, although those may play a part.

Stull, Kansas - which is part way between Lawrence and Topeka - is the gateway to Hell. Or one of them anyway.


For my contribution, the small towns in E. Texas called Sacul and Reklaw.

Aww, checking wikipedia says my original story was wrong, but in both of these cases, they wanted to name the town after someone - the Lucas family in the first case, and Alice Walker, in the second - but there were already towns with those names.

So they just reversed the names and ran with that.

(the original story had a person name Lucas Walker founding 4 different towns. Easy story to believe, because the towns are 5 miles apart. Or would that make it harder to believe?)

Hotelling’s Law - mentioned in the Coincidentally aptly named scientific phenomena, laws or equations because it happens to hotels.