US Cities With a Population of Less Than 100: Exploring the Hidden Gems
When we think of the United States, bustling cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago often come to mind. These metropolitan areas are known for their vibrant cultures, towering skyscrapers, and thriving economies. However, beyond the glitz and glamor of these urban giants, lies a lesser-known side of America—small towns with populations of less than 100.
The Charms of Small-Town America
While these small towns may not have the same level of fame or recognition as their larger counterparts, they offer a unique charm and a chance to experience the true essence of American life. With their close-knit communities, picturesque landscapes, and rich histories, these hidden gems provide a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Zoar Village, Ohio: A Step Back in Time
Founded in 1817 by German religious dissenters, Zoar Village in Ohio is a town steeped in history. With a population of just 169, this small town has preserved its German heritage and its original buildings. Zoar was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 2016, ensuring the preservation of its unique cultural and architectural heritage. Visitors can explore the town's historic buildings, such as the Zoar Hotel, where former U.S. President William McKinley was known to enjoy the German cuisine. For a step back in time and a taste of German-American history, Zoar Village is a must-visit destination.
Blackwater, Missouri: A Window into the Past
Blackwater, Missouri, takes its name from the Blackwater River and is a town with a population of 162. Despite its small size, Blackwater is home to several historical sites. The Blackwater Commercial Historic District, Blackwater Residential Historic District, and Imhoff Archeological Site are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These sites offer visitors a glimpse into the town's past and its significance in Missouri's history. With its historical charm and scenic surroundings, Blackwater is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.
Embracing Nature's Beauty in Small-Town America
In addition to their rich histories and cultural offerings, small towns in America often boast breathtaking natural landscapes. From mountains and rivers to national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, these towns provide a gateway to explore the great outdoors.
Oatman, Arizona: A Gold Rush Relic
Once a bustling mining camp, Oatman, Arizona, now has a population of just 128. Despite its small size, Oatman has a rich history tied to the gold rush era. In 1915, the town struck gold, leading to a population boom of 3,500. Today, visitors can explore the remnants of this bygone era, including the historic Oatman Hotel and the Oatman Jail. The town's streets are also home to a unique sight—wild burros that roam freely. Oatman's charming Old West atmosphere and its connection to the gold rush era make it a must-visit destination for history buffs and nature enthusiasts alike.
Hyder, Alaska: Where Wilderness Meets Adventure
Located in Alaska's easternmost corner, Hyder is a small town with a population of just 87. Despite its size, Hyder is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The town's proximity to Stewart, British Columbia, makes it an ideal base for exploring both American and Canadian wilderness. Visitors can experience the breathtaking Fish Creek Bear Viewing Area, where they can observe grizzly bears feasting on salmon in their natural habitat. Hyder also hosts the annual Hyder Seek motorcyclist gathering, attracting bikers from around the world. For those seeking adventure and a close encounter with nature, Hyder is the perfect destination.
Balltown, Iowa: Preserving History and Tradition
With a population of 79, Balltown, Iowa, may be small, but it has a rich history and a strong sense of community. The town is home to Iowa's oldest bar and restaurant, Breitbach's Country Dining, which has been a beloved gathering place since 1852. Despite facing two devastating fires that destroyed the original building, the tight-knit community came together to rebuild the iconic establishment. Today, Breitbach's Country Dining continues to serve up delicious meals and warm hospitality. Balltown's commitment to preserving its history and tradition is evident in every corner of this charming town.
Riverside, Wyoming: Where Cold Meets Warmth
Riverside, Wyoming, may have a population of just 52, but it holds a unique distinction—it is the coldest inhabited town in the state. Despite its chilly climate, Riverside's residents are known for their warmth and hospitality. The town is surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of Carbon County, offering ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and wildlife spotting. Riverside's small population and close-knit community make it an ideal destination for those seeking a quiet retreat in the heart of Wyoming's natural splendor.
Exploring the Cultural Delights of Small-Town America
While small towns are often associated with natural beauty and historical charm, they also offer a surprising array of cultural experiences. From art galleries and museums to local festivals and traditions, these towns are bursting with creativity and vibrant community spirit.
Dorset, Minnesota: Where Everybody Can Be the Mayor
With a population of just 24, Dorset, Minnesota, may be small, but it has a big personality. The town holds a unique tradition—every year, the residents elect a "Mayor of Dorset" by drawing names out of a hat. This whimsical and inclusive practice has gained national attention, attracting visitors who want to witness this quirky election. Despite its small size, Dorset also boasts the title of the "Restaurant Capital of the World," with four restaurants serving its 24 residents. Whether you're vying for the title of Mayor or simply looking for a delightful dining experience, Dorset is a town that embraces its small-town charm with a big heart.
Gilbert, Arkansas: Where Nature and Adventure Await
Located in one of the coldest areas of Arkansas, Gilbert is the smallest municipality in the state, with a population of just 28. Despite its size, Gilbert is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The town's proximity to the Buffalo River makes it a popular destination for canoeing and fishing. Visitors can explore the scenic landscapes, rent cabins, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty that surrounds the town. Gilbert's small population and tranquil setting make it an ideal getaway for those seeking a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature.
The Forks, Maine: Where Privacy and Adventure Meet
With a population of just 37 and 0.9 people per square mile, The Forks, Maine, offers a level of privacy and seclusion that is hard to find elsewhere. Situated next to the Kennebec River, The Forks is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities, including whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, and wildlife spotting. The town's breathtaking natural beauty, combined with its small-town charm, creates an unforgettable experience for those seeking adventure and tranquility.
Small Towns, Big Discoveries
While the United States is known for its bustling cities, it's the small towns that often hold the most surprising and delightful experiences. From historical landmarks and natural wonders to vibrant communities and cultural traditions, these hidden gems offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of America. So, next time you're planning a trip, consider veering off the beaten path and exploring the small towns that make America truly special.