Crossakiel, in County Meath, is often considered a part of nearby Kells (Irish: Ceanannas). Kells, is famously known for being the namesake of the illuminated manuscript, The Book of Kells. Though it’s unknown exactly when Crossakiel was established, Kells has been a town since as early as the 12th century. During English invasion in the Middle Ages, Kells was a border town on the English Pale, and later during the Irish Potato Famine around the 1840s, it lost almost 40% of its population.
The Cosy Corner (pictured above) in Crossakiel used to be a pub and a grocery, but is now closed. The Crossakiel Handball Club can also be seen above. Handball is very popular in Crossakiel and has been since as early as the 1920s. The church pictured above is St Shiria’s Church, which was part of the Church of Ireland and is recorded as far back as 1761. The church is no longer in use, as it no longer has a roof or door.
The population of Crossakiel today is unknown, but the town of Kells has a population of nearly 6,000 residents. Kells is known today in media for being the setting of the Oscar-nominated film, The Secret of Kells.
Gyékényes is a Hungarian town which lies right on the border between Hungary and Croatia. The area on which Gyékényes stands has been evidenced to be inhabited since Roman times. Gyékényes is first mentioned in 1380 CE, in which it was property that rotated between many families. In 1600, it was occupied by the Ottomans during the Siege of Nagykanizsa. The town wouldn’t be taken back until 1677 and today it has about 1000 citizens. The exact reason for the amount of abandoned buildings is unknown. The majority of buildings in Gyékényes are in style of Baroque or Neo-Baroque, with a more rural and simplistic appearance than typical Baroque buildings, as are many Baroque buildings in Hungary.
Coudersport was founded when the Ceres Land Company purchased the land in 1796 to create a new town and county. Its name comes from a man, John Coudere, who provided loans so that the company could purchase the land. However, the land wasn’t settled until 1813, when a family of seven built a cabin. Shortly after, a blacksmith, mill, prison, bar, store, and school were created. As more mills were built, people moved to the town looking for work. Soon enough, Presbyterian and Methodist churches were founded. One of the resident’s homes is notable for being a station of the Underground Railroad. In his house, he had a secret room to hide fugitive slaves and many of the people of the town helped to hide the slaves as well. The town grew quickly, gaining a hotel, tannery, courthouse, and boarding school among other things. It is also notable for being the residence and death place of Eliot Ness, an American agent who strongly enforced Prohibition. Coudersport reached its peak population in 1900, at about 3,200 residents, and lost many of its residents in the 50s. Today, Coudersport has a population of under 2,500 residents.
41 46’26″N, 78 01’07″W
Sparta was established in 1795 and was a major producer in cotton. After a plantation owner in Sparta died, he left the estate to his daughter Amanda America Dickson, whose mother was a slave, and for a long time, she was believed to be the wealthiest Black woman in the US. Sparta lost most of its population in 1918 after World War I, when the market for cotton crashed. In 1921, Jean Toomer came to Sparta to work as a principal at a Black agriculture and industrial school, and later wrote about it in his first, and often considered most important, novel, Cane. Toomer would later go on to marry Dickson and become an important author and poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Today, there are about 1,500 residents in Sparta.
Tannersville is a little town nestled in the Catskills that was founded in 1895 on the lumber and leather industries and gained its name from the many tanneries around it. Tannersville’s economy was also built around its railroad, and when the car became popular in the 1920s, Tannersville lost much of its population. Perhaps its most incredible historical landmark is the Cold Springs House. The old hotel, built in the 1890s, belonged to Leonard Bieber and has over 200 rooms. It ceased opporating as a hotel in the 1960s when it was abandoned. It was a Jewish hotel (in fact, the first Jewish hotel) and kept all its meals kosher and served many Jewish guests, though it is now soon to be demolished, if it isn’t already. Today, about 500 people reside in Tannersville.
Hamlet was founded in x when John Shortridge started a saw mill in the area. The name is said to be attributed to Shortridge naming it after the word used for a small, rural neighbourhood in England, ‘hamlet’. Hamlet soon got a railroad and railroad workers began to populate the town. Of Hamlet’s residents was John Coltrane, born there in the 20s. In 1991, a fire broke out at a chicken packaging plant, killing twenty-five people. Another famous resident of Hamlet is Ashton Locklear, part of the women’s gymnastic team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.