There is a town in New York State that, at one time, was made up! Not like a town created for a movie or even a ghost town. This town had no stores, restaurants or street lights. Heck, this town didn't even have streets! Even though it appeared on maps of New York State, it simply did not exist.

As time went on, this fake town became real because people believed it was real. This is the story of New York's 'paper town'.

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Before traveling around the countryside listening to our GPS telling us where to turn, we set out on the great American road trip using maps. You could find a paper map in any gas station and we relied on them to get from one place to the next. According to Atlas Obscura a paper town is a location that only exists on a paper map and New York has one of the country's most famous paper towns, Agloe.

Agloe, New York was invented by the General Drafting Company in 1925. Cartographer's, or map makers, would place fake towns on their maps to protect against someone copying their map. The 'trap towns' could potentially prove their copyright had been infringed.

National Drafting Company
National Drafting Company
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In the 1950s, the Agloe General Store was built at the intersection shown on the map and new maps started including the town of Agloe. When the General Drafting Company sued for copyright infringement they lost because Agloe had actually turned into a hamlet. All because people believed the fake town existed.

Author John Green wrote the book 'Paper Towns' which debuted at #5 on the New York Times Best seller list in 2009 and, in 2015, went on to become a movie of the same name.


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