Clinton, Iowa
Population: 26,885

“The largest, most elaborate party ever held in Clinton celebrated the debut of Emma Lamb and the twentieth wedding anniversary of her parents, Artemus and Henrietta Sabrina Smith Lamb on October 13, 1885. Fellow lumber baron F.C. Weyerhauser, his wife and daughter attended together with several hundred guests all attired in formal wear. The era of opulence came to an end by 1900, as the northern forests were depleted. The sawmills closed, but the railroad and river, providing economical transportation in all directions, attracted manufacturing and heavy industry. The city still boasts a number of magnificent Victorian mansions, including the Curtis Mansion, now the home of the Clinton Women’s Club.

In January 2011, Clinton opened the world’s first-ever site of noted rapper Flavor Flav’s fast food chain, Flav’s Fried Chicken. This was due to the fact that Flav’s business partner, Nick Cimino, is a Clinton native and felt that the restaurant’s opening would be good for the community. The restaurant was closed down after a mere four months due to low staff retention and bad checks, among other concerns. Rapper Flav has gone on record stating ‘that restaurant manager Nick Cimino wasn’t running the business right.’”

Elsie serves burgers and beer to her friends, who are regular patrons at the Monowi Tavern. She opens the bar at 9am for breakfast and has last call around 10pm, or earlier if business is slow.

She drives around to visit her friends and children with  a “Monowi 1” license plate.

The last event at the town church was the funeral for Elsie’s father over 50 years ago. Monowi’s peak years were in the 1930s, when it had a population of 150.

Elsie also runs the famous town library, where you borrow the key, let yourself in, pick what you like, and write your name down by the door before you leave.


The City of Refuge (also known as Miracle Park or Miracle Village) isn’t so much a city as it is a small South Florida village in the middle of nowhere. In the 1960s, the community served as barracks for U.S. Sugar’s Jamaican employees, who tended the thousands of acres of sugarcane that still surround the place. Today, however, it is home to approximately 120 registered sex offenders. Yes, somewhere in Florida, there is a land of sex offenders surrounded by candy.

6 Of The Weirdest Tiny Towns In The United States

If I were walking down the street in your small to mid-sized town and you said, “Good morning,” or, “Good day,” or, “Greetings, friend,” as I passed you by, my instant reaction would be, “What the fuck is wrong with that guy?” I know most people would say you were just being friendly, and hell, even I know that, but it’s hard-wired when you grow up with a big-city mentality: Talking to strangers is weird.

Of course, you know this. It’s why people think big-city folk are rude. No one smiles at each other. No one says hi. But I’d offer that this behavior is less about rudeness and more of just a numbers game. There are simply too many people to say hi to. Every morning, I ride a train with hundreds of people I don’t know and usually don’t recognize. Then I walk through a major train station surrounded by thousands of bustling strangers. Then it’s into a subway taking me underground to work. And even though I’m going to the same place every day, varied only by which train I catch, I almost never recognize the strangers, because there are so many. Also, everyone in the city wears masks 24/7. Did I mention that?

5 Ways Living In A Big City Warps How You See The World

I’m dedicating my #PostItForward to small-town kids with big-city dreams. 

I’m currently spending a few days in my super small, midwestern hometown before I fly off to NYC on Thursday to start my internship at Tumblr. Life is crazy sometimes.

Growing up, I was different. I wanted to make art and sit at my computer while it seemed like everyone around me wanted to play football and hangout at the local empty parking lot. 

My mom would get upset because I would come home from high school and hide away in my room. Little did she know, I was teaching myself the ins and outs of design, the Internet, and life in general (and probably spending maybe just a little too much time on Tumblr). I wanted to make things with my computer that would make other people happy.

And now I get to! A week from today, I’ll start at Tumblr as their very first Product Design Intern. 

So here is my #PostItForward takeaway message: if you’re living in a small town, and the opportunities and chances to do what you love are looking even smaller, please do not fret—with enough determination, patience, and hard work, I believe everyone has the opportunity to do something great. Even you.

It will take time, persistence, and a whole bunch of self-acceptance, but I’m certain even the biggest of dreams can become a reality. 

If some time-traveling prophet told me 5 years ago that I’d be embarking on this journey, I would have laughed in his or her face. 

Trust me, if I can make this happen for myself, so can you. I wholeheartedly believe in you.


Austin (@austinwbaird)

Because we’re finally realizing that a Dukes of Hazzard situation isn’t just going to happen to us unless we start taking steps to make it happen, we started looking into rural law enforcement. We talked to an ex-deputy from the Scott County Sheriff’s Department in northern Tennessee, a region so rural that it used to have a road called “N***** Bend” (and no, the “N” did not stand for “Nacho”). Here are some of the other hilarious things we learned about down-home crime fighting…

6 Things I Did as a Cop in a Shockingly Corrupt Small Town