Can You Name What These Small Towns Are Renowned For?


By: Jonnathan Chadwick

7 Min Quiz

Image: ddmitr / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami and Chicago are often recognized as America's most popular cities. They're global hubs, jam-packed with everything America has to offer, and there's no denying their importance. If you want to learn about the history of America, you have to visit a major city. That's why they're major cities.

But plenty of the country's history was established in smaller towns. The Pilgrims didn't land at NYC, and John Smith didn't create the colony of Washington, D.C. Ponce de Leon didn't hit the Miami strip, and the shot heard 'round the world wasn't fired in Boston. Abraham Lincoln never delivered the Los Angeles Address, and the Chicago witch trials never happened. America's big cities are popular around the world, but America's small towns are historic.

What do you know about the small but legendary towns in this country? Do you know where the Mayflower landed or where the first permanent colony was established? Do you remember the directions to the Fountain of Youth, or can you name America's deadliest battle? Where did the American Revolution begin, and where did those witch trials happen? What is America's chocolate capital, and where do the Simpsons live?

Take a look at these small towns, and see if you can guess why they're famous.

You don't need a sweet tooth to know why Hershey, Pennsylvania, is famous. What is the town known for?

Milton S. Hershey sold the first Hershey bar in 1900, and the chocolates have been made in Hershey, Pennsylvania, ever since. Milton and his wife Catherine had first class tickets on the 1912 Titanic voyage but canceled last minute. The $300 check he had written for the tickets still exists.


What's the name of this New England town where Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower and had the first Thanksgiving?

About 130 English passengers, including some Puritans, spent two months traveling on the Mayflower from England to New England in 1620. Legend has it the group landed on a boulder, later known as Plymouth Rock. The site of the Mayflower landing is honored in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


This town in upstate New York shares a name with one of the most famous music festivals ever. Do you know it?

The 1969 Woodstock music festival has gone down in history as one of the greatest, mostly because of the poor planning of the show's producers. They made so many mistakes they ended up putting on the show for free, which led to half a million people showing up. Technically, the massive concert took place on a farm in Bethel, New York, about 60 miles from Woodstock.


Punxsutawney Phil, from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is the most famous groundhog in the world. What does he do?

Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the weather since 1887. Some loyal fans claim he predicts winter with 100% accuracy, but records put him at about 39%. In 2015, the police department of Merrimack, New Hampshire, issued a warrant for his arrest for failing to predict epic snowfalls that year.


What's the name of this town in New Mexico where aliens crash landed in 1947?

Roswell is the site of probably the most famous UFO incident in America. Back in 1947, a rancher saw what looked like a crashed UFO on his land. Apparently, the object was a military weather balloon. The incident gained nationwide fame, died down for decades and then resurfaced in the 1980s.


More than 2 million people flock to the small town of Keystone, South Dakota, every year. Why?

Mount Rushmore was originally designed to showcase four presidents from head to waist, but funding dried up after 14 years of construction. The four presidents depicted are Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln.


What sports hall of fame is located in Cooperstown, New York?

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was created in 1939, and today more than 300 members are honored on its walls. The population of Cooperstown is less than 2,000 people, but more than a quarter of a million people visit the museum each year.


What is Dodge City, Kansas, known for?

Dodge City is nicknamed the "Cowboy Capital of the World," "King of Cowtowns" and "The Wickedest Little City in America." The town was once ruled by cowboys and robbers, and the legendary Wyatt Earp was once the marshal of the city.


Do you know about the wicked evil court cases that took place in Salem, Massachusetts?

You might find yourself exploring Gallows Hill Road or passing by Witchcraft Heights Elementary School when driving around Salem, Massachusetts. The 17th-century witch trials have stained the town and continue to define its legacy.


Where did Juan Ponce de Leon visit in 1513, when he was looking for the Fountain of Youth?

St. Augustine, Florida, was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, and it is the oldest American town established by Europeans. Juan Ponce de Leon landed there in 1513 while allegedly looking for the Fountain of Youth, but the town wasn't officially founded until 1565.


The towns of Lexington and Concord are known for what war?

The first shots of the American Revolution were fired at dawn in Lexington, Massachusetts, and Patriot forces were easily driven back to Concord. Ralph Waldo Emerson's "shot heard 'round the world" refers to the first shot fired in Lexington — although no one knows which side fired first.


Do you know the mountain range that soars above Jackson Hole, Wyoming?

The Teton Range in Wyoming is part of the Rocky Mountains. French trappers called the mountains "Les Trios Tetons," meaning "the three breasts" in French. The largest mountain in the range is called the Grand Teton.


Can you name this wine lover's paradise in northern California?

Sonoma and Napa are pretty close to each other, but with Napa's population approaching 100,000, Napa can hardly be called a small town. Sonoma's population sits around 11,000. The town is in the middle of Sonoma Valley and is world-renowned for its winemaking.


After the Wright brothers landed the first airplane flight, they ran to this town and sent a telegram to their father. Where is this?

The Wright brothers successfully completed their airplane flights in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, in 1903, but Kill Devil Hills didn't become a town until 50 years later. Therefore, Kitty Hawk, the closest existing town, takes credit for the first flight.


Do you know the world-famous film festival that is held in Park City, Utah, every year?

Sundance competes with Venice, Berlin, Toronto, Cannes and Tribeca as one of the most important film festivals in the world. Sundance has been held since the 1980s, shining a spotlight on independent filmmakers in the U.S.


What is Bardstown, Kentucky, known for?

With Kentucky producing 95% of the world's bourbon, it's only fitting that the "Bourbon Capital of the World" sits in the state. Bardstown is home to several distilleries, like Jim Beam and Maker's Mark, and the historic Bourbon Trail weaves right through the city.


What is Corbin, Kentucky, known for?

Kentucky Fried Chicken wasn't called KFC when Colonel Harland Sanders began selling fried chicken from his restaurant that still stands in Corbin today. The story of how Sanders started one of the most successful fast food restaurants well into his middle age after dozens of failed ventures is one of America's most inspirational.


In what town will you find this New Jersey Ivy League university that was one of the nine original colonial colleges?

Princeton University was established as the College of New Jersey in 1746. It has a long list of notable alumni, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Supreme Court justices, Vice President Aaron Burr and U.S. presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson.


What presidential family frequently vacations in Kennebunkport, Maine?

The Bush family is to Kennebunkport as the Kennedy family is to Nantucket. The Bush compound has been a summer getaway for the family since the 19th century. President George H.W. Bush used it as his summer White House.


Yellowstone is the world's first national park, but what is this town that became federally protected 40 years earlier?

Yellowstone, established in 1872, is considered to be the world's first national park. The national park program wasn't established yet in 1832, when President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to protect the area known as Hot Springs in Arkansas.


What is Harpers Ferry in West Virginia most known for?

Harpers Ferry sits at the junction of two major rivers, giving it strategic importance during the creation of the country. In the early 18th century, it was the site of the only railroad bridge to span the Potomac River, and it later became the site of John Brown's failed slave revolt.


What kind of town is Aspen, Colorado?

Aspen is named Aspen because it's smothered in aspen trees, and today it's the American equivalent of Zermatt in Switzerland or Chamonix in France. It saw a boom during the silver rush of the 19th century and was resurrected as a ski town in the mid-1900s.


Where did the first McDonald's open?

The history of the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc is a complicated one, but what is understood to be the first McDonald's sits in San Bernardino. The first McDonald's opened by Ray Kroc sits in Des Plaines, Illinois, and was erected 15 years after the original.


The McDonald's Golden Arches aren't allowed in this Arizona town. Where is this red rock city?

Sedona is surrounded by natural red rock formations that people travel from around the world to see. Nobody is allowed to erect anything that takes away from the beauty of the scenery, and the sole McDonald's in town features turquoise arches instead of golden ones.


You've probably heard the story about Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Where does it take place?

Washington Irving's most famous story is probably "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," which is set in the small village of Sleepy Hollow in upstate New York. Sleepy Hollow is actually a village within a town, and its population is about 10,000.


Do you know this one-time whaling capital of the world, featured in the classic novel "Moby Dick"?

Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" has one of the most famous opening lines in literature: "Call me Ishmael." Ishmael begins his epic journey in Nantucket. It was once the whaling capital of the world and today is a national historic landmark. The entire island has only 11,000 residents.


What sports hall of fame is located in Canton, Ohio?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has been in Canton, Ohio, since 1963. The first 17 inductees were enshrined in 1963, and today there are more than 300 members. Players and coaches must be retired for five years before they are eligible for induction.


What is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, known for?

The Battle of Gettysburg is the Civil War's most famous battle because it was the deadliest battle of the war. About 50,000 soldiers were killed in three days of fighting. The Union forces won the battle. Four months later, President Lincoln returned to the spot to deliver the Gettysburg Address.


Which of these movies was partly filmed in the charming town of Beaufort, South Carolina?

Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina and one of the country's most historic, but it's not a small town. Beaufort is a mini Charleston and the second-oldest town in the state. It also served as a setting for many scenes in "Forrest Gump."


Do you know the name of this abandoned Christmas town in the middle of the Arizona desert?

This Christmas attraction in the desert was just as successful as you'd expect a Christmas attraction in the desert to be. It was created in 1937, and today it's fully abandoned and difficult to locate.


Virginia has birthed more U.S. presidents than any other state. What is Jamestown, Virginia, known for?

Jamestown was settled in 1607, and today it's essentially a living museum that sits near the town of Williamsburg. The colony of Roanoke was founded about 20 years earlier but disappeared in 1590, and St. Augustine in Florida was founded by the Spanish, not the English.


Do you know this seaside Rhode Island town that's overflowing with yachts and mega mansions?

Many of Newport's mansions were built in the 1800s by absurdly wealthy families, like the Vanderbilts and the Astors. They built Gothic and Victorian mega-mansions for summer homes that are popular tourist attractions today.


Can you name this desert town in southern California that shares a name with the popular yucca trees in the area?

Joshua Tree in California is home to Joshua Tree National Park and about 7,500 residents. The national park itself is larger than Rhode Island and has been under federal protection for decades. The town and park are ideal for hiking, climbing, bird watching and stargazing.


What's the name of this California beach playground occupied by the rich and famous?

Malibu is home to miles of beach, and the Carbon Beach section of the strip is known as "Billionaire's Beach." Just like the "Millionaires' Row" in Miami or "Billionaires' Row" in NYC, the land is occupied by the uber-wealthy.


What's the name of this Florida beach playground occupied by the rich and famous?

Just like Newport in Rhode Island, Palm Beach in Florida is loaded with Gilded Age mega-mansions built by railroad and trade tycoons of the 19th century. While the Breakers Mansion is a famous destination in Newport, the Breakers Hotel is a famous location in Palm Beach.


There are dozens of towns in America named Springfield. Which Springfield are the Simpsons from?

The Springfields in Massachusetts and Missouri are pretty large. The Simpsons live in a fictional Springfield, but the show's creator, who's from Oregon, said the Springfield in the show is based on the Springfield in Oregon. Clearly, though, no existing Springfield boasts all of the geographic features found in the Simpsons' town.


Do you know this town in Texas that is essentially an art exhibit?

These days, the population of Marfa doesn't top 2,000 residents. The city was settled in the 1880s, and less than 100 years later some guy — Donald Judd — moved there and started installing large art exhibits. Today you can find pop art exhibits like a fake Prada store still standing in the town.


Do you know "The Biggest Little City in the World"?

Residents began settling in Reno in the mid-19th century, and in 1926 the iconic Reno Arch was erected. The town held a contest for the city's slogan, and a Sacramento resident came up with "The Biggest Little City in the World."


What kind of houses can you expect to see if you visit Taos, New Mexico?

A visit to Taos in New Mexico will bring you back to the 15th century. The wood, stone and adobe homes situated in the city have been standing for centuries, making Taos one of the oldest towns in the country.


Can you name the least populous capital city in America?

Montpelier's population is less than 7,500 people, but that number nearly triples on weekdays when people commute to the town for work. Pierre, South Dakota, has a population close to double that of Montpelier, and Juneau, Alaska, quadruples it.


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