I feel like America was built on small towns, but I'm unsure how many really exist today. When I think of a small town I think only a few hundred to a few thousand people live there. However, the consensus is that a population under 20,000 is considered small, that's still a lot of people. For one of my personal projects I am exploring small towns, such as the one I visited for a class. Locke, CA is what has inspired me to tell the stories of small towns in the U.S.
Locke was founded by Chinese immigrants 1915. Many Chinese settled here because they were recruited for farming. As many of us know that live in the Sacramento area farming is huge in the delta where Locke is located. The population of Locke at it's peak was consistently 600 people and during the farming season about 1500. Unfortunately, I am unable to find Locke's official population now although I would estimate it being under 100.
It's considered a semi-ghost town with several abandoned buildings. A lot of those abandoned buildings seemed uninhabitable anyway. For example in the image below you can see in the bottom left hand corner of the window a pigeon residing in this house.
The building with this uniquely carved door was basically collapsing bowing at all the seams.
You're allowed to walk basically anywhere in the town, like on peoples porches and down alleyways. You just have to be respectful because people do live in what you may think is an abandoned building. The porches and alleyways had the weirdest stuff just laying around. Some of it was a part of stores and they were trying to sell it. Other things were just left out from holidays or parties.
Despite some of the weird things in the this small town there were some really cool architectural buildings to photograph and street scenes. My favorite is the empty chair against the fence. I am almost considering framing and hanging it in my house. I also love the one with the cat walking on someones front porch. The town was filled with cats.
Locke has a couple of museums you can explore too. Unfortunately I only took one shot inside the gambling museum. If you want more information about the town I would visit this website.
Any small towns you recommend I visit? Let me know in the comments below.