Smallest Town In New York State On The Brink of Ghost Town Status?
I have no idea what it's like to be from a super small town. You know, the kind of town that people have never heard of or you drive by and didn't even know it was there.
My fiancee is from Holley, NY, which has an estimated population of just under 1,700...that's definitely a small town. But there are even smaller towns in Western New York and the smallest has an estimated population under 60 people and at one point, had a population of just 38 people. That town is Red House, New York.
The story of Red House is fascinating. It's located in Cattaraugus County -- roughly 70 miles from downtown Buffalo.
Red House has a population under 60 people, and in 2014, and a population of less than 40. Why does it have that small of a population? What happened to this town over the years?
Once upon a time, according to USA Today, Red House had a population of more than 1,000 people during the late 1800s. Then New York State created Allegany State Park in the early 1900s and started to seize properties in Red House. The Kinzua Dam was built by the mid-20th century and further dwindled the population, along with construction. Soon, the population reached 38 by the early 2010s.
Former NFL running back for the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions, Marv Hubbard is from Red House, which is crazy to think about. He rushed for over 4,500 yards in his NFL career between 1968-1977.
There's even a ghost story of Red House; according to legend, a man died during the Civil War and his widow married his brother. The romance made the families angry and both took their own lives and haunted the town forever.
The population of Red House makes one wonder if this town at some point will become a true ghost town in the state of New York.
You may have heard about New York towns such as Tahawus, Doodletown, and Pottersville. All were abandoned and some of the building structures remained in place. Could Red House one day have the same fate? Much of the town has the feeling of a ghost town, as more and more people moved away and buildings were shuttered.
The fact Red House has stood the test of time, however, is a testament to the people who spent their lives there. Raising families, doing work, and making a very small town like that their homes.
Marrying a girl from a small town has given me a greater appreciation for the way of life people from small towns have and to be honest, it's something I'm bummed I missed out on growing up. There's nothing like small-town life.