We've gathered a few of our favorite imaginary places in America from fiction, film and TV. (As denizens of ePodunk, the digital doppelganger of Podunk, NY, we admit to a special weakness for places with strong connections to real cities and towns.)
More, from ePodunk users.
- Bedford Falls - Frank Capra, director of the Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life," may have patterned the town after Seneca Falls, NY.
- Castle Rock, ME - Setting for several Stephen King thrillers, including "Needful Things," "The Dead Zone" and "Cujo." Kirkus Reviews points out that King describes the place as Our Town, ME, but really it's Consumerville, USA. Although there actually is an island in Maine called Castle Rock, this is, thankfully, a fiction created by the author, a native of Portland and summer resident of Lovell.
- Cicely - Quirky Alaskan community in the TV series, "Northern Exposure." Actually filmed in Roslyn, WA.
- East Egg & West Egg - The affluent and not-so-affluent neighborhoods on Long Island Sound, depicted in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby." Fitzgerald wrote the book while living in Great Neck, NY.
- Field of Dreams - Hollywood built it and the tourists are still coming. The filming location of the 1989 movie is a major attraction in Dyersville, IA.
- Gilligan's Island - Home to Gilligan, the skipper, too, a millionaire and his wife. Filmed on Coconut Island, HI.
- Gopher Prairie - Setting for Sinclair Lewis novel, "Main Street." Lewis grew up in Sauk Centre, MN.
- Lake Wobegon - Imaginary hometown of radio host Garrison Keillor, who spent his boyhood in Anoka, MN.
- Mayberry - Hometown of Andy, Barney, Gomer, Opie and Aunt Bee, patterned after Andy Griffith's birthplace, Mount Airy, NC.
- Maycomb - Setting for the book and the movie, "To Kill a Mockingbird." Author Harper Lee grew up in Monroeville, AL.
- Peyton Place - It might not have been literature, but it sold like crazy. Folks in Gilmanton, NH, weren't pleased.
- Springfield - Home of the Homer Simpson family. Scholars have analyzed the clues - "NT" appears as the state name on Homer's driver's license. The cartoon town is hilly. It's small enough to have just one elementary school, large enough to have a TV station, a natural history museum, a revolving restaurant and an international airport. Our favorite observation, from a posting on an extraordinarily detailed fans' site: "The bird that lands on Homer's head is an American White Pelican; they are generally not found east and north of the Mississippi River valley and Florida." There too many states with cities called Springfield for us to link Homer's address to any of them.
- Tara - "It's the land, Scarlett. It's the land!" Jonesboro, GA, lays claim to being Margaret Mitchell's inspiration.
- Xanadu - Citizen Kane's mansion, heaped high with art and antiquities, bears a close resemblance to the real-life San Simeon, estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.
- Yoknapatawpha County - William Faulkner set most of his fiction here. Faulkner grew up in Oxford, MS.
Send us suggestions.