Georgia Wipes Little Towns Off the Map

If you like the tiny town of Hopeulikit, Ga., you'll have a hard time finding it on a map. The state of Georgia has taken Hopeulikit, along with hundreds of other little communities, off its official maps. Debbie Elliot finds out more from Georgia historian Smith Banks.

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Debbie Elliott. You'll be surprised to know that Texas, Egypt and Birmingham have been taken off the map - of the state of Georgia, that is. The state's department of transportation said the old map was too cluttered and removed nearly 500 small communities to make it easier to read. Some folks who live in those towns aren't so happy about being wiped off the face of the map. One of those little towns is Hopeulikit, Georgia. We've reached a local historian, Smith Banks, just south of Hopeulikit. Mr. Banks, if I drove through Hopeulikit, would I like it?

Mr. SMITH BANKS (Georgia Historian): Well, I hope you would. Hopeulikit is really not a town. It's actually a community. And it was given that name back in the '30s after the highways converged there; it was US 80 and US 25. And it was a great place for a business. And back in the '30s a dance hall was built in this fork of the road. And there was a contest held to decide what was a good name for the dance hall. I think they probably served food too. And they named it Hopeulikit.

ELLIOTT: Now, did you ever go to this dance hall?

Mr. BANKS: No, ma'am. This is before my time. And it's my understanding that the dance hall later burned down and it was replaced by a liquor store. And during that time, I think the dance hall had kind of become a shady place too, kind of a juke joint.

ELLIOTT: Now, I hear that you have your own family history in Hopeulikit.

Mr. BANKS: Yes. Back in the early days, when it was a dance hall, you could go there and beep the horn and a carhop would come out and you could give them an order and probably order a sandwich and a Coca Cola. And back about 1936, my aunt was dating. And so she and her boyfriend rode out - it was just a nice place because we didn't have many paved roads back in those days, in '36. They rode out to Hopeulikit and they tooted the horn and the carhop brought them a Coca Cola and whatever. And at that time, my aunt's boyfriend gave her a diamond ring. They were engaged there. And as he kissed her on the cheek, he said, I hope you like it.

ELLIOTT: Did she like it? Did she marry him?

Mr. BANKS: She certainly did. And they had many years happily married.

ELLIOTT: Smith Banks is a Georgia historian. For those of you who still want to see for yourself if you like Hopeulikit, you'll still be able to find it on maps published by Rand McNally. Thank you so much for speaking with us, Mr. Banks.

Mr. BANKS: You're quite welcome. I enjoyed it.

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