Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania
Marcus Hook is a very small town both in population and area with a rich history dating back to the 1600s. During the 20th century the town became completely surrounded by vast oil refineries and other industry. Marcus Hook is well worn but still vital and densely packed with homes and businesses. The inhabited section of Marcus Hook is a strip a little over a half mile long and barely 4 blocks wide plus an adjoining, early 20th century, company built development of mill worker housing next to a now closed Rayon textile mill. The homes in the old company town are inhabited and well maintained. The current population of Marcus Hook is 2,397 which makes for a very high population density given the small size of the residential area. When I passed through Marcus Hook in 2013 I was surprised at how many people were out walking around. People were patronizing businesses on the main commercial street, several families were enjoying the river front park, people called out to each other from across the street and down the block. It had a healthy seeming, village like atmosphere.
That this little village of anachronistic homes seems to be doing so well, while surrounded by the some of the bleakest, most apocalyptic industrial landscape in the country, is interesting to me. One of the more active local civic/preservation groups has been holding a pirate festival in town for the last few years.