Agloe is a fictional place in Delaware County, New York, that became an actual landmark.
In the 1930s, General Drafting Company founder Otto G. Lindberg and an assistant, Ernest Alpers, assigned an anagram of their initials to a dirt-road intersection in the Catskill Mountains. The town was designed as a copyright trap.
In the 1950s, a general store was built at the intersection on the map, and was given the name Agloe General Store because the name was on the Esso maps. Later, Agloe appeared on a Rand McNally map after the mapmaker got the name of the “town” from the Delaware County administration. When Esso threatened to sue Rand McNally for the assumed copyright infringement which the ‘trap’ had revealed, the latter pointed out that the place had now become real and therefore no infringement could be established.
Eventually the store went out of business; Agloe continued to appear on maps as recently as the 1990s, but has now been deleted. It still appears in Google Maps. The United States Geological Survey added “Agloe (Not Official)” to the Geographic Names Information System database in February 2014.
Agloe is featured in the novel Paper Towns by John Green.
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