Agloe, New York

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Fictional Agloe, New York, a copyright trap, shown on a real map of New York published by Exxon in 1998
ExxonMobil Map location
Type Copyright trap
Notable locations New York

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: NY 206 and Morton Hill Road, north of Roscoe, New York.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] The United States Geological Survey added "Agloe (Not Official)" to the Geographic Names Information System database in February 2014.[4]

Agloe is featured in the novel Paper Towns by John Green and its film adaptation.

See also


  1. ^ Lackie, John (25 November 2006). "Copyright traps". New Scientist (The Word ed.) 192 (2574): 62. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(06)60797-5. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  2. ^ Byrne, Ian (19 March 2006). "Errors on road maps(2)". Petrol Maps. Archived from the original on 28 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  3. ^ Krulwich, Robert (18 March 2014). "An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story". Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Agloe, New York

Coordinates: 41°57′56″N 74°54′23″W / 41.96556°N 74.90639°W / 41.96556; -74.90639