Living in a rural area, many people know, have visited, or grew up in any number of small communities.

Living in a rural area, many people know, have visited, or grew up in any number of small communities. Tucked into a hillside or seemingly popping out of the prairie landscape, these towns often don’t have their own governments, schools, or police forces, but that doesn’t mean they’re short on history. Check out these five NEMO communities and things you might not know about them.

1. Rensselaer
St. Peter’s Catholic Church (also known as Brush Creek Church) is a historic church in Rensselaer and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1862 and added to the National Register in 1980. It is the church on the site where Augustus Tolton, the first ordained African American Catholic priest, was baptized. The community is in northern Ralls County off U.S. 36.

2. Palmyra
The Old Calaboose, an attractive stone building, was built on the “Spring Branch” in 1875 as the city jail; it never saw much use as the cityprisoners were heldin the county jail. Today it houses a restaurant. After the Palmyra Massacre, the fairgrounds then used closed for some 20 years, then were relocated to the north part of the city.

3. Hull, Illinois
Just across the river, Hull is known for its pastoral history. A small museum pays homage to a way of life that is hanging on even as advancements make some things obsolete. The museum has a cake of lye soap on exhibit, a primitive butter churn, a stove from the Kinderhook blacksmith shop, and the original plat of the town of Hull, which a resident found in his attic.

4. Ilasco
In the northeast part of Ralls County, Ilasco has little more than a few buildings now. But the community, which lies on Highway 79 south of Hannibal, was once a great cement manufacturing center.

5. Louisiana
Further south, land two miles south of the present-day city of Louisiana contained a fort where early pioneer families called home. The fort, called Buffalo, contained about 20 families and an underground passage to a nearby spring. Clashes with Native Americans beginning in 1812 ultimately led to the fort’s demise.