I'll admit that after reading Donald Ray Pollock's great short story collection Knockemstiff, I did a little Google Earth touring of the town of Knockemstiff and its surroundings. Actually, there wasn't a whole lot there to see save for trees and farm land. Well, the NY Times' Steven Rosen got away from the Googles and went to the town to take a look for himself:
E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohion State University — where Mr. Pollock, a 53-year-old former paper mill worker, is studying creative writing — recently drove through Knockemstiff on a tour of the state. He said he had read the book and wanted to see for himself; Mr. Pollock said Mr. Gee even wanted to get his picture taken next to the sign.
If only there were a sign — or more of a town — left to visit.
There are no stores or bars left in Knockemstiff, only the ruins of several, including one that was run by Mr. Pollock’s parents, who still live in town. Souvenir hunters have taken whatever they can find. The sign on the book’s cover, which had extra bullet holes added by a graphic artist, had disappeared by the time of publication.
The only indication that this is a community with a history, and not just isolated rural homes, is Shady Glen Church of Christ in Christian Union. It is right at what was the town center, near the corner of Shady Glen and Black Run Roads in Huntington Township.