Forgottonia Revisited

Forgottonia seems to be a hot topic these days, so I thought I'd revisit the entry from Lost States:
Illinois has lots of freeways. Lots. But one section of the state got left out--the counties in the western bulge. Largely cut off from the rest of the state by the Illinois River, this area didn’t get any fancy freeways in the Interstate boom of the 1960s and 70s. In protest, a group of residents decided to form their own state, Forgottonia. They appointed a governor and tried to attract attention. But what they really wanted was Interstate 72, which would provide a shortcut between Chicago and Kansas City. The highway legislation that would have built I-72 was defeated in Congress in 1968, and then again in the early 70s. Parts of I-72 were eventually built decades later, but even today I-72 only extends to the Illinois-Missouri border.

And so Forgottonia still struggles. Businesses have steadily left. Amtrak’s arm had to be twisted to ensure continued service. The region even had a college up and move to a different state—which is pretty amazing considering the infrastructure they decided to leave behind. Such is the sad story of Forgottonia. It never had a real shot at statehood—and it’s still pretty much forgotten. But they do have corn. Lots and lots of corn. So as long as America keeps drinking 64-ounce fountain drinks, Forgottonia’s people will survive. About the only thing that could hurt Forgottonia today would be medical reports suggesting high-fructose corn syrup isn’t healthy.

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