Map Puzzler #2

While we are on the topic of strange map facts, here's an unexpected tidbit. Let's say you get in a plane in St Louis, Missouri and fly due north 540 miles--and then land. What state are you in? The answer may surprise you.... it's Michigan. Really. Follow the purple line northward to see for yourself....

Car Talk makes a big goof!

View St. George FL in a larger map
Here's proof that "Lost States" readers are a bit more detail-oriented (read "smarter") than Car Talk listeners. Sorry Tom and Ray, but our geo-smart readers have clear proof that your puzzler answer was no better than your advice on to cook fish on the radiator of a 65 Plymouth Belvedere. The puzzler question was:
(From Car Talk) There is only one city in the United States whereby traveling along the four compass points, the first state you reach is the same--no matter which direction you choose. The answer: Stamford, CT.
Sorry boys, but that's not exactly right. Sure Stamford is a correct answer, but it's not the only city. Lost States reader Frank Gerratana notes that St. George, Georgia also fits the description (See map above). Mike Provine and Peter Hartikka added that the northern parts of Washington DC also work (I figured that one out too!) Then there's Carter Lake, Iowa--a clear winner (thanks Peter Hartikka). Plus, while they may not be cities, there are plenty of non-city places that work. Charlie Kaupp noted there is a section of land just west of Weiser, Idaho that fits the bill. And I noticed that there is land across the river from New Madrid, Missouri that also meets the criteria.  Plus there are other spots in states that have windy-river boundaries. Sorry Car Talk guys... we love your show, but you got this one, well, wrong.

Geographic Puzzler

Kudos to NPR's Car Talk guys for this interesting puzzler:
"There is only one city in the United States whereby traveling along the four compass points, the first state you reach is the same--no matter which direction you choose. Name the city and the state."
While there may be only one "city" that fits this description (answer Friday), I found at least one additional location in America that fits this description. There may be more.... do you know of any? (Thanks to Al Cyclone for pointing out this great riddle!)

5-state point winner

View Larger Map Hats off to Vic Fieger who will go down in history as the first person to identify the 5-State Point; the place in America where one is the closest to being in 5 states at once (See earlier Simpsons entry). The point is in Virginia (Vic gives the coordinates as 36.959851, -81.972828) and it's 30 miles or less from Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina . The nearest city is Rosedale, which is about a mile away from the point. I thought I'd look for a bit of info on Rosedale, but a Google search turned up very little. I mean very little. All I could find was the health code violations of the Rosedale Pizza Plus. Turns out they've been holding their corn dogs at the improper temperature.  All the details here. Anyway, if I have any say, this little landmark will be called the "Feiger Point." Perhaps the town council of Rosedale will make such a declaration.

Simpsons Map Mystery

On last night's episode of the Simpsons, Sideshow Bob took Bart to "5 Corners" the only place in America where 5 states meet--so that Bob could commit the "perfect crime" in multiple states (his theory was that no individual state would have enough evidence to prosecute him). OK, so we know America has a "4 Corners" where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah meet, but is there any place 5 states meet? The answer is no... so I pose the question... is there any place you can get close? That is, what place in America gets you the closest to being in 5 states at once? I offer 3 candidates: Standing in Boise City, Oklahoma puts you 40 miles or less from Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. Another candidate is Rutland, MA which puts you about 40 miles or less from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. A third option is New Madrid, Missouri, which gets you about the same distance from Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois. But I haven't yet taken the time to do the actual calculations. What a great project for a social studies class... solve the 5-state mystery! I'll post your answer here! So here is the formal challenge: Bob wants to stand in the place that gets him as close as possible to 5 U.S. states. Where does he stand? And what is the distance to each of the 5 states? ANSWER HERE.

Jefferson, copper, and Hitler

The curious thing about most of the statehood proposals I researched is that very few seemed to produce actual maps. That is, proponents would describe their statehood idea, but did not usually offer a map of the new state. Jefferson was an interesting exception. This statehood idea--proposed in 1941--would have included northern California and southern Oregon. Nearly all the press reports included a map like the one above (from the Gastonia Daily Gazette). The map is interesting for a couple reasons. First, it doesn't give viewers much context. Given that this is from a local paper in North Carolina, you'd think it would give readers a wider "you-are-there" perspective. I can only guess that back in 1941, it was assumed that newspaper readers knew where California and Oregon actually were. Today, I'm not so sure.  Second, the map highlights copper deposits; and the accompanying article mentions copper as the key to the proposed state's economy. My how things have changed--when's the last time you used a phone with a copper wire? (You know, the phones that attach to a wall.)  And speaking of how times have changed, I can't help but note the comments of Superior Judge Coleman of neighboring Jackson County, Oregon. He was against the Jefferson idea, and thought it should be stopped immediately before the proposal had a chance to grow. Here is his quote: "We must not make the mistake of laughing off this government as a silly stunt. Don't forget that Adolf Hitler started in a small way too." Yikes! Evoking Hitler? Really?

Statehood for Moosylvania

One of the C-SPAN callers asked about Moosylvania... a state proposed by the creator of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon.  This was purely a publicity stunt... and all in good fun--until creator Jay Ward went to the White House to "demand" the president listen to the proposal. President Kennedy was in the midst of one of the most critical moments in US history--the Cuban Missile Crisis--and in no mood for silly statehood proposals. (Where was Moosylvania? On an island in northern Minnesota, straddling the border with Canada.)

C-SPAN gives me 40 minutes... talk about "Lost States." Sure, I'm funny-looking, but the interview went well--got to talk about lots of interesting stuff. Puerto Rico, Texas, Lincoln, Jefferson, South Jersey, you name it.  Here is the interview: