Category Archives: Uncategorized

Alabama looks in a mirror

Alabama looks almost exactly like Mississippi in a mirror.  Previous to Alabama becoming a state the country had admitted 21 states to the union and not one of them looked like any of the others.  Why did Alabama end up … Continue reading

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Alaska and its panhandle

Unlike the lower 48 states, there weren’t too many border decisions when the United States bought Alaska in the 1867 transaction that came to be known as Seward’s Folly.  The space was essentially already defined because Russia and Canada had … Continue reading

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Did we steal a chunk of Canada?

  When you look at the map of the United States, Maine looks like it was a late add-on, as if the original settlers wanted to tack on another state to extend as far into the other British territory (Canada) … Continue reading

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States that disappeared

Not all of the states previously formed in our history ended up making the final fifty.  As mentioned in an earlier post, the State of Franklin had a four year life before being absorbed into Tennessee.  The State of Deseret … Continue reading

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No fighting over who’s bigger

Here are four states that have one unique feature in common – – – they are all exactly three degrees (latitude) of height.  North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas were all created after the Louisiana Purchase was finalized, but … Continue reading

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Breaking off a chunk of Illinois

The borders of Illinois have been altered on a number of occasions – sometimes by the decisions of man, and at least once by the power of Mother Nature.   When Illinois became a territory the capital was established at … Continue reading

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Which state turned down a fortune in gold?

That awkward distinction goes to Washington state.  In the mid 1800’s the territory of Washington was considerably larger than the current state we recognize.  Oregon had just achieved statehood and established north and east borders that helped define Washington territory … Continue reading

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Oklahoma gets a panhandle for free!

Slavery was an extremely divisive issue in American history, and, as it turns out, it was the reason that Oklahoma has a panhandle.   Early in its evolution, the Republic of Texas stretched much further north than it does today.  … Continue reading

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Louisiana becomes a boot

Louisiana began its life as a giant territory purchased from France that extended all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border.  So how did this giant territory become an average sized state shaped like a boot? … Continue reading

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The bump on Minnesota’s head

Minnesota’s little topknot was the result of an incorrect assumption made by the Congress when it was finalizing its border with Canada (then known as British North America).  To the east the border was erratic and uneven, and it appealed … Continue reading

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