U.S. map tidbits and stuff I find interesting

How the states are mapped and the proximity of one state to another has always intrigued me. The states get larger as one moves west, for example, almost as if our forefathers got lazy and just started dividing the land into square-ish plots. Here’s some other things I love about our states’, and cities’, mapping:

Tennessee is bordered by nine states. | Google Maps

Tennessee borders nine states, the most of any state I could find.

According to Google Maps, from Texarkana in the east to El Paso in the west, Texas covers 813.5 miles, as the crow flies. The distance from Texarkana to my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, is 700 miles, meaning I could theoretically drive to Dayton—and pass through several states—quicker than I could drive across Texas from Texarkana and still be in Texas.

The Oklahoma panhandle is about 34 miles wide from north to south, or the same as the east-west width of Rhode Island. I’ve known of folks who live in the north part of the Texas panhandle driving across that little bit of Oklahoma to go get groceries in Kansas!

There’s only about 40 miles of a sliver of Pennsylvania between Ohio and New York.

Note how the keystone shape and the shape of Pennsylvania differ.

 Speaking of Ohio’s neighbor, Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State because, according to http://visitapa.com, the official website of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

A keystone is a central, wedge-shaped stone which holds all the other stones of a structure in place to form an arch. In early America, Pennsylvania played a vital geographic and strategic role in holding together the states of the newly formed Union. …

When I was young, and this may still be the case, Pennsylvania had blue license plates that said “The Keystone State” on them in yellow with a little keystone shape between a plate’s numbers and its letters. Ohio had a similar setup, but a little Ohio separated the numbers and letters on the plate. I remember thinking, “Gee, that little thingy between the numbers and letters on Pennsylvania’s plates looks nothing like the shape of the state; it looks more like Arkansas!” At the time I didn’t know what a keystone was.

The distance from mainland Alaska to Russia is 54 miles, closer than Dayton is to Columbus, Ohio.

Maine—located way out where the buses don’t go, as some Texans might say—is the only state I could find that touches just one other state.

There’s a sliver of Maryland between West Virginia and Pennsylvania that is 1.83 miles wide. One could jog from West Virginia through Maryland and into Pennsylvania and back, covering three states in what amounts to about a 5K run.

My current city of residence, Austin, is about an hour from San Antonio. | Google Maps
Dayton, my hometown, is about an hour from Cincinnati. | Google Maps

The Austin-San Antonio corridor reminds me a lot of the Dayton-Cincinnati corridor. Both are north-south corridors with the cities at each end about an hour apart, depending on traffic. The southern cities are bigger than the northern ones, and the cities at each end are growing toward one another; eventually it’ll just be a big blob.

See related posts:
Do you like your state’s license plates?

Sentimental like me? Avoid Google Street View

10 Texas vacation observations



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