I don’t know why I thought of this little map “game” the other day, but it occurred to me after thinking about the town of Virginia, Minnesota. I passed through Virginia last summer en route to International Falls and always wondered if the founders of the town were formerly from the Old Dominion state.
Of course, one thing led to another and I find myself plotting out every place named exactly after another state in the union. The rules are rather vague – to be a “place” you can be a city, town, borough, community, unincorporated area, etc. Township’s don’t count in my book since the “township” part is usually in the name. This is strictly state-comma-state type locations.
All told there are roughly 113 places named after states – with a grand total of 38 of them being named Washington, which is more or less a tribute to our first President than to the state of Washington (which is also named after our President, of course). But hey, it counts as a state-aping locale. Digging a little deeper, I found a few more tidbits…
There are still plenty of states that haven’t been named as a place in another state. There is no town called North Dakota anywhere. That goes for the rest of the directional states – South Dakota, North and South Carolina and West Virginia. Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Wisconsin are all exclusive to their own states. That means 29 state names get passed around…
Who leads the pack with the most places named after states? Wisconsin – with eight places named Washington, two places named Maine and six other state-named locations, comes in first with 17 places named after eight states. I’d count Kansasville, Wisconsin as state #9 but I’d be breaking the rules with “-ville”. Three other states – Illinois, Indiana and New York have eight state-named places with no duplicates. Let’s just say if you’re from Washington, Wisconsin – then you better give me damn good directions.
Washington and Wyoming (with a combined 51 places named after them) hardly return the favor, naming absolutely no place after a state within their borders. The opposite is true, as Wisconsin is not named anywhere else despite the state topping the state-named places charts.
There are five “double-zeros” out there. States that are not named anywhere else and also don’t include any state-named places. These include: Arizona, Idaho, North and South Dakota and South Carolina.
Finally some oddballs you wouldn’t expect:
Alabama, New York
Alaska, New Mexico
New Mexico, Maryland
Texas, New York and New York, Texas
Of course Texas likes to go big. The state not only owns Houston and Dallas and the aforementioned “little” New York, it also has a Los Angeles and a San Diego. Anyway, next time I’m rolling through the dairyland of Montana (Wisconsin) and the dusty desert of Alaska (New Mexico), I’ll be the first to let you know!