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Thread: Halfway towns

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Halfway towns

    Another interesting geographic phenomenon I've noticed are places that I call "halfway towns". These are communities that are strategically situated between two major cities, which grew because the location allows residents to commute to one city or another, where the major cities themselves are otherwise beyond commuting range from each other. Note that a "halfway town" is different than a town that is just halfway between two major cities that are an hour or two apart.

    A few examples of halfway towns:

    * Castle Rock, Colorado: between Denver and Colorado Springs
    * Oakville, Ontario: between Toronto and Hamilton
    * Hudson, Macedonia and Brecksville, Ohio: between Cleveland and Akron. (In Hudson's case, it's between Akron and the I-271 edge city development in Beachwood, Lyndhurst and Mayfield Village.)

    Some smaller cities even have halfway towns of their own. For instance, there has been a great deal of growth recently in Wellington, Colorado, which is halfway between Fort Collins, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming. There's almost no employment base in Wellington.

    NOT halfway towns:

    * Batavia, New York (between Buffalo and Rochester). It's mostly a self-contained community, and grew very little after World War II. While some residents commute to Buffalo or Rochester, the location for commuters is not the reason for its existence.
    * Middletown, Ohio (between Cincinnati and Dayton). Like Batavia, it was long-established before WWII, self-contained, and it has little growth owing to its location within commuting distance of both Cincy and Dayton.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    That's quite interesting, i'd never heard of that type of settlement before. Is this an established settlement type?

    A friend who lived there for a while, told me that many of the towns in the southern US were placed along very regular patterns of 50 miles apart as this was the distance the early steam loco's could travel without needing to take on water. I'd love to know whether that's true and whether the towns grew up around the stop, or whether they were built for the stop. The Russians did a similar thing when they built the tran-Siberian railway.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Off the top of my head:

    Columbia, MD (I know it's a planned city, but the location was selected because it was halfway between Baltimore and DC)

    Burlington-Graham, NC (between the Triad and the Triangle)

    Lakeland, FL (between Orlando and Tampa)

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    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has a whole ring of suburbs referred to as the "Mid-Cities".

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Here in northeastern Wisconsin, I've pondered that over the years WRT the small Village of Black Creek, WI. It is located at the intersection of WI 47 and WI 54, about equally distant straight shots (+/- 20 minutes' drive time) from both Appleton and Green Bay. Although it has historically been a local phone call from Appleton and not Green Bay, I can easily see it becoming a full-fledged outer-outer commuter suburb of both.

    I also consider Wrightstown, WI, located along US 41 between Appleton and Green Bay, to be an outer-outer commuter suburb of both.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by b3nr View post
    A friend who lived there for a while, told me that many of the towns in the southern US were placed along very regular patterns of 50 miles apart as this was the distance the early steam loco's could travel without needing to take on water. I'd love to know whether that's true and whether the towns grew up around the stop, or whether they were built for the stop. The Russians did a similar thing when they built the tran-Siberian railway.
    You see this sort of thing a lot in the western US, though not necessarily with such regular distances. Many western towns originated as railroad stops, and were typically located strategically at the locations with the most reliable water sources from which to supply the trains. Winslow, Arizona is a good example.

    Another type of railroad favored location is a well-watered site at the foot of a steep incline that the trains had to cross with the aid of helper locomotives. The helper locomotives could be stored there, ready for any train that arrived. Kelso, California (now essentially a ghost town and entirely within Mojave National Preserve) is a good example.

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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    While not exactly equi-distant between two major cities, I would consider DeKalb, IL and Kenosha, WI to be halfway cities of sorts. DeKalb is a city between Chicago and Rockford, while Kenosha is a city between Chicago and Milwaukee. Both cities are actually closer to the smaller cities (Rockford and Milwaukee, respectively) than they are to Chicago, yet are still part of the Chicago metropolitan area, because more people happen to commute to Chicago and its suburbs, probably because it is a much larger, healthier, and diversified job market. However, DeKalb also sees a good number of commuting to Rockford and Kenosha to Milwaukee. Culturally, they are tied to both metros.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by b3nr View post
    That's quite interesting, i'd never heard of that type of settlement before. Is this an established settlement type?

    A friend who lived there for a while, told me that many of the towns in the southern US were placed along very regular patterns of 50 miles apart as this was the distance the early steam loco's could travel without needing to take on water. I'd love to know whether that's true and whether the towns grew up around the stop, or whether they were built for the stop. The Russians did a similar thing when they built the tran-Siberian railway.
    Prior to the railroad (and where the rails didn't run), towns were built about 20 miles apart becasue thats as far an a horse or ox- drawn cart can travel in a day. This can be seen in many states along the eastern seaboard.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

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    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Are these not what others would call bedroom communities?

    Some bedroom communities have a life of their own, somewhat. Others totally continue to exist because of the jobs in another. The town I work in has some life of it's own but is largely bedroom as evident by all the car headed the other way on my drive both ways. I rarely have cars on my side of the road.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

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