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Thread: America's most forgotten cities

  1. #26
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    I will throw in some Pacific Ocean perspective.

    Hilo, Hawaii - Once a bustling center for cultural and economic activity. This cute, quaint little city hardly gets mention from visitors or locals. A few nasty tsunami have deteriorated the infrastructure and tourists aren't fond of vacationing in rain, so at about 140" of rain per year, Hilo's economy isn't doing well.
    We spent some time in/around Hilo during our Hawaiian vacation. As I recall there was a nice farmers market there.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    As for larger USA cities, I've always looked upon Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK as being stuck in a sort of 'empty quarter' of the USA. I wonder what percentage of NBA fans even realize that there is now a team in Oklahoma City, and of the percentage who do, how many even have any idea where it is on a map of the USA.

    Mike
    I would say Tulsa, maybe, but certainly not Oklahoma City. First of all, you'd have to be living under a rock in the 1990s to not be familiar with Oklahoma City, what with the terrorist bombing in 1995 that killed 168 people and the billion-dollar tornado in 1999 that killed 50. Plus, it's the namesake city of a state, it's a state capital, it has a growing metro of 1 million+, and it's got quite a storied history.
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  3. #28
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    I would say Tulsa, maybe, but certainly not Oklahoma City. First of all, you'd have to be living under a rock in the 1990s to not be familiar with Oklahoma City, what with the terrorist bombing in 1995 that killed 168 people and the billion-dollar tornado in 1999 that killed 50. Plus, it's the namesake city of a state, it's a state capital, it has a growing metro of 1 million+, and it's got quite a storied history.
    Agreed. OKC is hardly forgotten. Any planner or person in general who works in a government building will never forget Timothy McVeigh and the OKC bombing. And any real NBA fan knows of Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Tulsa IS sort of forgotten, although it shouldn't be as I mentioned it as one of those city's I found to be above expectations in the "City's Different Than Your Expectations" thread.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  4. #29
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Agreed. OKC is hardly forgotten. Any planner or person in general who works in a government building will never forget Timothy McVeigh and the OKC bombing. And any real NBA fan knows of Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Tulsa IS sort of forgotten, although it shouldn't be as I mentioned it as one of those city's I found to be above expectations in the "City's Different Than Your Expectations" thread.
    Tulsa was not forgotten, and was actually quite prominent, prior to the 1980's oil bust. Up until the bust, Tulsa was the center of the US energy industry and, arguably, the oil capital of the world (if it wasn't the capital, it was definitely the administrative and corporate crossroads). Many of the companies directly affected by the bust were based in Tulsa, and the rest were substantially weakened or bought out by energy conglomerates with more foreign interests based in Houston, which has subsequently wrangled the title of "energy capital" from Tulsa. A lot of the "old money" that you noted in the other thread was because of Tulsa's oil past. Tulsa hasn't really lost population, but it's economy has diversified significantly since the late 1980s and now hold less clout in any one area, though energy is still a larger statistical presence in the area.

  5. #30
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    I would say Tulsa, maybe, but certainly not Oklahoma City. First of all, you'd have to be living under a rock in the 1990s to not be familiar with Oklahoma City, what with the terrorist bombing in 1995 that killed 168 people and the billion-dollar tornado in 1999 that killed 50. Plus, it's the namesake city of a state, it's a state capital, it has a growing metro of 1 million+, and it's got quite a storied history.
    That attack was nearly a generation ago. To today's late teens and early twentysomethings, it is what the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall and the Kennedy assassination were to me. And the only reason the smallish city of Xenia, OH still sticks in my mind was the tornado hit that they took in the early 1970s.

    Also, before the NBA came to town, the biggest place name in the state with regards to sports was suburban Norman (the Sooners), but again, most NBA fans likely do now know of Oklahoma City, but also would likely have problems finding it on a map and would never recognize the city's downtown skyline.

    IMHO, similar-sized Omaha, NE is more recognizable, mainly due to the central role that the city played in its history with regards to the development of the USA's transport infrastructure. OKC was plopped down all of a sudden on 1889-04-22 at a random spot in the open high plains.

    Mike

  6. #31
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    That attack was nearly a generation ago. To today's late teens and early twentysomethings, it is what the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall and the Kennedy assassination were to me. And the only reason the smallish city of Xenia, OH still sticks in my mind was the tornado hit that they took in the early 1970s.

    Also, before the NBA came to town, the biggest place name in the state with regards to sports was suburban Norman (the Sooners), but again, most NBA fans likely do now know of Oklahoma City, but also would likely have problems finding it on a map and would never recognize the city's downtown skyline.

    IMHO, similar-sized Omaha, NE is more recognizable, mainly due to the central role that the city played in its history with regards to the development of the USA's transport infrastructure. OKC was plopped down all of a sudden on 1889-04-22 at a random spot in the open high plains.

    Mike
    I don't know about it being "nearly a generation ago". I think most twentysomethings will remember it as one of the earliest major events they can recall from their childhoods. In particular, the bombing was noteworthy for its impact on children at the time, as many children that were in the building's daycare center were killed. This placed a lasting scar of fear on other children across the country who watched the horror on TV. OK, maybe the children and teens of today do not recall it because they were too young or not born yet, but that is a small segment of the population, and I don't think we can judge whether a place is forgotten or not based solely on youth. Irregardless, if they know their state capitals and their states, they should know Oklahoma City.

    In my mind, Oklahoma City is kind of synonymous with all things Oklahoma. So anybody that's studied cowboys, the movement of Native Americans, the Dust Bowl/Great Depression, the stockyards, the oil boom, or meteorology should be very familiar with the city. Not to mention the things I've already mentioned.
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  7. #32
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    That attack was nearly a generation ago. To today's late teens and early twentysomethings, it is what the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall and the Kennedy assassination were to me. And the only reason the smallish city of Xenia, OH still sticks in my mind was the tornado hit that they took in the early 1970s.

    Also, before the NBA came to town, the biggest place name in the state with regards to sports was suburban Norman (the Sooners), but again, most NBA fans likely do now know of Oklahoma City, but also would likely have problems finding it on a map and would never recognize the city's downtown skyline.

    IMHO, similar-sized Omaha, NE is more recognizable, mainly due to the central role that the city played in its history with regards to the development of the USA's transport infrastructure. OKC was plopped down all of a sudden on 1889-04-22 at a random spot in the open high plains.

    Mike
    Perhaps in your neck of the woods (i.e. your opinion on Oklahoma's two major cities). At first I didn't want to take the bait, since I thought it was a regional thing (frankly, I never even knew, let alone forgot, about any cities in Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay [mainly due to the Packers] until my wife's best friends moved to Appleton - but then again, I'm not from nor have I lived anywhere near there).

    Oklahoma City is both the largest city and largest metro in the traditional "Great Plains" states, which includes Nebraska. If you're going to draw a line about the Murrah bombing being a generation ago, surely you have to take issue with Omaha's transportation history being 50-150 years ago. Don't get me wrong - I love Omaha, too. I like the entire Plains region.

    Oklahoma's cities, however, aside from the oil history, have been immortalized in song ("Route 66" [Tulsa leaders played a large role in establishing Route 66, also], Red Dirt music, Western Swing, jazz history), Native American heritage, western heritage, agriculture/husbandry (OKC has the largest operational stockyards in the US), weather (tornadoes and storm chasing), fiction and culture ('Okies'), religion (huge evangelical presence in Tulsa), and people (Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Paul Harvey, etc.).

    The recognizing on a map and skyline identifications I think would be issues for most anyone not urban and geography enthusiasts like most Cyburbians, especially when talking about mid-major metros and cities like OKC and KC or mid-sized cities and metros like Omaha or Tulsa.
    Last edited by TexanOkie; 04 Jan 2011 at 12:02 PM.

  8. #33
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    I'm always fascinated by international cities that are huge but no one ever hears about. The metropolitan area of Shenzhen in China for example has approximately the same population as the metropolitan area of Los Angeles but how many people could find it on a map? Nagoya, Japan and Lagos, Nigeria both have the same population as Chicago or London. Bogotá, Columbia is the 8th largest city in the Americas, and has about twice the population of San Francisco.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    The last post about being able to find notable cities on a map made me think of how many towns and cities are recognizable by most of the population, but otherwise unknown. You've heard of it, but either don't know which state it is in or what it is close to.

    The home cities of hall of fames come to mind. Most people could tell you they know baseball, basketball, and football hall of fames are in Cooperstown, Springfield, and Canton respectively, but could they come close on an unlabeled map?

  10. #35
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    -Paterson, NJ. Due to its location next to the Great Falls and Alexander Hamilton's vision of American industrialization, this city emerged as one of the most important manufacturing hubs in the US during the Industrial Revolution. But like every other city in the Northeast the manufacturing sector's decline in the 20th century gutted the city and now is barely a blip on the radar off I-80, as all you can see from the highway are abandoned factories and public housing projects: definitely nothing particularly eye-catching. While it's still the 3rd largest city in the state, no one seems to ever talk about it when discussing the decline of the state's urban centers, it's all about more visible cities such as Newark and Camden. Oh yeah, and its once glorious Negro League baseball stadium now looks like this.

    Jacksonville, FL also seems to be overshadowed by Florida's more tourist-friendly cities despite being the largest in the state. They did have a Super Bowl a few years back but I think few people even remember that one actually took place there.

    Smaller state capitals also seem to be "forgotten" as they are overshadowed by larger metropolises, such as Jefferson City, MO, Olympia, WA, and Salem, OR.


    Internationally, relatively obscure from my own perspective, not necessarily in general:
    -Leeds, England: fifth largest city in the UK. Everyone hears about Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham as the "second-tier" cities in the UK, but I don't hear much about Leeds for some reason. Maybe because their soccer team has not been relevant for over a decade.

    -Pune, India. Mumbai gets a ton of attention because of media/Bollywood, but its neighbor to the southeast has over 3 million people and a booming tech sector.

    -Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Everyone knows Rio and Sao Paulo, but I bet you few people have ever heard of the third largest city in Brazil

  11. #36
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cyq8891 View post
    -Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Everyone knows Rio and Sao Paulo, but I bet you few people have ever heard of the third largest city in Brazil
    TRUE sports fans know of this place - it was the site of one of the greatest sports upsets of the entire 20th Century -- USA 1 - 0 England in the 1950 World Cup 1st round.



    Mike

  12. #37
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cyq8891 View post
    Jacksonville, FL also seems to be overshadowed by Florida's more tourist-friendly cities despite being the largest in the state. They did have a Super Bowl a few years back but I think few people even remember that one actually took place there.
    I distinctly remember that Super Bowl because all the sports-world talking heads who were there for it kept complaining about Jacksonville and it's "unsophistication" or some such thing, or how it didn't meet their standards, or how it was such a pain to be staying in a hotel in south Georgia.

    P.S. I don't know why, but I love the Modis Building's design.

  13. #38
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    ^Yeah, that was back in 2005 when the Patriots played the Eagles. There were complaints from those that attended that J'ville was boring and didn't have much to offer in the way of decent restaurants, entertainment, etc. I don't think the NFL will have another Super Bowl there in the future.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cyq8891 View post
    -Jacksonville, FL also seems to be overshadowed by Florida's more tourist-friendly cities despite being the largest in the state. They did have a Super Bowl a few years back but I think few people even remember that one actually took place there.

    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I distinctly remember that Super Bowl because all the sports-world talking heads who were there for it kept complaining about Jacksonville and it's "unsophistication" or some such thing, or how it didn't meet their standards, or how it was such a pain to be staying in a hotel in south Georgia.

    P.S. I don't know why, but I love the Modis Building's design.
    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    ^Yeah, that was back in 2005 when the Patriots played the Eagles. There were complaints from those that attended that J'ville was boring and didn't have much to offer in the way of decent restaurants, entertainment, etc. I don't think the NFL will have another Super Bowl there in the future.
    Well I'm going to have to stick up for my hometown! Jacksonville is unlike much of the rest of Florida and is far more 'southern' than other similarly-sized cities in the state. Its different, not any better or worse. The fact that Jacksonville has an NFL team when other, larger cities do not and a one of the largest ports and naval bases on the east coast along should not qualify it as forgotten.

    I could only imagine that people from Boston and Philly coming to Jacksonville would find it not as exciting as their cities. I had heard the superbowl was a success in Jacksonville because they were able to doc cruise ships on the river in Downtown and provide extra lodging right in the center of the action.

    PSS-J'ville has an awesome skyline, love coming into the city at night!

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  15. #40
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by beach_bum View post
    Well I'm going to have to stick up for my hometown! Jacksonville is unlike much of the rest of Florida and is far more 'southern' than other similarly-sized cities in the state. Its different, not any better or worse. The fact that Jacksonville has an NFL team when other, larger cities do not and a one of the largest ports and naval bases on the east coast along should not qualify it as forgotten.

    I could only imagine that people from Boston and Philly coming to Jacksonville would find it not as exciting as their cities. I had heard the superbowl was a success in Jacksonville because they were able to doc cruise ships on the river in Downtown and provide extra lodging right in the center of the action.

    PSS-J'ville has an awesome skyline, love coming into the city at night!

    Trail Nazi---anyhelp here!
    For the record, I like Jacksonville, and thinks it's underrated.

  16. #41
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    For the record, I like Jacksonville, and thinks it's underrated.
    I'll let you know, business trip there next week.

  17. #42
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Springfield, MO. Overshadowed by St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia/Jefferson City, Hannibal (due to Mark Twain and M*A*S*H*''s Col. Potter), even Joplin (thanks to its mention in the song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" and the show Trick My Truck) on the national scale of Missouri cities, and it's probably the 3rd "Springfield" that would step into ones' mind after the fictional one in The Simpsons and either Springfield, IL or Springfield, MA (depending on where you live).

    Macon, GA. Everyone knows Atlanta, Augusta (due to the Masters), Savannah (due to its historical layout and architecture), Athens (due to the music scene), Columbus (due to Fort Benning), and the Albany/Americus (thanks to Jimmy Carter & family). Nobody ever hears mention of Macon outside of GA.
    I have been in Springfield MO 3 time in the past week - there is a lot going on! (My wife's family is from southern MO). I fully agree it is "forgotton" outside of the region, but inside the region, it is not. There is a lot going on there. Missouri State is on the move, a great bluegrass music scene is present, there is about every store/rest. you could want, people travel from all over to go to original (and I believe world's largest) Bass Pro Shops (which is more like a theme park) and there is a whole lot of new construction. It is actually a pretty happen' place [regionally].

    Now Macon on the other hand... I grew up in ATL and never once went to Macon (and my family traveled a lot around the state to do stuff). The only reason I have ever even stopped in Macon is because its a good place to get gas and a Chic-fil-let on I-75 after you get out of the ATL mess. Macon, unlike Springfield, is not the regional center I suspect due to its proximity to ATL and lack of major state university. (1 hour versus 3). [there are however smaller unis in Macon]. The one advantage Macon does have over Springfield though, is its location along a highly traveled interstate - this brings them some "through traffic" as people travel I-75 from the mid-west to FL, where as Springfield's through traffic comes from people visiting the Ozarks in MO (much less in #s).
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  18. #43
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Oh yeah.....

    Everyone forgot to mention

    Gary Indiana
    East St. Louis Illinois
    Cairo Illinois
    Skilled Adoxographer

  19. #44
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H View post
    The one advantage Macon does have over Springfield though, is its location along a highly traveled interstate - this brings them some "through traffic" as people travel I-75 from the mid-west to FL, where as Springfield's through traffic comes from people visiting the Ozarks in MO (much less in #s).
    Most of the through-traffic in central Georgia bypasses Macon proper via I-475.
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  20. #45
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    Most of the through-traffic in central Georgia bypasses Macon proper via I-475.
    That is very true, and that is where the new growth in Macon seems to be as a result. That is where we stop anyway - Zebulon Rd, as that is where most of the good/new places to eat seem to be around Macon (i.e. Chic-fil-let and McAllisters, clean gas stations, shops, etc.).

    That is one heavily traveled road too, compared to Springfield / its bypass - that was my only point is all.
    Last edited by H; 05 Jan 2011 at 3:33 PM.
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  21. #46
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    We spent some time in/around Hilo during our Hawaiian vacation. As I recall there was a nice farmers market there.
    Yes! It is the best farmer's market I have ever been to. Amazing! Hilo doesn't have much for a night life (everything closes by about 7pm), but it's a lovely, sleepy, rainy little Hawaiian town.

  22. #47
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Everyone forgot to mention

    Gary Indiana
    East St. Louis Illinois
    Cairo Illinois
    That would be another list-Towns that should be forgotten
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  23. #48
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Overshadowed by big sister New Orleans, I don't think Baton Rouge gets much attention. It has the tallest capitol in the U.S.A. Home to LSU. Gateway to Lafayette and Alexandria and points north. Baton Rouge is both Cajun County and New South.

    I lived there for about a year when I was in college. The milk you drank in the cafeteria at breakfast was probably in the cow a few hours before or at least no later than the day before. In the evening my friends and I would often cruise down River Road and catch a free ferry. Or head over to the Capitol, where if you were there at the right time it looked like Huey Long statue's shadow was flipping the bird.

    Baton Rouge was the largest city I enjoyed living in. The food was every bit as good as anything you would find in New Orleans, though not as good as what you would find in Beaux Bridge or Henderson. The people had a Southern gentility seen less in New Orleans.

    The abundance of petrochemical industries and the resulting odors and polluition along the river was the only downside that I recall.
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  24. #49
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    Don't forget about Chattanooga, TN. I will refrain from diving into the City's past but it once was a strong steel town which fronts on the Tennessee River, a major shipping route.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Cool.....

    Quote Originally posted by shell_waster View post
    Don't forget about Chattanooga, TN. I will refrain from diving into the City's past but it once was a strong steel town which fronts on the Tennessee River, a major shipping route.
    I LOVE Chattanooga
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