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Inspired by Maister - Americans, what signifies the boundary of the "Great West"?

TOFB

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I'm going with the Archway on I-80 outside of Kearney, Nebraska. The Archway
 
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Doohickie

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The masthead of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram announces that Fort Worth is, in fact, where the West begins. If it's in the paper it must be true, right?


The logical follow-on is that Dallas is where the east peters out. :p :ha: :roflmao: :p :ha: :roflmao: :p :ha: :roflmao:
 
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I'm going with the Archway on I-80 outside of Kearney, Nebraska. The Archway
The boundary of the Central & Mountain Time Zone.
The masthead of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram announces that Fort Worth is, in fact, where the West begins. If it's in the paper it must be true, right?
. . .
The logical follow-on is that Dallas is where the east peters out. :p :ha: :roflmao: :p :ha: :roflmao: :p :ha: :roflmao:
TOFB, JNA & Doohickie:

otterpop
has not logged onto Cyburbia for two-and-a-half years. Still, it would interesting to hear his opinion. Is he still around? He was one of the planners whom we looked to when there was a question about the American West.

Planning in the American West

https://www.cyburbia.org/forums/threads/planning-in-the-american-west.29233/
 
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Dan

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I thought I would vote for the 100th meridian, which is the unofficial boundary of the Great Plains. Thinking about it a bit more, I'd say the real line runs along US 183, closer to the 99th meridian.

West of the line: more Western / rancher / cowboy culture, rodeos, cattle ranching, use of Ogallala Aquefer groundwater for crop farming, dying and ghost towns,

Based on my cross-country road trips, these are what feel like east/west gateways:

I-10: Seguin, TX
I-40: Oklahoma City, OK
I-70: Hays, KS
I-80: Kearney, NB
 
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There is the Western Planner

Thank you. I'm very surprised that the eastern-most parts of California are not included in this network.

During the times I lived in California and my annual visits, the people from the most eastern parts often saw themselves as part of the Ameriican West heritage. The eastern towns and the culture of those towns were often exactly like those of the American West. It's as if they were an 'extension' of the Western States to which they were contiguous.



I thought I would vote for the 100th meridian, which is the unofficial boundary of the Great Plains. Thinking about it a bit more, I'd say the real line runs along US 183, closer to the 99th meridian.

West of the line: more Western / rancher / cowboy culture, rodeos, cattle ranching, use of Ogallala Aquefer groundwater for crop farming, dying and ghost towns,

Based on my cross-country road trips, these are what feel like east/west gateways:
<snip>
Dan-
On your cross-country road trips did you get the feeling that eastern California towns were part of the American West?
 

Dan

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On your cross-country road trips did you get the feeling that eastern California towns were part of the American West?
Oh my God, yes. Blythe. Blythe is every bit as "Western" -- not in a good way, to be honest -- as so many other mining/outpost/"lots of single wides by the Interstate" kinds of towns throughout Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and west Texas. Blythe is a bit more polished and "site built" than most of its peer communities, but that's more of a California thing. A sampling of others I'd put in the same category of settlement:

Barstow, CA
Wilcox, AZ *
Deming, NM *
Lordsburg, NM *
Tucumcari, NM *
Raton, NM *
Van Horn, TX *
Fort Stockton, TX *
Ozona, TX *
Elko, NV
Winnemucca, NV
Glendive, MT
Gillette, WY
Rawlins, WY

* = been there, done that, didn't buy the t-shirt.

Related are the "it's like one big trailer park, with some basic beige stucco starter houses here and there" agglomerations, like:

Battle Mountain, NV
Pahrump, NV
Kingman, AZ (WTF is going on here?)
Bullhead City, AZ
Quartzsite, AZ
Twentynine Palms, CA
Hildale, UT / Colorado City, AZ (home of the infamous FLDS)
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
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Having the state or locality identify themselves as part of the West/Great West. I have gotten a feel for this self identification since I've been going to TX on a regular basis. Texas does not identify itself as part of the South. It identifies itself as part of the West.
 

DVD

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You're all forgetting that thing in St Louis that was the original gateway to the West.

I will agree that there is a point somewhere west of Hays, KS where you stop thinking what a nice little farming town and start thinking how in the hell does this town even exist.
 

DVD

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Even people in Arizona actively try to ignore Kingman. Can't even pass it off as tribal land problems.
 

TOFB

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Personally, I think the Mississippi river is the boundary.
I live a mile and a half west from the Mississippi so nah.

Another metric is out in Nebraska or even western Iowa, you start to see a lot more cowboy hats. Not worn by wannabes, worn by legitimate ranchers. In the corn belt you see 99% billed caps, either advertising ag businesses or B10/B12 sports teams.
 

WSU MUP Student

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In the corn belt you see 99% billed caps, either advertising ag businesses or B10/B12 sports teams.
The mesh backed billed caps with some sort of ag business is a staple in the rural parts here too. I bet my dad still has 50 different caps with various fertilizer companies or strands of soybean seeds advertised on them.
 

TOFB

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You're all forgetting that thing in St Louis that was the original gateway to the West.

I will agree that there is a point somewhere west of Hays, KS where you stop thinking what a nice little farming town and start thinking how in the hell does this town even exist.
Years ago we stayed overnight in Hays. Early in the morning, I went for a run about 7 am and the temp was about 85 and 80% humidity. For awhile, the flatness and wild sunflowers were stunning, but then about 4 miles in, I started thinking, "why am I even here?"
 
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Big Owl

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My grandfather used to tell us about his great-great-great-grandfather that moved out west after the revolutionary war and then he moved back. I did some research and found out that the farthest west that he made it was 100 miles from the old home place. I guess in the late 1700's out west was closer when you were not sure where it ended.

With that said, where does the great west end?
 

Maister

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The mesh backed billed caps with some sort of ag business is a staple in the rural parts here too. I bet my dad still has 50 different caps with various fertilizer companies or strands of soybean seeds advertised on them.
"I paid good money for that cap," said no farmer ever.

My grandfather used to tell us about his great-great-great-grandfather that moved out west after the revolutionary war and then he moved back. I did some research and found out that the farthest west that he made it was 100 miles from the old home place. I guess in the late 1700's out west was closer when you were not sure where it ended.

With that said, where does the great west end?
I would say the Sierra Nevada range serves as a dividing point. There is, of course, the odd anomaly that proves the rule (e.g. Salt Lake City has a decidedly less 'western' feel to it)
 
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WSU MUP Student

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My grandfather used to tell us about his great-great-great-grandfather that moved out west after the revolutionary war and then he moved back. I did some research and found out that the farthest west that he made it was 100 miles from the old home place. I guess in the late 1700's out west was closer when you were not sure where it ended.

With that said, where does the great west end?
My great-great-grandmother (on my mom's side) move out west as a new bride with her husband. They left the Buffalo, NY area in a covered wagon and made it all the way into Saskatchewan. My great-grandmother lived out there in their sod house until her and her husband lost their farm during the early days of the Dust Bowl and they moved back east and made it as far as Detroit.

My mom hated my great-grandma. She said she was the meanest woman she had ever met. She was alive for a bit when I was little and I can only remember that she always had candy. My mom said that was because she was diabetic and she also only had one leg but I don't remember that part.

Apparently, my great-grandma and her husband sold off thousands of acres of land for something insane like 20¢ an acre. We like to imagine that oil was promptly found on the land and somebody cheated us out of millions!
 

TOFB

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The mesh backed billed caps with some sort of ag business is a staple in the rural parts here too. I bet my dad still has 50 different caps with various fertilizer companies or strands of soybean seeds advertised on them.
"I just paid $13K for some seeds"

Here's a free cap.
 

DVD

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While in Kansas I was given a CAT hat as part of the planning conference swag.
 

Gedunker

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<snip>
Another metric is out in Nebraska or even western Iowa, you start to see a lot more cowboy hats. Not worn by wannabes, worn by legitimate ranchers. In the corn belt you see 99% billed caps, either advertising ag businesses or B10/B12 sports teams.
I think this is a spot on, brilliant observation.

Also, people of the west don't say "pay/paid", they say "give/gave". Though, where that line is, I can't say.
 

Big Owl

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"I paid good money for that cap," said no farmer ever.


I would say the Sierra Nevada range serves as a dividing point. There is, of course, the odd anomaly that proves the rule (e.g. Salt Lake City has a decidedly less 'western' feel to it)
When I was 8, I went with my grandfather to buy a tractor. They offered him a "free" hat, which was the same hat they were selling for $10. When grandpa finalized the deal on the tractor, he requested a refund for the hat. Shockingly, they gave him $10. I was impressed.

If the west doesn't go all the way to the west coast, why isn't it called the middle?
 

Maister

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If the west doesn't go all the way to the west coast, why isn't it called the middle?
An excellent and highly perceptive question! And it's one I happen to know the answer to:

because if The West extended all the way to the coastal regions we would be forced to say the inhabitants there embody the Spirit of the West.

 

WSU MUP Student

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I'd just like to remind everybody that in addition to being the leaders and best, Michigan are also the champions of The West.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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An excellent and highly perceptive question! And it's one I happen to know the answer to:

because if The West extended all the way to the coastal regions we would be forced to say the inhabitants there embody the Spirit of the West.

Yeah, there's probably a difference between the West and the West Coast.
 

Maister

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I'd just like to remind everybody that in addition to being the leaders and best, Michigan are also the champions of The West.
Another fun to know fact: the state capitols of Michigan (Lansing) and Florida (Tallahassee) are on roughly the same longitude. But that's life Out West

1596045735658.png
 

DVD

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Yeah, there's probably a difference between the West and the West Coast.
Coming from Arizona, YES!

I kind of count The area going up from New Mexico, Colorado, those states above Colorado no one cares about as the dividing line. Then all the coastal states get removed. Because Portland ain't west. I'll give Kansas and Nebraska as the western part of the mid west. I'll even through in Texas as Western, but by attitude, not geography.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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Coming from Arizona, YES!

I kind of count The area going up from New Mexico, Colorado, those states above Colorado no one cares about as the dividing line. Then all the coastal states get removed. Because Portland ain't west. I'll give Kansas and Nebraska as the western part of the mid west. I'll even through in Texas as Western, but by attitude, not geography.
I wouldn't put Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakota's as part of the midwest. The midwest pretty much stops at Iowa and Minnesota, or least it used to. I've been gone nearly 13 years now, so things may have changed. Note to self: I need to stop commenting on the midwest.
 

DVD

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Agreed. Kansas and Nebraska are kind of their own thing. Call them midwest adjacent. The midwest to me is the Ohio, Iowa kind of area.
 

Planit

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But wasn't Kansas in the heart of the wild west way back when. Dodge City? Deadwood? Wichita?
 

WSU MUP Student

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How about Great Lakes? I think of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota (and Ontario) as the real Great Lakes region. Sure, other states border the Great Lakes but once you get a few miles away from the lake in those other states, they don't really feel Great Lake-y (and I'd really say southern Minnesota doesn't really feel Great Lake-y either). Most of those places are outside the actual Great Lakes watershed too.

And no New York and Vermont, Lake Champlain is not a Great Lake. :ttth:
 

DVD

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Sure Kansas was the West back in the day. When you think Little House on the Prairie and all those old western shows or the stories of the old west, most of that was in the Kansas area. Once Kansas was settled the untamed west became the Rocky Mountain stretch and everything around it from Montana down to Arizona. California was already getting settled by people crossing through the mountains.

If you want history, the Oregon trail (which I believe started from that Arch city went through Kansas. KC was the last civilized stop. There was also the Santa Fe trail that had a stop in KC. Feel free to correct my historical knowledge, which isn't great and I'm not googling it. There is a lot of history going through Kansas until you got to my county where one trail went north and one trail went south entirely avoiding my county.
 

Maister

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How about Great Lakes? I think of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota (and Ontario) as the real Great Lakes region. Sure, other states border the Great Lakes but once you get a few miles away from the lake in those other states, they don't really feel Great Lake-y (and I'd really say southern Minnesota doesn't really feel Great Lake-y either). Most of those places are outside the actual Great Lakes watershed too.

And no New York and Vermont, Lake Champlain is not a Great Lake. :ttth:
Maybe it's a tree thing? Ohio has significant lake frontage on Lake Erie. Is that intentional or an oversight? I know for a fact that both Toledo and Cleveland feel very Rust Belt-y, but is either of these cities non-Great Lake-y in your view?
 

WSU MUP Student

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Maybe it's a tree thing? Ohio has significant lake frontage on Lake Erie. Is that intentional or an oversight? I know for a fact that both Toledo and Cleveland feel very Rust Belt-y, but is either of these cities non-Great Lake-y in your view?
I think it's more of a vibe thing. When I think of the Great Lakes Region I think of vacation destinations and while I know there are lake-centric vacation destinations in places along the coast in Indiana or Ohio or Pennsylvania or NY, it's a relatively narrow band compared to what you'll find in Michigan or Wisconsin or Minnesota or Ontario, which, in addition to the coasts, are also full of large inland lakes.

NY has some really nice vacation areas. especially around Lake Placid, Upper Saranac Lake, the Adirondacks, etc. but that area is a totally different type of geography and just doesn't have that Great Lakes feel. Same goes for regions like The Poconos or The Catskills.
 

luckless pedestrian

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I think it's more of a vibe thing. When I think of the Great Lakes Region I think of vacation destinations and while I know there are lake-centric vacation destinations in places along the coast in Indiana or Ohio or Pennsylvania or NY, it's a relatively narrow band compared to what you'll find in Michigan or Wisconsin or Minnesota or Ontario, which, in addition to the coasts, are also full of large inland lakes.

NY has some really nice vacation areas. especially around Lake Placid, Upper Saranac Lake, the Adirondacks, etc. but that area is a totally different type of geography and just doesn't have that Great Lakes feel. Same goes for regions like The Poconos or The Catskills.
Up by Lake Ontario, though, is different than the rest of NYS imho
 
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