Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Where Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio Come to Meet

Steuben County, Indiana   
January 6, 2012

In three states at the same time
Borders are made for snuggling, and some states snuggle for quite some distance. (The nation’s longest border between two states is the Texas-Oklahoma border at 715 miles.) This snuggling can be informal in some border areas where the locale blends the traits of both states into something that can’t be matched elsewhere such as Texarkana and Michiana. However, when three or more states come together, they must meet in a more formal place that comes down to a point.  
Where the borders of three states converge into each other, a tripoint, trijunction, triple point, or trifinium (take your pick) is created. There are 62 state tripoints in the United States with 35 on top of land, 24 walking on water, and three somewhere between water and land. Like visiting as many countries as you can or walking to the top of the highest point in every state, there is a certain allure to standing in three states at the same time. Although they may not number as many as the country baggers or peakbaggers, tripoint baggers have a passion to travel and visit each and every trio of states that come together to meet. Jack Parsell is considered one of the first persons to visit all 38 tripoints located on land, and he even wrote a guidebook called “Tri-State Corners in the United States” to help others who share his passion. No news yet on whether Mr. Parsell has navigated by boat to visit the other 24 tripoints located on water. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Where the Palm Meets the Pine

Madera County, California
February 27, 2010

If you travel along Highway 99 in the San Joaquin Valley of California, you may notice an odd couple squeezed into the median of this heavily-traveled road. A pine tree and palm tree stand above the line of cars which travel between Fresno and Madera. Each tree appears to be the only friend to the other, and this friendship has kept this pair together where otherwise they may have been long gone.

No one really knows how the palm and pine originally got here. Madera County historian Bill Coate believes the trees were there before the construction of Highway 99, being part of the improvements of the Leyh family's store and rental cabins, but Mr. Coate could not find any documentation on this story.[1] Locals with deep family roots in this area have also handed down this story from generation to generation. Bob Thomason from the local district of CalTrans, the California Department of Transportation, went through their files, documents, and images, dating all the way back to the beginning of the highway, and did not find even a brief mention of the trees.[2] Some say the trees were planted by agricultural students from Fresno Normal School (now California State University Fresno) in 1915 and Highway 99 was built around the trees. Alas, nothing in the printed record to document this tale. As Mr. Coate and Mr. Thomason and countless others have learned, there is an abysmal lack of information on the birth of the palm and the pine.