As a kid, I would lay on my bedroom floor staring at maps for hours. Every time I looked at my parents’ Rand McNally atlas, I’d notice something I’d never seen before. Whether it was a strange name for a town, an interesting deviation in a state or county border, or one of those little pink triangles that denoted a roadside attraction, there was always something to capture my imagination.
As soon as I was able to drive, I went off to explore these places in person. I quickly discovered that for every destination I visited, and every question about that atlas that I’d answered, 10 more would pop up. I’d pass a previously unknown roadside attraction and wonder, “How’d that get there?” I’d cross a county line 3 times in rapid succession and wonder, “Why is it drawn like that?” I quickly realized that as much as I loved to hit the road, I would never be able to find the answers to all these questions unless I dug deeper.
Enter Mapping Americana. I created this blog to uncover the geography, history, and often just plain weirdness hidden behind the map of America. If I see something on Google Maps that makes me go “hmm…” I’ll attempt to answer it here. From oddly named places to geographical anomalies to wacky roadside stops and their origins, nothing is off-limits. I’m writing purely to answer all of the questions that pop into my head, and I hope that you can get some answers and (hopefully) entertainment out of it as well!
Mapping Americana will also occasionally feature stories about my road trips and travels throughout the USA, usually as they occur. I guarantee that even for the most mundane foray down the interstate, I’ll discover quite a few new things to write about! I will also give periodic updates on my goal to travel to each county in the US, typically when I manage to snag any new ones.
This blog is partially inspired by Tom Howder’s Twelve Mile Circle, which I have enjoyed immensely for the past 7 years. While all content on this blog is original and my own, the sheer volume of articles on 12MC means I’m bound to accidentally overlap on a topic or two. Feel free to call me out if I do – after all, Mapping Americana is about answering new questions, not rehashing old ones!