Geography Fun!

I know what you’re thinking… “geography isn’t fun!” And I’d actually agree with you on that. It’s interesting, sure… but fun? Yes! Geography can, in fact, be fun. Check out these bizarre geographic anomalies in the United States:

Kentucky Bend, Kentucky: Kentucky Bend is a tiny enclave of the state of Kentucky caused by a hairpin bend in the Mississippi River. It’s surrounded by Tennessee to the south and the Mississippi River (and Missouri) on the remaining three sides. Interestingly, the bend was caused by earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, and Tennessee claimed the region until 1848:

Kentucky Bend

The Northwest Angle: A tiny sliver of Minnesota extends above the 49th parallel (in fact, the Northwest Angle is the only part of the US above the 49th parallel, not counting Alaska). The Northwest Angle came to pass due to the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War. The treaty stated that the boundary between the U.S. and what would eventually become Canada would run “…through the Lake of the Woods to the most northwesternmost point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi…” The only problem was that the map the treatymakers were using was wrong. In time, the error was noticed, but not “corrected”. Amusingly, any time the Angle’s residents get angry with the United States, talk of annexation by Canada comes up, although nothing serious have ever come of such talk. The Angle is shown here in purple:

Northwest Angle

Elm Point, Minnesota: Another enclave on Lake of the Woods, Elm Point is located southwest of the Northwest Angle.

Point Roberts, Washington: Yet another enclave, Point Roberts is located on the southernmost tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula. By all rights, Point Roberts should be part of British Columbia, Canada. But the Oregon Treaty of 1818 (which attempted to settle long-standing border disputes between the US and the UK), defined the border as being the 49th parallel (except for Vancouver Island, which was retained by the British). Someone, somewhere eventually noticed that a tiny sliver of the peninsula existed south of the parallel, and thus, Point Roberts became part of the United States. As in the Northwest Angle and Elm Point, you can only get to Point Roberts by ferry or by driving through Canada:

Point Roberts, Washington

Estcourt Station, Maine: this tiny town (population: 4) is located directly on the border between Maine and Quebec. Many of the (now abandoned) homes were built in Estcourt Station before the border between the US and Canada was finalized, leading to some interesting situations (your house is in the US; your neighbor across the street lives in Canada). Interestingly, there are no public roads that connect Estcourt Station with the rest of Maine – just privately-owned logging roads. The closest public road is Rue Frontière, a street on the Québec side of the border. Although part of the United States, Estcourt Station uses Quebec’s 418 area code, and relies on Hydro-Québec for electricity and the nearby Canadian town of Pohenegamook for water and other municipal services. Estcourt Station was the site of an “international incident” back in October of 2002: because the area is so sparsely populated, border agents there only work part-time. Michel Jalbert, a Canadian citizen and Pohénégamook resident, was imprisoned for three months in the U.S. after purchasing gas at Estcourt Station’s (now closed) gas station outside of normal operating hours for the U.S. Customs Service. American Border Patrol agents stated that Mr. Jalbert was a convicted felon (he was convicted of minor vandalism at age 19) and in illegal possession of a firearm; he was reportedly preparing for the local deer hunting season and had a rifle in his truck.

2 Replies to “Geography Fun!”

  1. Hello, we are in August of 2013 and the houses are not abandoned and the Frontière Street has a part in U.S.A. The General Store is closed but the Gas Station is not. It is a very beautiful place with a beautiful and large lake across the street in Canada and a river part in U.S.A. and Canada.
    I agree, it is very interesting. I am from Estcourt in fact and I have been there two days ago.

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