On April 8, 2010 · 18 Comments

I have to keep coming up with new words to describe my various geo-oddity fascinations. Today’s creation is "bordersplit," which refers to an object that’s cleaved by a boundary line. The way I figure it, if landlocked is legitimate term then bordersplit should be treated the same way even if it’s not technically a dictionary word.

This particular fixation has roots in my November 2009 article discussing a restaurant in North Carolina that sits directly atop a county tripoint. The larger situation has long fascinated me but my collection of examples began in earnest with that discovery. Let me share a few bordersplit objects with you.

As you consider these instances it’s probably worth noting that we’ve observed previously that Google Maps borders don’t have exact precision. They can be off by as much as a couple of hundred feet so don’t let that trip you up.


The Zugspitze is a mountain of the Wetterstein Range that includes the German highpoint within its ridges. It also straddles the border between Germany and Austria, and that’s where the fun begins.

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Rick Steves writes in the Seattle Times that,

There are two separate terraces –Bavarian and Tirolean — connected by a narrow walk, which was the border station. Crossing used to be a big deal — you’d get your passport stamped at the little blue house and shift your currency from shillings to marks. While the border formalities are long gone, regional pride still shines here. You’ll notice no German or Austrian banners, only regional ones.

Tourists can take a cog railway or a cable car to the summit from Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the German side, or a cable car from Ehrwald on the Austrian side.

La Cure

TimesOnline, in an article describing Three of France’s Best Drives mentions a situation on the border between France and Switzerland. "Later, hop the mile to La Cure, where the Bar-Hôtel Arbez sits bang on the Franco-Swiss border. Order white wine in France, move two feet along the bar, and drink it in Switzerland."

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I could get pretty close to the building in Street View on the Swiss side of the border. I think there might be an even better view from the French side, but Street View doesn’t cover it yet.

Haskell Free Library and Opera House

The combination of a library and an opera house is an unusual juxtaposition in its own right, but it gets even better. This oddity exists on the border between Derby Line, Vermont, USA and Stanstead, Québec, Canada.

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Check out this statement from the Scenes of Vermont website.

The world-famous Haskell Free Library and Opera House on Caswell Avenue here is probably the only cultural institution on this planet with a split personality. That’s because the U.S./Canadian border slices right through the Kenneth Baldwin International Reading Room. You enter the lovely turn-of-the-century building in Vermont, but you check out the books — your choice of English or French — in Quebec. And, the librarian who assists you may be either a citizen of the United States or Canada, or both and, probably bilingual.

For those contemplating an operatic performance, its worth noting that the audience sits in the United States while the artists on-stage perform from within Canada. I’m not sure if this creates passport complications.

The State Line Restaurant

The El Paso Times noted in its "Best of the Border 2007" competition that the best restaurant in the West / Upper Valley is called the State Line.

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The State Line straddles the border of Texas and New Mexico. So is it technically the Best in the West? Who knows. But there is definitely no disputing the quality of the barbecue. A word of advice: be ready with lots of napkins and a healthy appetite. The ribs are tender, the other meat flavorful, and the sauce a tad spicy. And the bread loaves, white or wheat, are hard to resist. Go ahead, let out the belt a little bit.

Mmm… barbecue. Let me rest here for a moment and take in some of that smoky goodness.

Border Station

All those Yankees heading out to their summer weekend homes on North Carolina’s Outer Banks have an opportunity to experience some true bordersplitting as they motor down Route 168, the Caratoke Highway.

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This is the Border Station, allegedly the world’s second-largest convenience store. I have absolutely no ability to confirm that assertion but I’m repeating it anyway. Nobody can dispute, however, that the North Carolina / Virginia border cuts directly through the building. Visitors can stop for gas, pick up cheap cigarettes, eat at the Dairy Queen or even rent a U-Haul truck, all from this unusually bifurcated location. Need I say more?

United States Post Office

Texarkana looks like a single city on a map but it’s actually two separate cities with the same name that blend into each other. One is on the Texas side of the border and the other is on the Arkansas side of the border. The name, derived from Texas-Arkansas, shortens to Texarkana.

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Texarkana On-Line features a rather unique building in this combo-city, using bureaucratic prose.

United States Post Office And Courthouse: Currently only federal post office building to straddle state line. Present Texas-Arkansas state boundary (Established in 1842 by United States and Republic of Texas) passes through center. Each state had separate post offices until 1892, when first joint office was built on this site. It was razed in 1930, and in 1933 the present structure was completed. The base is of Texas pink granite while walls are of limestone from Arkansas. -Recorded Texas Historic Landmark — 1970

Can anyone add other bordersplit structures to my list?

On April 8, 2010 · 18 Comments

18 Responses to “Bordersplit”

  1. wangi says:

    To expand on the public houses…

    The “Halfway House”, “Boundary Bar” or “City Limits” (bars love to change names) is on Leith Walk, Edinburgh. When Edinburgh and Leith were still separate burghs the boundary ran through the pub. It “had different licensing rules in each side. Contrary to local mythology the Edinburgh side was easier (which is why it is bigger) because only towns over 50,000 people could open late. Hence at a given time a bell rang and everyone squeezed onto the Edinburgh side” (from )

    An engraving from 1890ish:

    And today, via street view:

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  2. Bill Harris says:

    Though it no longer exists, the house belonging to notorious murderess and slave runner Patty Cannon used to straddle the Delaware/Maryland border in the early 1800’s. Legend has it that when authorities from Delaware raided her house, she would walk over to the Maryland side of the house. Likewise a stroll to the Delaware side of the house keep her out of the arms of the Maryland constables.

  3. Greg says:

    The public school in College Corner, OH/West College Corner, IN is situated on the state border and operated jointly by officials of both states. The half-court line in the gym apparently lies along the state line, so a last-second desperation heave might be thrown from one state and find the net in another. Also: Baarle.

  4. Craig says:

    Can’t add any to your list, but I’ve done the border crossing on the Zugspitze, and indeed you walk from Freistaat Bayern to Land Tirol rather than Deutschland to Österreich. Even back in the late 1980s, I don’t remember there being an actual border guard.

  5. A corridor of the main library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign lies along the city boundary.

  6. Allan Kato says:

    I just discovered your blog and it’s really fascinating! Goes to show you can find someone with similar interests somewhere in the world. Keep up the great work on the blog!

    Re bordersplit, here’s a dream golf course to play: the Green Zone Golf Club ( evenly split between Haparanda, Sweden and Haparanda, Sweden (hope you haven’t written about it yet–I haven’t gone through all your blog entries).

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    • Thanks Allan. I try to put up two or three new articles a week so I hope you come back again or subscribe to the RSS feed. I haven’t featured the example you mentioned — first time I’ve heard of it actually — so much obliged for pointing out that interesting geo-oddity.

      • Allan Kato says:

        Based on info from the web, one of the par-3 holes cuts across the border, so you tee off in one country and end up in the other. Plus, the time difference between the two countries makes this par-3 hole the longest to finish in the world! Any of your readers from Haparanda or Tornio?

  7. Allan Kato says:

    Sorry, that should read “evenly split between Haparanda, Sweden and Tornio, Finland.”

  8. Mr Burns says:

    There’s a rather impressive-looking building sitting astride the Kansas/Missouri border in Kansas City. I think it was some sort of joint venture between the two cities, but I’m not sure. On StreetView, it appears to have a “For Sale” sign in front, so perhaps the venture didn’t work out?

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  9. Ian Dunbar says:

    In an obscure corner of obsessing about geographical oddities, there lies worrying about geographical problems with song lyrics. Your mention of Texarkana, on the Texas-Arkansas border, instantly revived a niggling concern with “it was down in Louisiana/ just about a mile from Texarkana”. So I had to look at a map. OK the Louisiana line was closer than I thought to Texarkana, but it must have been about 30 miles from the city to the nearest point in Louisiana. Honestly, can’t these people get these things right?

  10. Fritz Keppler says:

    I’m relying more on memory than a photographic record, but I believe that the US Post Office in Union City on the Indiana/Ohio line is split down the middle, with a sign in front indicating the sides of the building in their respective states. (Don’t have access to Google Street View here)

  11. Vivek says:

    One oddity that definitely helped me… the JCC in Rochester, NY has one door in Henrietta, NY and the rest of it is in Brighton, NY. So the buses from the Henrietta school district WOULD go to the JCC, even though the drop off point was technically outside the town.

  12. David says:

    One of my favourite places to visit (as a border aficionado living in Manitoba) is the International Peace Gardens (you’ve briefly mentioned it on another article in your site, but I fear that if I go back to find it, I’ll stay up another 4 hours later than I should!) In the Peace Gardens, which straddles the international border, there is a chapel that is built right on the line and is, of course, equally divided between the two countries.

  13. David J says:

    Nice word, bordersplit!

    Perhaps an interesing addition: Geneva (Cointrin) Airport, which has an entrance from Switzerland, and one from France. So apart from the usual customs checks, there is actually an international border running through the arrival/departure halls. It always strikes me as curious when I come there.

    See or

  14. Gary says:

    The first thing that comes to my mind (even if I have never been there) is the Downstream Casino. It is actually part of the Joplin, Missouri metropolitan area. It is very close to the Kansas-Missouri- Oklahoma tri-point. Kind of a haul from here in Florida.

    The entrance road to the casino is in Missouri, most of the parking lot is in Kansas, and the casino itself is in Oklahoma!,-94.6349918,3977m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

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