I’ve been noticing search engine queries lately seeking additional information about points along US Interstate Highways where travelers cross from one time zone into another. I’m going to do that myself soon on my upcoming trip and I couldn’t find a comprehensive resource either. Maybe there’s one out there hidden away in a lonely corner of the Intertubes. Maybe not. I didn’t see it so I decided to create my own. Hopefully others will find this compact reference useful too.
Yes, I understand that mobile phones and other networked devices grab time changes automatically without human intervention from nearby cell towers as one drives merrily down the highway. However some of us like to by hyper-prepared before embarking on a journey. I even recorded the lat/long coordinates so travelers (OK, maybe just me…) could drop the waypoints into their GPS receivers and know exactly where the time change would happen well in advance.
View Interstate Highway Time Zone Changes in a larger map
Readers will want to open this map in another tab or window. It’s not very useful in its present scaled down version that is included for illustrative purposes. Others may prefer the even more detailed Google spreadsheet with links that I prepared. The spreadsheet layout mimicked the geographic footprint of the United States in rough terms, for example I positioned Idaho at the top-left (northwest) and Florida at the bottom-right (southeast). That was also the reason why Interstate numbers on the spreadsheet and the lists below were ordered from large to small (I-94 to I-8). I didn’t reverse the order just to be obstinate. Even-numbered Interstates run roughly west to east across the nation with the 2-digit numbering increasing from south to north. There were also a handful of odd-numbered highways that crossed time zone boundaries too and muddied the construct a bit. Again, the rules applied in general terms only.
This exercise was a lot more tedious than I imagined. Believe me, I’d use much more colorful language if this wasn’t a family-friendly website. I’d assumed quite foolishly that the preponderance of time changes would happen at state borders, and simplify my task. Some do, although many more switch at random county borders which were much more difficult to pinpoint on a map. That’s why I think people have trouble tracking time zones as they drive. Now they have a tool — this page.
Here’s what I found. I’m sure errors or omissions crept into this because it was such a pain to compile. Please let me know and I’ll make corrections.
Change Between Pacific Time and Mountain Time
- Interstate 90: Idaho <--> Montana
- Interstate 84: Baker Co., OR <--> Malheur Co., OR
- Interstate 80: Unincorporated Elko Co., NV <--> West Wendover, Elko Co., NV(1)
- Interstate 40: California <--> Arizona (Standard Time); Eastern Arizona <--> SE corner of Navajo Reservation in AZ (Daylight Saving Time)(2)(3)
- Interstate 15: Nevada <--> Arizona (Standard Time); Arizona <--> Utah (Daylight Saving Time)(2)
- Interstate 10: California <--> Arizona (Standard Time); Arizona <--> New Mexico (Daylight Saving Time)(2)
- Interstate 08: California <--> Arizona (Standard Time); no change during DST(2)(4)
Change Between Mountain Time and Central Time
- Interstate 94: Stark Co., ND <--> Morton Co., ND
- Interstate 90: Jackson Co., SD <--> Jones Co., SD
- Interstate 80: Keith Co., NE <--> Lincoln Co., NE
- Interstate 70: Sherman Co., KS <--> Thomas Co., KS(5)
- Interstate 40: New Mexico <--> Texas
- Interstate 10: Hudspeth Co., TX <--> Culberson Co., TX
Change Between Central Time and Eastern Time
- Interstate 94: Indiana <--> Michigan
- Interstate 90: LaPorte Co., IN <--> St. Joseph Co., IN(6)
- Interstate 85: Alabama <--> Georgia(7)
- Interstate 80: LaPorte Co., IN <--> St. Joseph Co., IN(6)
- Interstate 74: Illinois <--> Indiana
- Interstate 70: Illinois <--> Indiana
- Interstate 65: Jasper Co., IN <--> White Co., IN /AND/ Hart Co., KY <--> Larue Co., KY(8)
- Interstate 64: Perry Co., IN <--> Crawford Co., IN
- Interstate 59: Alabama <--> Georgia
- Interstate 40: Cumberland Co., TN <--> Roane Co., TN
- Interstate 24: Marion Co., TN <--> Hamilton Co., TN
- Interstate 20: Alabama <--> Georgia
- Interstate 10: Jackson Co., FL <--> Gadsden Co., FL
- Western Kentucky Parkway: Grayson Co., KY <--> Hardin Co., KY(10)
- Cumberland Parkway: Russel Co., KY <--> Pulaski Co., KY(11)
(1) West Wendover is the only part of Nevada that officially observes Mountain Time, primarily so gamblers from Salt Lake City — the nearest large town — won’t have to deal with a time change and can focus on losing their money without distraction. This was described in (West) Wendover: What Time? What State?
(2) Arizona does not recognize Daylight Saving Time, meaning that for practical purposes the spot where the time zone change takes place shifts in the Spring and the Fall. This can sometimes lead to embarrassing situations.
(3) The exception to the "Arizona doesn’t recognize DST rule" is the portion of the sprawling Navajo Nation that crosses into Arizona. The Navajo did this to assert their sovereignty as well as to keep their tri-state Nation on the same time all year.
(4) Interstate 8 extends from San Diego, California to south-central Arizona; fairly short by interstate standards. Therefore it does not experience a time change when the two states observe the same time (i.e, when the Pacific Time Zone switches to DST and Arizona remains on Mountain Standard Time)
(5) I crossed this one during my Dust Bowl trip. See Kansas Mountain Time.
(6) You’re not seeing things. Interstates 80 and 90 are repeated with the same information here. That’s because they’re co-signed at this spot.
(7) Interstate 85 is the best example of an odd-numbered Interstate messing up my chart. The time change happens at a very southern segment of this very eastern highway.
(8) Interstate 65 starts in Central Time in an Indiana suburb of Chicago, switches to Eastern Time as it heads south, then switches back into Central Time in Kentucky
(9) I included Kentucky parkways because they’re significant roads albeit they’re not Interstate highways (not even Secret Interstates). I probably could have added other roads too.
(10) I will be crossing here on an upcoming trip. This was the spot that inspired me to go ahead and compile the list.
(11) I crossed here in the summer of 2013 during my Kentucky Adventures.
When I mentioned The Bloodshot Eye recently I hadn’t realized that I’d stumbled upon a "thing," a long history of annual Camp Meetings held by the Methodist Church.
Pitman Grove, New Jersey, USA
I featured the unusual circle-and-spokes streets of Pitman Grove, New Jersey, and the tiny Victorian-era cottages that lined them. Further research uncovered Pitman Grove’s origins as a Camp Meeting spot first used in the 1870′s that had since evolved into a distinct neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A "long time reader, first time caller" who preferred to remain anonymous brought a similar place to my attention in North Merrick, New York. It was known colloquially as Tiny Town.
Tiny Town, Merrick, New York, USA
As described by Long Island Newsday,
The neighborhood, known as Campgrounds or Tiny Town, arose from Methodist summer revival camp meetings held by the Long Island Camp Meeting Association beginning in 1869… There was a large population of Methodists in Brooklyn and Queens, but not a lot of land there… During the first summers, the campground consisted of the tabernacle in the open field in the center encircled by two rows where tents were pitched and carriages parked for 10 days of services.
Camp Meetings were popularized by several Protestant denominations in the nascent United States beginning in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. People on the frontier didn’t cluster close enough together in the early years to justify enough physical churches to meet the religious needs of a widely scattered population. Itinerant preachers migrated across the countryside, erecting tents in convenient places and holding camp for a week or more at a time as the seasons permitted. Local residents didn’t live close enough to attend these services in a single day so they brought their wagons and tents and camped for awhile. This might be their only contact with friends and family for an entire year so camp meetings met social needs as well as spiritual. There were hundreds of such campgrounds. Dozens have survived into the modern era where people continue to gather each year as they’ve done for a century and a half or longer.
The Methodist variation — the one I’d stumbled upon — entrenched solidly within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The Methodist church and its camps were based upon the teachings of John Wesley. Invariably one will find a road or a street named Wesley near many of the campgrounds mentioned in this article.
The Mid-Atlantic wasn’t quite as "frontier" as the expanding areas of the nation. Campgrounds tended to cluster near the seashore. They provided respite from city living, a means to separate oneself from the daily hassles of densely-packed tenements and allowed oneself to immerse and rejuvenate spiritually in an attractive holiday-like setting.
I found way too many examples of Methodist campgrounds that later became towns to attempt to discuss them all. Instead I selected a few representative places to show the transition from camp to town as well as to highlight the geographic spread within and beyond the periphery of the Mid-Atlantic.
Denver, North Carolina, USA
Rock Springs, Denver, North Carolina, USA
The Rock Springs Campmeeting has gathered at the same spot outside of Denver, NC since at least 1830, and at earlier incarnations as far back as 1794.
For over two centuries, God has called the people together in worship and community under the Rock Springs’ arbor… People would travel many miles to attend the annual event, camping in tents, covered wagons, and makeshift shelters of brush. They’d cook over open fires and attend the religious services throughout the morning, afternoon and evening… The camp is incorporated after the style of a town, and governed much the same way. There is a central meeting pavilion, called the Arbor, which is surrounded by some 258+ “tents”. The tents, as they are called, are small; roughly built cabins… Most all of the tents have been passed down from one generation to the next.
Rock Springs Campground, Denver, NC, USA
via Google Street View, May 2013
Rock Springs is the sole surviving Methodist Camp Meeting in North Carolina. It represented a good example of the initial step from camp to town with its rough, weather-beaten structures. They are permanent structures, however, probably suitable only for seasonal use.
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
The Lancaster Camp Ground traced back to 1878 at its current location, and first began in 1872.
For its first twenty years or so, the Camp Ground stressed a strictly evangelism oriented “Camp Meeting”. Around 1892, however, the Chautauqua Movement was introduced into the program… thousands of people came by way of the railroad and horses and buggies to the Lancaster Camp Ground. They came to hear speakers like Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan, and President William McKinley…
To accommodate crowds, an auditorium followed, then a hotel, then a grocery, then streets, then cottages, and then year-round residents. Today approximately 240 cottages remain within the National Historic District. Many structures house permanent residents and many others can be purchased or rented for seasonal use.
The Lancaster Camp Ground continues to remain very active in pursuit of its original purpose. The "town" that formed around it focuses clearly on religion and learning.
Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, USA
Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, USA
The Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association was "created in 1835, to conduct religious meetings on Martha’s Vineyard, during the summer." Today "there are just over 300" cottages in Oak Bluffs in an area known as Cottage City.
The tiny Gingerbread Houses of Oak Bluffs by vbecker on Flickr
via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license
Many of these buildings are elaborate albeit diminutive structures often described as "gingerbread cottages." The Camp Meeting Association remains active although the surrounding area has become rather more secular. The neighborhood of dollhouse cottages has also become somewhat of a tourist attraction.
Along with the hordes of people making the pilgrimage to Cottage City, as the town was then called, came commerce. Though attracted by the spectacle of the campmeeting, the beauty of the area soon became a draw on its own and developers started buying up the area around the campground. Businesses sprouted and the resort town of Oak Bluffs was born.
The final step of the evolution would be those Methodist Camp Meetings that evolved into completely secular towns with little meaningful connection to their original religious purpose. Pitman Grove might be close to that point even though events are still held in its tabernacle. Tiny Town in New York may have also reached that point. I found occasional if minor contemporary references to the Long Island Camp Meeting Association. Other places completed the transition. For instance, I go to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware regularly. I had no idea until I researched this article that the town originated from the Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association.
What Might the Future Bring?
Black Rock City, Nevada, USA
I couldn’t help thinking, as I continued to research the Camp Meeting phenomenon further, of certain similarities to the Burning Man festival. While not a Christian religious gathering, Burning Man also occurs annually, creates a sense of community, and demonstrates a level of devotion and fervor through its participants. It seemed to be a modern incarnation of the Camp Meeting phenomenon. While Black Rock City follows the precepts of "leave no trace" each year, what will the playa look like after another 150 years of gatherings? Will we ever witness the germination of a Tiny Town on the Black Rock Desert?
By happenstance, and following the normal progression of articles as they post on Twelve Mile Circle, I felt somewhat obligated to publish an article even though it fell on New Years Eve. Readers in Europe and places farther east won’t see this until 2014 because they’ve already flipped the page to the next calendar. The rest of the audience probably won’t see this in 2013 either because everyone will likely be with friends and family celebrating, not reading a screen necessarily.
I’m having a nice dinner out with my wife right now. I wrote this article a couple of days ago and set WordPress to post it automatically at the appointed time. You didn’t really think I’d be concerned about geo-oddities with New Years right around the corner, did you?
Let the countdown to midnight begin with this final 12MC article to round out the waning moments of 2013.
Midnight Torrent, Harihari, New Zealand
I researched geographic features named "midnight" to see which ones would complete their countdowns to midnight first and last.
I felt pretty confident that the first midnight to reach midnight, and thus the first midnight to cross into 2014, would be Midnight Torrent. That’s a stream on the South Island of New Zealand, almost due west of Christchurch albeit with imposing peaks of the Southern Alps mountain range blocking the way. Technically, I suppose, any midnight location within the same Time Zone would hit midnight simultaneously. Let’s ignore that inconvenient fact for this exercise and follow solar time by tracking the progress of the sun (or other celestial bodies since it would be nighttime) through the sky instead.
Midnight Torrent seemed to be suitably named. Notice the satellite image above. The stream could more properly be classified as a waterfall while it crashes down the ridge and tumbles into the Wanganui River. Impressive, certainly, although perhaps an impractical location for a New Years celebration. This would require a several miles hike from the nearest point on the Harihari Highway through the rugged Wanganui River valley just to reach the Midnight Torrent confluence.
Midnight Hill, Renews, NL, Canada
Surprisingly few midnights existed as I progressed farther across the globe after a few more spots in New Zealand then Australia, with none in Asia, Europe or Africa — although I can’t guarantee there aren’t other midnight places in different languages. I continued searching west. I encountered the first midnight of the Americas in Canada, in Newfoundland and Labrador: Midnight Hill.
The name of the village adjacent to Midnight Hill, Renews, also seemed appropriate. A new year provides an opportunity to renew. The settlement had an interesting etymology too,
The closest harbour to the fishing grounds of the Grand Banks, Renews was one of the very first harbors in the North America to be frequented by Europeans… As a well known fishing port, Renews was often visited by vessels making the transatlantic crossing in order to “refresh” (taking on drinking water) and obtain supplies.
Midnight Hill was a holy place that dated back to the earliest days of European settlement. It was a spot where "local residents celebrated mass secretly at night when Roman Catholicism was suppressed in Newfoundland."
Renews joined with nearby Cappahayden in the 1960′s. Now the whole conglomeration is known as the Town of Renews–Cappahayden.
Midnight Mountain, Nome Borough, Alaska
The very last midnight to hit midnight, and thus the final midnight to cross into the New Year would appear to be Midnight Mountain in Alaska’s Nome Borough. Compare its location on the map above to the placement of the International Date Line which runs between the United States and Russia. While Midnight Mountain would be difficult to reach, it would have one significant value according to mindat.org, "the mineral and locality database":
Midnight Mountain Prospect, Kougarok District, Nome Borough, Alaska, USA: …is a prominent upland reaching an elevation of 2,720 feet in the southeast part of the Bendeleben D-6 quadrangle. It is located on the continental divide which separates the drainages of the Serpentine River (Schlitz Creek) and Kougarok River (Taylor Creek) in this area… This gold-bearing area seems to be mostly in altered and quartz-veined polydeformed metapelitic schist on the south side of Midnight Mountain.
That’s right, there’s gold in them thar hills!