Pennsylvanians are From Mars, Texans are From Venus

On April 28, 2013 · 8 Comments

I keep a close eye on the geographic characteristics of Twelve Mile Circle visitors, which seems natural for a geo-oddity website. I also generate article topics from viewer anomalies. For example, I never knew that Mars could be found in Pennsylvania until a Martian visitor, one from a spot north of Pittsburgh as it turned out, hopped onto the site to explore a few pages.

Take Me to Your Leader

Mars, I noticed, included a Mars Picnic Shelter, a Mars Skating Rink, a Mars Athletic Field and a Mars Cemetery, so insert your preferred joke here. I kind of enjoyed the though of a burial on Mars although Martian ice skating seemed promising too.

Naturally if there’s a Mars then there must be a Venus. Colonies of Venusians lived in many places including Texas.

I wondered if I could find a town named for each planet. I managed to get about halfway through my research when I discovered that someone already beat me to it. He turned to the same U.S. Geological Survey database I would have used and completed the effort a year before 12MC even existed. View that website if you’d like a comprehensive list of planetary towns within the United States. Keep reading if you’d like the usual 12MC treatment: examining places in more detail; sprinkling in a few international locations; and lame attempts at entertainment.

Starting closest to the sun (Sun City?) and working outward, the 12MC spaceship landed first on…


Crazy ’bout a Mercury

Notice the grey coloring on the background of this map of Mercury, Nevada. Google Maps uses that particular shade to designate restricted government facilities. Indeed, Mercury is a closed town. You cannot go there. You might be able to go there if you’re a nuclear engineer working for the U.S. Department of Energy although I think it’s still safe to say that "YOU" cannot go there in a general sense.

The government built Mercury to house it workers at its Nevada Test Site, where nuclear weapons were detonated in a controlled manner. DOE provided a fact sheet (pdf) with much more detail if that interests you.

My favorite trivial moments:

  • Mercury, being closest to the sun, can be very hot. So can a nuclear explosion. Mercury is an appropriate name for a town at a nuclear test site even though its naming appeared to be coincidental.
  • Notice Jackass Flats Road. I don’t have anything more to add; just found it funny. It reminded me of Jackass Junction.


A View from the Surface of Venus (Bay)

I mentioned the Venus located in Texas already. One can also find a Venus, in this case Venus Bay, in Victoria, Australia. It’s a nice weekend getaway for people from Melbourne ("let’s travel to Venus for a little holiday")


Welcome to Earth
Flickr by J. Stephen Conn via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license

Doesn’t Earth as a placename seem redundant? Apparently that’s not a problem for the residents of Earth City, Missouri (map) or Earth, Texas (map). The Handbook of Texas provided a common excuse, the "name already taken" dilemma, when settlers required a post office. There are three distinct apocryphal explanations. I liked the sandstorm story so let’s use that one.

Originally Halsell called the place Fairlawn or Fairleen, but it was renamed Earth, supposedly for a sandstorm blowing when storekeeper and first postmaster C. H. Reeves had to come up with a name acceptable to postal authorities in Washington.

We already mentioned MARS and there’s a well-known JUPITER with 50,000+ residents exists in Florida, so let’s blast farther into the solar system.


Canadian Mini Solar System

I found several Saturn opportunities although the best choice seemed to be Saturn Lake in Ontario. I didn’t find anything particularly remarkable about the lake itself, however it’s placed within a mini-solar system when paired with Pluto Lake. Another nearby feature was called Juniper Lake, which sounds a lot like Jupiter. I gave this cluster two-and-a-half points even understanding that Pluto was dropped from the planet list in 2006. I won’t mention Pluto again.


*** DANGER: Skip to the next section if you are offended by deliberate mispronunciations and juvenile humor ***

Mianus View Requires No Explanation

I couldn’t find Uranus but I found Mianus. Steve from CTMQ pointed to Mianus during our epic Connecticut Extremes Adventure last summer. In all fairness, we were several hours into the trip and I think fatigue had begun to degrade our conversation. We were amused by Mianus for the next several miles. Yes, I am aware that no less a paragon of wit and sophisticated humor than Jackass (speaking of Jackass) featured Mianus during one of its episodes.

I hereby nominate "Mianus View Terrace" as the most unfortunate street name in the United States.


Great White!

There is a Neptune Township in New Jersey, however I think I’ll feature the Neptune Island Group in South Australia instead for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s supposed to be teeming with Great White Sharks, and that piqued my interest; and
  • Wikipedia said there was a ship named Venus that wrecked on Neptune in 1946

I’m sure I could have searched for various other features of our solar system. I’ll leave those for the 12MC audience.

On April 28, 2013 · 8 Comments

8 Responses to “Pennsylvanians are From Mars, Texans are From Venus”

  1. Splen says:

    I’m guessing I’m your ‘Martian’ visitor. I don’t live there but my ISP thinks I’m there.

    Mars embraces its namesake. The high school teams are the ‘Planets’. There’s even a saucer in downtown:

  2. Bismuth says:

    Greater Pittsburgh is also home to Moon:

  3. Peter says:

    Mercury can be visited on one of the monthly tours of the Nevada Test Site. Not that doing so is easy, as NTS tour tickets sell out many months in advance. You can get last-minute tickets to such events as the Masters or the Super Bowl, if you’re willing to pay a scalper, but there’s no such option for the NTS tickets.

  4. hipsterdoofus says:

    Here in Oklahoma we have Romulus, for you trekkies:

  5. Bill Harris says:

    The North Star subdivision (close to the 12 Mile Circle) also has streets named after the planets and other heavenly bodies:

    The developers must have seen the future and did not include a street named for Pluto. No street named for Uranus, either, for obvious reasons.

Comments are closed.

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