Howder Street, Hillsdale, Michigan

This being, I’m going to take an opportunity to feature something that crosses a couple of my interests, geography and genealogy.

In Hillsdale Michigan there is a three-block road called Howder Street.

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Those of you with common surnames are probably saying “so what.” However there are only a few hundred people in the United States named Howder (and most of us are seemingly related). Who was this Howder of Hillsdale Michigan, and why is a short street lined with rental housing filled mainly with students from nearby Hillsdale College named after him?Adam Howder was an early Michigan pioneer and one of the first settlers in the Hillsdale area, arriving around 1835 from Lockport, New York. He built a log house on what became Hillsdale Fair Grounds. He later became the first tavern keeper in town and built increasingly spacious and popular establishments. He also served as sheriff in 1845 and 1847. I hope the college students on Howder Street remember to toast Adam Howder, pioneering bar tender and saloon keeper, the next time they host a kegger. He would be proud.As far as I know this is the only geographical feature named after a member of the Howder family.

Michigan’s Lost Peninsula

One of the oddities that interests me is when a territory is broken into two or more pieces that are non-contiguous.  Some are rather famous, like the small chunk of the United States in northern Minnesota that can only be reached via Canada at Lake of the Woods. A similar condition exists between and within certain states within the United States, including Michigan. No, I’m not referring to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which is an obvious situation. Rather, I’m referring to the Lost Peninsula.

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The only way to get to the Lost Peninsula is through Ohio. Residents who live here will have to take Edgewater Drive back into Ohio, and loop around to reach the remainder of their home state of Michigan. There’s not much to be found on the Lost Peninsula other than a marina and a few houses but it’s still an interesting anomaly. This little chunk was left disconnected when the border between Michigan and Ohio was established. Wouldn’t Michigan just want to give up this small plot of land to make a smoother border. Of course not. States, like people, are possessive and want to hang onto as much territory as possible. It’s not like it’s much of an inconvenience to the residents, though. There is free and unobstructed passage between the States. It’s more simply an interesting oddity.

See also: Reader "Jim C."’s visit to the Lost Peninsula (including photos) in Lost Again.

Introduction and Purpose

Welcome to the Twelve Mile Circle.  This site will be dedicated to the many unusual places that can be found on maps that just don’t seem to make sense.  State highpoints, non-contiguous boundaries, latitude/longitude confluences, and other trivial geographic facts are all fair game here.

This is a companion to my travel pages where I detail some of my actual trips to Strange Geography locations.  But I found there are so many others that I want to see someday and may never the chance, and you deserve to learn about those now instead of waiting and hoping that I have an opportunity to conduct a site visit.