There may not have been a sawtooth in Rhode Island, however there were plenty of others sawtooths (sawteeth?) elsewhere throughout the English-speaking world. That provided me with a wonderful opportunity to continue on a theme while also giving me the option to choose advantageous locations. By that I meant I decided to fill empty spots on the Complete Index map that would benefit from a few more push-pins.
I didn’t have much coverage in central Idaho, specifically in an area that coincided with — wait for it — the Sawtooth National Forest. That seemed amazingly appropriate. The government protected a massive space within the forest, more than two million acres. It was one of the older reserves in the Federal portfolio, designated by President Theodore Roosevelt more than a century ago and later expanded.
Sawtooth Range by Nicholas D. on Flickr (cc)
The name derived from the Sawtooth Range, a part of the Rocky Mountains with many peaks jutting over 10,000 feet (3,048 metres). The range got its name, well just look at it, from its resemblance to the jagged teeth of a saw blade.
Near the mountains and within the forest stood the remains of an old town named Sawtooth City (map). It began like so many other settlements in this corner of Idaho as a mining camp in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. Sawtooth City hugged Beaver Creek near a spot where it joined the Salmon River in a rugged and beautiful wilderness. The town flourished for awhile in the 1880’s and then miners moved on to the next big strike. Nature reclaimed much of Sawtooth City although what was left was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970’s, "the only visible remains are the mill foundations, one old log cabin and the crumbling remains of many other buildings." What an ignoble ending to a settlement that once housed nearly six hundred residents.
I noticed another town nearby, not named sawtooth although something a little less obvious. Why did Idaho have an Atlanta (map)? It was neither near the Atlantic Ocean nor near the city of the same name in Georgia.
Atlanta,Idaho by Christopher White on Flickr (cc)
Atlanta had an earlier origin than Sawtooth City although it was settled for a similar purpose.
Gold was discovered near Atlanta in 1863 and… there were Confederate sympathizers among the early miners. They eventually named Atlanta after the battle of Atlanta, which was fought in July of 1864 and, initially unbeknownst to the southern sympathizers, did not go well for the south… by the time they received clarification that the south had lost, they had already named the town and the name stayed the same.
I couldn’t tell if any of that was true or not although it sounded like a good story so I stuck with it.
This was a remote area. Even today the only way to reach Atlanta overland involved one of two unimproved US Forest Service roads. It was 40 miles (64 km) from the nearest paved road. Nonetheless it remained a populated settlement, now bringing in tourist dollars thanks to its superb location for numerous outdoor activities in the Sawtooth Range, aptly described as a sportsman’s paradise.
Sawtooth Range on Wikimedia Commons
Another rugged Sawtooth Range existed elsewhere, in the far northern reaches of Canada. The range crossed through the central part of the world’s tenth-largest island, Ellesmere Island. The mountains were a portion of the larger Arctic Cordillera range. Nunavut’s Sawtooth was so remote that few people ever got a chance to experience it firsthand. Fewer than a hundred and fifty people inhabited the island, living in its sole community Grise Fiord or at one of its two tiny High Arctic Weather Stations.
Although much of the land was rough, rising to 2,000 or 3,000 feet, the most satisfactory location appeared to be in Slidre Fiord on Ellesmere Island, centrally located at latitude 80 00′ 00" N., longitude 85 56’25"W. Within the fiord, the ice was quite smooth. Protected by hills from the prevailing north westerly winds, it is surrounded by low rolling country and is in the vicinity of two rivers, which promise fresh water in summer.
Only about ten people staffed the station throughout the long winter, in the coldest place in Canada. While many other Canadian locations have recorded lower absolute temperatures, Eureka took the prize for the lowest average yearlong temperature, a bone-chilling -19.7C (-3.5F).