Semi-Practical Exclaves Galore!

On April 26, 2012 · 15 Comments

I mentioned a semi-practical exclave in Australia a few days ago. This was a spot in New South Wales where a resident in an automobile could exit his neighborhood without ever leaving NSW, but could return only via Queensland. I noted somewhat tongue-in-cheek that the "…situation becomes very special, perhaps unique, meaning I didn’t bother looking for any other occurrences: the curious case of a semi-practical exclave… it’s a practical exclave going in one direction but not in the other."

Of course when I’m too lazy to look for other instances and lay it out there as somewhat of an unstated challenge, then it’s almost certain that a loyal follower of the Twelve Mile Circle audience will find an example. Usually it’s an even better example.

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Let’s give some credit to "Voyager9270" who posted a comment in response: "There is an international version of the semi-practical exclave you describe above in Beebe Plain, Vt. and Stanstead, Quebec." Sure enough, Voyager9270 was absolutely correct. Canusa Street / Rue Canusa (Québec Route 247) runs directly along the border between the United States (Vermont) and Canada (Québec) for about a kilometre. It curves further into Canada to the east and it terminates at a T-intersection with Beebee Plain Road to the west, where there is also a border station.

Thus, a U.S. citizen on the Vermont side of Canusa Street lives in an international semi-practical exclave arrangement with an added level of inconvenience. Drivers can arrive from the rest of the United States without a problem. The right side of Canusa Street is completely within the United States. Leaving one’s home is another issue. Turning left onto Rue Canusa from a driveway in Vermont, heading back to the rest of the United States, places a driver on the Québec side of the road. This didn’t use to be a problem in the days before 9-11 when this border town loosely formed a single community. Now, however, a driver from the Vermont side of Canusa Street needs to clear a border station in order to re-enter the United States.

A couple of other interesting albeit completely irrelevant features I uncovered.

  • Beebe Plain is named for the town’s founder, Zeba Beebe, which I though was a great name.
  • Canusa is quite obviously a portmanteau of Canada-USA, and loyal readers know I loves me a good portmanteau.

There I was. I felt compelled to search for additional semi-practical exclaves now that I’d been armed with the knowledge that perhaps they might not be all that unusual after all. However I’d also figured out a secret pattern that I could use to identify them: find places where the border ran straight down the middle of a road. Not every property along the line would form a semi-practical exclave but it would certainly increase the odds. I added a corollary. Look for dead-end streets that branched from the border road that might create entire semi-practical neighborhoods.

There aren’t very many geo-oddity blogs. We’re a pretty small community. Not surprisingly, my search began to cross paths with the Basement Geographer. He’d already posted a couple of similar articles dealing with borders stung down the middle of roads: Bisected and Bilateral: Streets Shared By Two Countries, Part I (The Americas) and Bisected and Bilateral: Streets Shared By Two Countries, Part II (Europe and the Middle East). I didn’t want to tread on ground already covered there (even if I was taking a slightly different tack) so go read those articles because they’re great. I’m sure you could use them to find lots of semi-practical exclaves at those locations while you’re at it.

That left me with the challenge of finding roads overlain upon borders in places not already featured. I did manage to find a couple.

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The situation occurs on the border between England and Wales in Saltney, appropriately enough along Boundary Lane. This means "that houses on the west side of the street are in the Flintshire County Council area and in the North Wales Police jurisdiction, while those on the east side are in the Cheshire West and Chester unitary authority area and in the Cheshire Police jurisdiction."

Not every property along Boundary Lane qualifies as a semi-practical exclave. Many connect to other roadways that anchor them to their homelands. In England, Stanley Park Dr. and its various branches form a semi-practical exclave. In Wales, streets such as Larch Way, Douglas Place, Cwrt Terfyn seem to fit the definition as well.

Kansas City might be the most promising location, though. The dueling Kansas Cities, one in Kansas and one in Missouri, blend together almost seamlessly along State Line Road.

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State Line Road hugs the boarder for an astounding 12.5 miles (20 kmilometres) unbroken. This creates probably hundreds of properties that would qualify as semi-practical exclaves.

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Here is one easy example. It’s an entire apartment complex on the Missouri side of the line. State Line Road might be the longest urban road split down the middle by a border (meaning I didn’t bother looking for any longer occurrences).

On April 26, 2012 · 15 Comments

15 Responses to “Semi-Practical Exclaves Galore!”

  1. Ian says:

    If you like border roads you’ll fricken love this, the borders of Lake, Polk, Osceola and Orange counties in Florida all meet in the middle of the 192, west Irlo Bronson memorial highway. The borders are all in straight line and there is a large housing estate directly below the quadripoint. One side of the road changes from orange to lake county, whilst the other side changes from polk to osceola, all at the same point. I believe when you leave your estate in polk county you enter osceola county as you exit, however to get back you have to drive back up the 192 by crossing into orange county, which then turns into lake county, before reentering polk county to get home. When you go out to get groceries or even if you forget something, you have to travel through at least 3 counties to get home, every time!

  2. Here’s a pair of interprovincial semi-practical enclaves from the wonderfully-named city of Flin Flon. We can see a city park on the west bank of the river and a utility building on the east bank that both lie in Saskatchewan but can only be accessed from Manitoba.

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    There’s a little municipal semi-enclave right close to me in the city of Trail, BC. Haley Park, the region’s major athletic complex, lies in Trail but can only be accessed from Bingay Road in the neighbouring village of Warfield (the rail tracks mark the boundary in this case).

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  3. Karl Z says:

    Check out the Texarkana area, too–State Line Avenue follows the boundary of Texas and Arkansas from (almost) the Red River south for many, many miles, even following the Texas-Louisiana state line for quite a ways (with some gaps). When state boundaries follow a section line, there will almost always be a road there, which immediately creates this situation.

    Also, if you want to drop down to the municipal level, there are lots and lots and lots of examples along city boundaries–so many that it isn’t even noteworthy. For instance, my grandfather’s house in Olathe, KS, was on Pflumm Road, and the opposite side of the street was Overland Park. So they’re not hard to find…

  4. Rhodent says:

    Another bisected road is MD/DE Highway 54, which starts off completely in Maryland, then enters into Delaware, then curves back toward Maryland to follow the border for a while, then turns back north into Delaware. As an added bonus for portmanteau-loving bloggers, there is a bisected town along the border-straddling section of the road known as Delmar.

  5. Pfly says:

    How is Canusa pronounced? I see it and say to myself Can-U-S-A, sounding out the letters of USA. For that matter, how is Lake Koocanusa pronounced? I never thought about it before but I think Koo-can-U-S-A when I read it.

  6. Pfly says:

    Also, along the US-Canada border between Washington and British Columbia, near Vancouver, there is the delightfully named “0 Avenue”–1st Avenue is just to the north. I suspect 0 Avenue is actually just barely in Canada. It appears that all the borderline properties in the US are accessed by smaller roads inside the US–even when that means a small parallel road had to be made: …still, “0 Avenue” is a good name!

  7. Joe says:

    My personal favorite is the previously documented case of Kaskaskia, IL, the city that got caught in the middle of the Mississippi (or at least between channels of it). Anyone wishing to visit (by road) must do so from Missouri while crossing the old riverbed while the town is physically cut off from the rest of Illinois by the current riverbed. In addition to be a semi-practical exclave, it also fits with your other recent post of forgotten state capitals, since Kaskaskia served as the state capital of Illinois from 1818-1819 (and as territory capital prior to that before Illinois was a state). Finally, I surmise that this instance represents one of the larger areas to be included in a semi-practical exclave (I’m guessing about 25 square miles of land roughly) and also requires more than just crossing the street to get back on the “right” side of the border. In this case, it is nearly 16 miles by road from the town of Kaskaskia into Missouri and back into Illinois at the town of Chester (11+ miles of that 16 mile trip is spent in Missouri).

  8. Jasper says:

    Kerkrade, NL and Herzogenrath, DE share the Nieuwstraat/Neustraße. One side is Dutch, the other is German. After WWII, the street was separated by a large border fence with border protection with machine guns. Over time, the machine guns went, the barb wire went, pedestrian crossings opened, the fence was replaced by Jersey barriers and now, it’s one happy street.

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  9. Phil Sites says:

    OK – this Canusa Road I may just have to check out in person. I’m heading to that very area in a trip I’m planning for next month and may just have to use the border station there. The nearby Haskell Free Library is also situated directly on the border – which is worth a visit in itself. Outside of St. Regis, QC it might be the only place where you can legally cross an International border in the U.S.(since it resides inside a building) without customs check-in.

  10. Brett says:

    Im not sure if it’s been mentioned but Point Roberts, Washington is an exclave of the USA accessed by land only through Canada (British Columbia). I once drove from vancouver down to point roberts to go for a swim in a different country. Me and my girlfriend decided to go for a walk down the beach and went a little too far. There is a fence on the road but nothing along the beach. We accidently walked past that point and wondered why everybody on their balconies were looking at us so funny…we were just walking on the beach! Apparently we wandered a little too far down the beach and back into Canada for 100 meters or so. Once we figured it out we scooched ourselves back to the USA where my car was before the guards decided to come book us in :p Quite an interesting experience.

  11. Eric says:

    Being fascinated by practical exclaves, this is a cool blog. I know I’m a few years late in this, but curious if you’ve run across this one. Unable to attach a picture but it’s a narrow strip a ways east of Route 89 in Montana,exclave caused by a river called Boundary Creek.

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