Here’s a bit of a puzzler for you to think about this morning: what do Goldfield, Nevada; Lyman, Wyoming; and Hobart, Tasmania all have in common? I’ll give you a hint. Wamego, Kansas. Loyal reader "Mr Burns" now knows the answer. Anyone else?
It’s an unfair question because it’s not a trivia contest, it’s an observation. These are all locations that have registered unusually high number of visits to the Twelve Mile Circle relative to their respective geographic placements.
Readers know by now that the author of a blog devoted to geo-oddities tracks readership trends by location and pays particularly close attention to geographic anomalies. That’s a pretty safe assumption. It doesn’t imply that I’m creepy-Internet-stalker-guy attempting to pierce anyone’s anonymity. It simply means that I see weird things on maps and I take notice. It also offers me an opportunity to learn about new places I’ve never thought about much before.
If you’d like your hometown featured on 12MC there are two ways to do it:
- Live in an obscure area and land squarely on the website often; or
- Take matters into your own hands
Most readers either subscribe to the RSS feed and hit the site only when posting comments, or live in metropolitan areas that obscure individuality within the data. It’s rare and wonderful when the opposite occurs, when a new dot burns itself clearly onto the map.
I think Goldfield may be my new favorite place because it’s so completely random and "middle of nowhere" that it practically jumps out of my statistics in flashing neon.
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Goldfield has a population of about 400 people. It’s the county seat of Esmeralda Co., which has a total population of only about 800, where ghost towns outnumber settlements devoted to the living. True to its name, gold mining brought an original boom of settlers to the area at the turn of the 20th Century when its population peaked at about 30,000 inhabitants. It was the largest city in Nevada for a time. The easy deposits largely played-out within a few decades as did the residents, although exploration and extraction continues today.
Can you imagine if Goldfield remained the largest city in Nevada and caught-on instead of Las Vegas? People would be saying, "What Happens in Goldfield Stays in Goldfield" and Elvis would have performed "Viva Goldfield" at the Goldfield Hilton.
There doesn’t appear to be any easy way to get to Goldfield. It seems to be one of those places that one visits only with good reason. It’s not on the way to anything except maybe Death Vally and it’s not a simple turnoff from an Interstate highway. Hunting and historical tourism are listed as primary attractions today.
Goldfield is the type of place I’ve come to enjoy as I’ve explored the farther corners of the United States. There is beauty in the quiet openness of the desert. I actually do want to experience Goldfield in person someday.
I’ve noticed my Lyman visitor for awhile, at least since the beginning of 2010. I’ve just not had an opportunity to mention him or her before in spite of vague plans to focus some attention there.
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I almost made it to Lyman this summer when I was at Fossil Butte. We planned to swing just a bit out of the way to visit Fort Bridger but go caught in a time crunch. I intended to stop at Lyman had the plan not gone awry — since it’s practically next door — and post a photo on 12MC in tribute to our anonymous reader. Maybe it’s best that it didn’t happen that way. I imagine it might feel a bit disconcerting to the person on the receiving end of that tribute.
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Hobart is the outlier on my brief list. It’s a city of a quarter-million people and has nothing in common with Goldfield or Lyman except that it doesn’t send lots of visitors to 12MC.
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Why feature Hobart, then? It’s more of an expression of appreciation. I realize that most of my content highlights places in North America. It takes something special for a reader sitting elsewhere to wade through all of those topics for an occasional reference that might spark his or her interests.
And to everyone else, thank you too. Maybe someday I’ll feature your hometown if I find the right inspiration.