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  #1  
Old 09-10-2011, 12:35 PM
Mangosteen Mangosteen is offline
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Town name found in all 50 states?

I think Hawaii might mess up the chances of finding a town name that is found in all 50 states, so maybe we might have to say, "excluding Hawaii". Oahu has some "mainland" sounding town names, but not many.
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  #2  
Old 09-10-2011, 12:39 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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"Greenville" appears to be the closest, at 48.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:42 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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Hereyou go.

There are 50 Greenvilles in 48 states (there are 3 Greenvilles in New York).

So no, there aren't any towns that appear in all 50 states. Greenville is closest, followed by Franklin, of which there are 30 in 27 states (two each in New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina).

Bah, DC beat me.

Last edited by AClockworkMelon; 09-10-2011 at 12:42 PM..
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  #4  
Old 09-10-2011, 12:49 PM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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Interesting...Springfield is often cited as 'found in all states'...I already knew that was wrong, but that it's only the 4th most common name according to that link, with 28 in 24 states (5 of them are in Wisconsin) is something I didn't. That's not even half the states!
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  #5  
Old 09-10-2011, 01:18 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Note that the places in the list given by the link in AClockworkMelon's link are not all incorporated places. The list includes non-incorporated places which are census-designed places. Basically, this means places which have a common name attached to them even though they may not be recognized as being a legal unit by anyone else and which may be quite tiny.
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  #6  
Old 09-10-2011, 01:19 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
"Greenville" appears to be the closest, at 48.
I started to look through that list of Greenvilles. In Connecticut, it's a neighborhood in Norwich. In New Jersey, it's part of Jersey City and one of the Greenvilles in New York and the one in Delaware are census-designated places. I haven't gone through the whole list, but do these count?
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  #7  
Old 09-10-2011, 01:31 PM
Meme Chose Meme Chose is online now
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Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
There are 50 Greenvilles in 48 states (there are 3 Greenvilles in New York).
Make that 47. As far as I can determine, there is no Greenville in SD. It's not listed in an 1895 atlas (so, probably not a small town from the early days of statehood that has since faded into dust).

There is a "Grenville."
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  #8  
Old 09-10-2011, 01:37 PM
Mangosteen Mangosteen is offline
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I own 8 acres on the Big Island. I think I'll call it Greenville (heck, it rains 150 inches a year, its plenty green!).

It'll just be an unincorporated neighborhood of Pepeekeo, Hawaii. Then there will be 49 out of 50.
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  #9  
Old 09-10-2011, 01:39 PM
Idle Thoughts Idle Thoughts is offline
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That link now says there's a Greenville in SD. Is it wrong?

Last edited by Idle Thoughts; 09-10-2011 at 01:39 PM..
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  #10  
Old 09-10-2011, 01:47 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I started to look through that list of Greenvilles. In Connecticut, it's a neighborhood in Norwich. In New Jersey, it's part of Jersey City and one of the Greenvilles in New York and the one in Delaware are census-designated places. I haven't gone through the whole list, but do these count?
I don't know. I'm becoming increasingly wary of that list; with some further research I'm not able to find a lot of them. There's no such place I can find in South Dakota as Meme Chose notes above, nor have I found a Greenville in Maryland, Colorado, Idaho, or Montana, and according to Google Maps Greenville, New Mexico appears to be a random point on the side of a mountain.
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  #11  
Old 09-10-2011, 01:53 PM
Meme Chose Meme Chose is online now
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Yes, it says there is one. However, it was a town name I had never heard, so I did some snooping around. There are scads of little burgs that no longer are so much as a trail through the grass, so I can't be absolutely certain, without a lot more research, that it didn't/doesn't exist. But, I couldn't find it on any map or index.

We used to drive through Vilas. For years, the population was proudly proclaimed on the town sign. 2. As in, 1+1. Then, one day, suddenly, the population had doubled! The 2000 census tallies the population at 19. If you can find Vilas, you would think Greenville (if one existed) could be found.
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  #12  
Old 09-10-2011, 02:18 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Yeah, that link is suspect. For example, I just edited it because it said there were 17 Clevelands. It omitted the one in WV. I added it.

It is a small unincorporated town on Route 20 south between Buckhannon and Webster Springs, but not listed on Wiki.
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  #13  
Old 09-10-2011, 03:33 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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There are only 24 US post offices named Greenville. An important distinction should be made among place names, names of incorporated municipalities, and names of cities with post offices. A few years ago I put together a list of all US post offices for toponymic enthusiasts to play with.

The July 1994 ACSM Bulletin, quoting a press release concerning the USGS Geographic Names Information System, gave the most popular "town" name as Midway. Fairview was second and Oak Grove third. However, this was based on the placenames on topographic maps, which include many unincorporated and "railroad siding" placenames, as opposed to a strict count of incorporated municipalities. This listing, however, was accepted as the answer when NPR's Car Talk posed this as a puzzler a few years back.

Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes" on 16 Oct 1994 quoted a US Postal Service listing and gave the answer as Franklin (33 usages), Washington (31), and Clinton (30).
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  #14  
Old 09-10-2011, 03:36 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
I don't know. I'm becoming increasingly wary of that list; with some further research I'm not able to find a lot of them. There's no such place I can find in South Dakota as Meme Chose notes above, nor have I found a Greenville in Maryland, Colorado, Idaho, or Montana, and according to Google Maps Greenville, New Mexico appears to be a random point on the side of a mountain.
The one in New Mexico seems to be a mine.

http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispub...:P3_FID:915299
http://www.westernmininghistory.com/mine/16878/
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  #15  
Old 09-10-2011, 04:35 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is online now
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
New Mexico appears to be a random point on the side of a mountain.

If you pick a closer view, you'll notice there's something slightly to the north-west. A trail, apparently, and what looks like large holes. I'm guessing the foundations of former houses. So, it might be a hamlet that disappeared.
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  #16  
Old 09-10-2011, 05:42 PM
Lamar Mundane Lamar Mundane is offline
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I have never heard of a Greenville, Colorado, and can find no evidence of one in some research online.
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  #17  
Old 09-10-2011, 06:53 PM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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That list on wikipedia is full of bogus entries. Greenville is not found in anywhere near 48 states.

The name found in the most states is Riverside, which according to the GNIS database linked to upthread, is found in 46 states (all but AK, HI, LA and OK). If you look on old maps, you can find a Riverside in OK. I've seen some indication online that there may have been one in Louisiana, but it may just have been a cemetary (the pages were geneological).

I wrote an article about this for Word Ways (magazine), but I no longer have it on line.
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:26 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I did this research myself at work one day when I was working on a project with detailed zip code data back in 2000. People kept saying that Springfield was the most common name of of an actual town or city in the U.S. based on Simpsons trivia. It was easy to show that wasn't true although it was near the top. It was harder than I thought to determine the number of real towns and cities with a given name. There are named zip codes that few people use in real life. I also came up with 'Franklin' as the most common name of real town and cities in the U.S. followed by 'Washington' and 'Clinton' (not named after the president) which is the answer given by the postal service and I didn't know that at the time.

The fact that Greenville has three entries in New York alone indicates something is wrong. Town and city names shouldn't be duplicated in the same state although things like neighborhoods or business districts can.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 09-10-2011 at 07:29 PM..
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  #19  
Old 09-10-2011, 08:31 PM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
Town and city names shouldn't be duplicated in the same state although things like neighborhoods or business districts can.
Maybe they shouldn't be, but sometimes they are. Ohio has three municipalities named Oakwood, for example.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 09-10-2011 at 08:32 PM..
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  #20  
Old 09-10-2011, 11:40 PM
friedo friedo is online now
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
The fact that Greenville has three entries in New York alone indicates something is wrong. Town and city names shouldn't be duplicated in the same state although things like neighborhoods or business districts can.
Two of the three Greenvilles in New York are legitimate incorporated towns. The third, in Westchester County is an unincorporated CDP that nobody actually calls Greenville, anyway.
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  #21  
Old 09-11-2011, 03:16 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
I think Hawaii might mess up the chances of finding a town name that is found in all 50 states, so maybe we might have to say, "excluding Hawaii". Oahu has some "mainland" sounding town names, but not many.
Just as a point of interest, the island of Oahu is part of one city, that of Honolulu. The areas colloquially called towns or cities within Honolulu are not incorporated as cities and thus are still part of the City and County of Honolulu.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:14 AM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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There are no incorporated cities or towns in Hawaii. Or perhaps there's just one: the City and County of Honolulu, which, as its name suggests, is a combined city and county and covers the entire island of Oahu. Every other populated place is an unincorporated CDP. The lowest local government in Hawaii is the county. It's just the way they organize local government there.

So if you want to find the most common incorporated town name, just ignore Hawaii.

As far as duplicate names within a state, generally the only two restrictions are that there can't be two post offices with the same name in a state and there can't be two duplicate incorporated names in the same state (although some states may allow that). Otherwise, there's no restrictions. There's lots of duplications among unincorporated placenames, even within a single county. As an extreme, the GNIS database has no fewer than 6 localities named Five Points in Mercer County, PA. There's some names with dozens of instances in the same state, although I can't remember the specifics off-hand.
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  #23  
Old 09-11-2011, 06:24 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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dtilque: Psst. Quietly look at the post just above yours.
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  #24  
Old 09-11-2011, 11:38 PM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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Originally Posted by Monty View Post
dtilque: Psst. Quietly look at the post just above yours.
Yes, I know I was duplicating info, but I wanted to make the point that it applied to all of Hawaii, not just Oahu.
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  #25  
Old 09-12-2011, 12:17 PM
Malleus, Incus, Stapes! Malleus, Incus, Stapes! is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I did this research myself at work one day when I was working on a project with detailed zip code data back in 2000. People kept saying that Springfield was the most common name of of an actual town or city in the U.S. based on Simpsons trivia. It was easy to show that wasn't true although it was near the top.
Huh. Who knew?

(Not me. I'm too lazy to look up every factoid I hear, particularly if it's from a book).

Last edited by Malleus, Incus, Stapes!; 09-12-2011 at 12:17 PM..
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  #26  
Old 09-13-2011, 06:06 PM
TerpBE TerpBE is offline
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Originally Posted by Tengu View Post
Interesting...Springfield is often cited as 'found in all states'...I already knew that was wrong, but that it's only the 4th most common name according to that link, with 28 in 24 states (5 of them are in Wisconsin) is something I didn't. That's not even half the states!
That lists only one Springfield, PA, but there are actually NINE of them in PA.

If that were the only mistake on that list (which I doubt), correcting that omission would bump Springfield from 4th to 2nd place.

Last edited by TerpBE; 09-13-2011 at 06:09 PM..
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  #27  
Old 09-14-2011, 01:11 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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So if you want to find the most common incorporated town name, just ignore Hawaii.
Are you sure there isn't a Honolulu in the other 49 states?
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  #28  
Old 09-14-2011, 10:42 PM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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Are you sure there isn't a Honolulu in the other 49 states?
Actually, there is one, and it's in GNIS. But it's just a locale rather than a populated place. And the state that it's in ... Alaska!
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  #29  
Old 09-14-2011, 10:57 PM
paperbackwriter paperbackwriter is offline
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I started to look through that list of Greenvilles. In Connecticut, it's a neighborhood in Norwich.
Although Greenville, CT is within the town of Norwich, I would still consider it a valid entity, unlike simple census-designated places. CT's organization of local government is entirely town-based. Counties are just lines on a map and have no governmental authority. Even when they did have some form of governmental function, it was extremely limited. There are essentially no unincorporated areas.

This town-by-town organization was essentially agricultural in character through the 19th centuries. Industrialization in that era "broke" local government in many places. In some towns, say, Bridgeport, industrialization was widespread and changed the nature of the entire town, so the town government changed to keep up. In other towns, such as Windham, Vernon, and Norwich, industrialization was concentrated into certain sections (usually near waterpower resources). The residents and commercial interests in these sections often felt under-represented and under-supported by the town government, as the rest of the town retained its rural, agricultural character. Instead of splitting those sections into new towns, the legislature created cities within the existing towns, with separate governmental powers. So Willimantic in Windham, Rockville in Vernon, and, yes, Greenville in Norwich were cities inside of a larger town.

It's confusing to people from other states, but I think that makes them independent enough to be considered legit "town names" as in the OP.

Those early industries, mostly textiles, are now all long gone and the city governments are now part of the larger towns, but they retain identities and are often the center of the current town.
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