View Full Version : Town info -- population & elevation... why?

06-04-2001, 06:19 PM
Generic Town
Population: 9,999
Elevation: 4,000 ft.

Those signs on entering a city make me wonder:

1) Since when and why did population and elevation get top billing?

(Sure, I suppose a large population suggests to any stranger passing through that a wider variety of services are likely to be available, but elevation? Seems as arbitrary as advertising, say, the local legal age of consent, the knowledge of which is arguably more useful...)

2) How do they determine the town's elevation? Highest point in town? Lowest? Elevation of city hall?

06-04-2001, 11:07 PM
I don't know the answer to how they determain the elevation but I found it way cool when I drove thru Pennslyvania. I usually took the toll way but instead I took US 30 and the route was beautiful and you would be how fast the elevation sneaks up on you.

Before you know it boom you're way up high in Ligoner.

06-04-2001, 11:18 PM
Elevation is a big deal on Colorado town boundary signs, but I don't see why it should be given such prominence on signs in -- oh, any other state, really. Why should a passing traveller care if Ditchturd, Oklahoma is 1,306 feet above sea level?

In upstate New York, small towns often post signs at the town boundary reading ZONING IN EFFECT - BUILDING PERMIT REQUIRED.

In Buffalo, the city line signs always have the current mayor's name (and on the signage for practically every municipal building) -- a huge expense if there's a change after elections. Mayor names seem common on other Rust Belt city limit signs, too. In suburban Buffalo, town and village limit signs always list permitted on-street parking times.

Many Texas towns list high school sports championships. "BORINE -- 1968 JUNIOR VARSITY FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPS".

I like the sign at the city limits of affluent Winter Park, Florida. PLEASE DRIVE WITH EXCEPTIONAL CARE. Often, the sgn is vandalized, with the "E" on CARE painted over. I heard that Winter Garden (another one of Orlando's four "Winter Something" named 'burbs) used to have an official sign at the town line reading DON'T LET THE SUN SET ON YOUR BLACK ASS, until the mid-1970s. I hope it's an urlan legend, but considering the town's residents ...

06-04-2001, 11:24 PM
urlan = urban. OmniKey 101, please don't die on me ...

06-04-2001, 11:27 PM
Cecil's answered part of your question:

How is the city elevation shown on road signs and maps determined? (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a960503b.html)

Spavined Gelding
06-04-2001, 11:31 PM
The little Ohio town I grew up in had signs at the city limits that said:

West Harness Buckle
Pop: 1264

The sunset ordinance technically dealt with vagrants, but it was pretty widely acknowledged that it really meant: if youíre not white, youíre not welcome here. It has been 30 years since Iíve been back there; I hope the sign is gone.

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