I suppose as far back as later grade school years I was vaguely aware that most U.S. state capitals were definitely not the most populous cities in their respective states. (Boston, Denver and Honolulu are exceptions.) In my own state, New York State, Albany is not only tiny compared to New York City, but also outranked by Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers and Syracuse.
It was not until early college years I came across an explanation from Asimov that the reason was fear of “big city mobs”.
Only in recent months has it occurred to me to ask: Okay, sure, but how were those particular smallish urban areas chosen? Why, for example, Sacramento, CA, instead of some other alternative to teeming L.A.?
Secondly, as long as on the general subject: Is there a pattern to the decisions on the three or so exceptions?