February 10, 1996 in Features

A New Claim To Fame

Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Revie
 

As proud residents of the biggest city between Seattle and Minneapolis, we never seem to tire of bragging about living in the biggest city between Seattle and Minneapolis.

What it boils down to, however, is this: Hardly anybody lives in Montana and North Dakota.

Still, my interest in this issue was piqued by a recent variation. A Spokane organization described itself as the only organization of its kind “between Seattle and Ann Arbor, Mich.”

So I got out my atlas and discovered a startling fact. Ann Arbor, Mich., is 400 miles south of Spokane by latitude. In fact, Ann Arbor is at about the same latitude as Medford, Ore., practically on the California border.

And then I discovered an even more shocking fact. Even Minneapolis is 200 miles south of Spokane by latitude. Minneapolis is on a level with Salem, Ore., for crying out loud.

Sure, you can draw a line between Spokane and Minneapolis, but the line tilts so far to the south that it eventually cuts through Africa and ends up off the coast of Australia.

Obviously, this brings up an intriguing new possibility for our city. Since we’re not actually between Seattle and Minnesota, we may, in fact, be the biggest city between Seattle and … well, the mind reels.

The key to this issue is: How wide a swath are we talking about? Define it too widely, and you’ve got yourself a Denver problem. Denver is indisputably east of Seattle, indisputably west of Minneapolis, and indisputably bigger than Spokane. But traditionally, we have rid ourselves of that Denver problem by dismissing it as way too far south, as is Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Dallas and Houston.

Since we’ve already narrowed this down to the northern corridor of states; I suggest we narrow it even further. I propose going strictly 47th parallel.

That’s fair, since Seattle is at 47.36 degrees north and and Spokane is at 47.40 degrees north. Why should we compete with Minneapolis, which is way the heck down on the 44th parallel?

Here’s what we run into between the 47th and 48th parallel, heading east:

Great Falls, Mont.

Grand Forks, N.D.

Hibbing, Minn.

No contest there, and we’ve already made it safely past Minneapolis.

From there we head across the Great Lakes and into Canada, where we have a near-miss with Quebec (46th parallel) and then we run smack into St. John’s, Newfoundland. It lies on our parallel, but only has about 95,000 people. So we can continue on across the Atlantic to …

Nantes, France, where our journey comes to an end. Nantes is bigger than Spokane, with a city population of about 245,000. Let’s try out our new motto:

Spokane! The biggest city between Seattle and Nantes!

I don’t know. I don’t like it. It’s too hard to pronounce, and the name recognition factor is low. Surely we can do better than that.

I propose we toss out Nantes because it is down at 47.13 degrees north, which is actually the latitude of Rosalia and Tekoa, not Spokane. We can lose Zurich for the same reason, since it isn’t much better at 47.23.

Which brings us to the big winner, the undisputed champ: Budapest. Budapest has 2 million-plus people in the city limits alone, and it lies at 47.30 degrees north, which is still not quite perfect (it’s about at the level of Cheney), but close enough. Besides, this is a motto that sounds good:

Spokane! The biggest city between Seattle and Budapest!

I personally plan to use this motto daily: “Come on kids, let’s go to the biggest mall between Seattle and Budapest!”

Or, “I may be wrong, but I think this is the best darn cinnamon roll between Seattle and Budapest.”

Now that’s something to be proud of. But I think we can even top that.

I’ve been taking a hard look north and south, at longitude instead of latitude, and I think we can safely say:

Spokane! The biggest city between San Diego and San Diego, via either pole!

, DataTimes MEMO: To leave a message on Jim Kershner’s voice-mail, call 459-5493. Or send e-mail to jimk@spokesman.com, or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

To leave a message on Jim Kershner’s voice-mail, call 459-5493. Or send e-mail to jimk@spokesman.com, or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review


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