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Superior States?

The Ones That Never Made the Map

Apr. 24, 2010
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As recently as the 1970s, there was serious talk of establishing a 51st state, to be called Superior, by combining Upper Michigan with a few forested counties of northern Wisconsin. The reason some residents favored the idea was similar to the thinking behind many of the abortive statehood schemes collected in Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States that Never Made It (Quirk). When feeling ignored by lawmakers in their state capitals, some have proposed turning their particular patch of ground into a state of its own.

Author Michael J. Trinklein lives in Cedarburg, Wis., and has no apparent plans to push for a state of Ozaukee. The writer-producer of the Emmy-winning PBS documentary “Pioneers of Television” has been a collector of odd facts from American history, especially ideas for states that were never added to the Star Spangled Banner. Lost States sometimes resembles a grab bag of loony ideas, like the proposals to admit Greenland, Iceland, Panama, Taiwan and even Great Britain to the Union.

Lost States is an enjoyable tour of make-believe geography, tracing boundary lines that were never drawn. And yes, in the early days of the republic, someone actually proposed a state of Transylvania. That was a century before Bram Stoker popularized an Eastern European land with ancient claims to the name.


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