7 Postcards of Lost States of America Which Never Existed — Yet, Anyway
You probably know by now that I am fascinated by the anomalies of geography — how borders were formed, inconsistencies in the numbering of highways, typefaces used on road signs, roads which inexplicably end or go nowhere, and states of the United States which were proposed but never happened, as only a few of many examples — and have written many articles as a result.
7 Postcards of Lost States of America Which Never Existed — Yet, Anyway
A series of fictitious postcards for seven states which were proposed but do not currently exist has been created — and this article from CashNetUSA highlights those lost states which you may have already visited in their present form.
I have been given express written permission to use the images in this article. Verbatim text from the aforementioned article is in quotes above each postcard, with brief notes added by me for some of the destinations below each postcard.
“Anticipation and excitement surrounded every potential new state, and in 1939 the residents of what could have become Absaroka got as far as holding beauty pageants and creating license plates. But due in part to the distraction of the Second World War, they didn’t actually get as far as making a proposal to Congress. These areas of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota ended up staying put.”
Absaroka would have comprised extreme northern Wyoming; extreme southern Montana; and extreme western South Dakota — most likely including Mount Rushmore. Sheridan in Wyoming would have been the capital city of the new state, with Rapid City in South Dakota being the largest city.
The name was derived from the Absaroka Range of the Rocky Mountains in Montana; and the name itself supposedly means “children of the large-beaked bird.”
“Unsurprisingly, there have been a few attempts to create a state named after Thomas Jefferson. This one encompassed counties in Oregon and California, which tried to break away in 1941. They made headlines when armed men stopped traffic on Route 99 to hand out their flyers, but the proposal lost all of its momentum a couple months later, when the attack on Pearl Harbor saw America enter the war.”
The campaign to create the state of Jefferson is actually still alive and well. For additional information pertaining to Jefferson, please refer to this article which I wrote on Monday, July 4, 2016.
3. South California
“Even the 21st century has seen attempts to create a 51st state. In 2011, a supervisor from Riverside Country proposed a new state – to be comprised of the southern counties of California — with the aim of boosting the economy and local services. Few people were excited about the idea though, with California Governor Jerry Brown calling the proposal ‘a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody’s time.’”
California is actually a mess when pertaining to factions attempting to dissect the state to create smaller states. The latest news is that a ballot initiative to give all Californians the opportunity to vote to divide California into three separate states was approved by the Office of Elections of the state of California last month for inclusion on the statewide election in November of 2018. Those three proposed states are currently initially referred to as California, Northern California, and Southern California.
That initiative is not to be confused with a campaign for the state to secede from the United States to become a sovereign nation. An organization called YesCalifornia was recently granted permission by the attorney general of California to advocate for the official secession of California by collecting signatures to qualify what is known as the California Self-Determination Referendum Act for the ballot in November of 2020…
…nor is this initiative to be confused with a northern portion of the state wanting to secede from the state of California and become the state of Jefferson; and in yet another initiative, a large area comprised of 17 counties in California which calls itself New California and declared independence from the rest of the state as of Monday, January 15, 2018.
“A giant state proposed by the Church Of Latter Day Saints in 1849, Deseret would have contained parts of present day Utah, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming. It would have been full of famous landmarks, from the Grand Canyon to Monument Valley, but the creation of Utah Territory in 1850 put an end to dreams of Deseret.”
Deseret was never recognized for statehood by the federal government of the United States; but reminders of the lost state still exist today — such as the Deseret News, which serves the people of Salt Lake City and surrounding areas in Utah.
5. South Florida
“In 2008, commissioners in North Lauderdale decided that enough was enough when it came to taxes. They claimed they weren’t getting fair treatment and proposed splitting the state of Florida in two. While South Florida wouldn’t have gotten Disney World, it would have kept Miami and the Keys — so there would still have been lots of fun to be had if the split had gone ahead.”
Numerous people currently call the region South Florida; so getting used to a transition into statehood would not be difficult.
Although I have visited South Florida countless times and seen it grow over the years — chiefly due to a mass exodus of New Yorkers and residents of other northern states and Canada moving there, as well as an influx of “snowbirds” every winter — I had no idea that the region was campaigning for statehood.
Interestingly, North Lauderdale is not the only city which attempted to establish a separate state in southern Florida. According to this article written by Kyle Munzenrieder of Miami New Times, in October of 2014, “the city commission of South Miami, which for better or worse hardly ever makes local headlines, made national headlines by passing a resolution calling for Florida to be split into two separate states. The idea didn’t go anywhere but viral online, but the commission decided to try again at its latest meeting and passed another state-splitting resolution 3-2.”
“A state made up of counties from Texas and Oklahoma couldn’t have a more obvious or perfect name than Texlahoma. And landmarks like the Buddy Holly statue, Cadillac Ranch and Wichita Falls make it all the more disappointing that this state never happened. It was planned in the early 1900s by people who felt that the roads were being neglected by their respective state governments. While they were keen to create a new state and run things themselves, the enthusiasm was short-lived.”
During my road trip across much of the United States in October of 2017 — yes, yes, I know, I still have many articles which I have to write about that trip — I was in the territory which would have been known as Texlahoma, which is the home of the establishment where a woman ate three 72-ounce steak dinners in 20 minutes.
The moral of the story is that there was a lot at steak in the creation of Texlahoma.
“The period following the Revolutionary War was marked by a few shady land deals made as the America we know today took shape. One of those almost led to the founding of a state called Franklin in what is now eastern Tennessee, home to the Great Smoky Mountains and Dolly Parton’s theme park. But when it was put to a vote, Franklin lost out. And really, it’s hard to imagine Dollywood ever being anywhere other than Tennessee.”
During my road trip of much of the east coast of the United States in April of 2018 — yes, yes, I know, I still have many articles which I have to write about that trip — I was in the territory which would have been known as Franklin, in which the Blue Ridge Parkway is found.
Believe it or not, these seven proposed states are only a mere fraction of the number of territories whose citizens campaigned for statehood — including the District of Columbia as recently as two years ago. Have you ever heard of Nataqua, Superior, Vandalia, Popham, Yazoo, Acadia, and the Trans-Oconee Republic?
Imagine having as many as 90 states in the United States — and what their postcards might look like…
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.