States with the most curling clubs



The list at the end of this post identifies those states with the most established and operating curling clubs. Clubs that are forming, exist only on paper, or which are inactive are not included in these figures. As is evident below, the Great Lakes, Midwest, and Northeast lead the way with the most clubs, with Wisconsin in first with 28, but in a virtual tie with Minnesota at 27.



The 15 oldest curling clubs based on available data are:

  1. Milwaukee (WI) Curling Club: 1845 – oldest in the USA
  2. Portage (WI) Curling Club: 1850
  3. Boston (MA) Curling Club: 1859
  4. Utica (NY) Curling Club: 1868
  5. Pardeeville (WI) Curling Club: 1875
  6. Poynette (WI) Curling Club: 1875
  7. Lodi (WI) Curling Club: 1880
  8. Waltham (Triumph, IL) Curling Club: 1884
  9. Detroit (MI) Curling Club: 1885
  10. St. Paul (MN) Curling Club: 1888
  11. Duluth (MN) Curling Club: 1891
  12. Superior (WI) Curling Club: 1893
  13. Wausau (WI) Curling Club: 1896
  14. Caledonian (Mankato, MN) Curling Club: 1903
  15. Fairbanks (AK) Curling Club: 1905


The recent rise in popularity in the sport of curling resulting from the Winter Olympics has led the an increase in the number of clubs and their geographical distribution – including in the South. Below is the list of all states with at least one operating curling club. enjoy!

  • Wisconsin = 28
  • Minnesota = 27
  • New York = 13
  • Colorado = 11
  • North Dakota = 10
  • Michigan = 8
  • Illinois = 7
  • California = 6
  • Massachusetts = 6
  • Ohio = 6
  • Vermont = 5
  • New Jersey = 4
  • Pennsylvania = 4
  • South Dakota = 4
  • Utah = 4
  • Washington = 4
  • Alaska = 3
  • New Hampshire = 3
  • North Carolina = 3
  • Texas = 3
  • Idaho = 2
  • Connecticut = 2
  • Indiana = 2
  • Iowa = 2
  • Maine = 2
  • Maryland = 2
  • Missouri = 2
  • Montana = 2
  • Nevada = 2
  • Oklahoma = 2
  • Oregon = 2
  • Wyoming = 2
  • Arizona = 1
  • Delaware = 1
  • Florida = 1
  • Georgia = 1
  • Mississippi = 1
  • Nebraska = 1
  • Rhode Island = 1
  • South Carolina = 1
  • Tennessee = 1
  • Virginia = 1


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Land uses which are more often found “Up North”



As a regular visitor and now denizen of “Up North,” the following is my list of those land uses that tend to be found more often in northern locales of North America than in other parts of the country. This is not meant to imply that they never occur elsewhere, but these land uses just tend to be found more often Up North. Any additions are welcome. Enjoy!

  • Bait and tackle shops
  • Cabin courts
  • Canoe liveries
  • Cider mills (tend to be further south than these other uses)
  • Cranberry production
  • Curling sheets and clubs
  • Downhill (Alpine) and cross-country (Nordic) ski runs
  • Fireplace and hearth sales
  • Firewood sales – literally sites with stacks of cut/chopped firewood for sale by the property owner
  • Fishing and hunting lodges
  • Hockey supply stores
  • Hunting shacks/cabins
  • Ice arenas
  • Ice fishing shanties
  • Ice rinks – indoor and outdoor
  • Lake cottages
  • Log cabin sales and rental
  • Logging camps and related activities
  • Seasonal campgrounds, hotels, resorts, and inns
  • Seaplane bases
  • Ski jumps
  • Snowmobile sales and service
  • Snowmobile trails
  • Sugarbushes
  • Taxidermists
  • Trading posts
  • Winter gear production and/or retail sales
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2015’s Fastest growing markets for small-medium businesses

o Source:

Fascinating data from PayPal which ranks small and medium business (SMB) growth by the year-over-year growth in total payment volume (TPV). All regions of the country are represented in the data, but what truly stands out are the number of cities from the Midwest and Great Plains. Of the Top 20, nine are from one of these two regions. It is also interesting to note that Indianapolis market is the only place listed that has a metropolitan population over one million. Here are the Top 20 markets in the United States for small-medium business growth for 2015:

  1. Fargo-Valley City, North Dakota
  2. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana
  3. Odessa-Midland, Texas
  4. Traverse City-Cadillac, Michigan
  5. Jackson, Mississippi
  6. Watertown, New York
  7. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
  8. Casper-Riverton, Wyoming
  9. Charlottesville, Virginia
  10. North Platte, Nebraska
  11. Lafayette, Louisiana
  12. Sioux Falls-Mitchell, South Dakota
  13. Juneau, Alaska
  14. Bowling Green, Kentucky
  15. Quad Cities, Iowa-Illinois
  16. Indianapolis, Indiana
  17. Beckley-Bluefield-Oak Hill, West Virginia
  18. Jonesboro, Arkansas
  19. Rapid City, South Dakota
  20. Eugene, Oregon

Sources: via

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“Urban” cities and towns



The following is my list of cities and towns with the word “urban” contained in their name. Surprisingly, there are only seven that were identified, with Urbana being easily the most common with four. Iowa and Ohio share honors for the most “urban” places with two each. Any additions to the list are welcome.

Sources: and the 2016 Rand McNally Road Atlas

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The world’s largest airport solar farm is where?


Indianapolis International Airport – Source:

Not in Phoenix, Tucson, Southern California, Florida, the Sahara Desert, the Middle East, Australia, or anywhere else you might first guess. As of December 2014, the world’s largest airport solar farm is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Yes, in the hearth of Indiana, near the entrance to Indianapolis International Airport from Interstate 70. The solar farm contains more the 76,000 solar panels on 162 acres producing 17.5 megawatts of energy.

One would be surprised how often the average Midwesterner dismisses the potential of solar energy in their midst. But, as the technology has improved, you don’t need blazing sunshine to produce beneficial amounts of solar power. Germany knows that, Canada knows that, and America outside of the south and southwest seems to be learning that.

Kudos to Indianapolis (my hometown, by the way) for this achievement. No doubt, some other community will eventually supersede it – in fact a 195 acre, 20 megawatt facility is planned at the Pocatello, Idaho Regional Airport. But, the positive buzz is nice while it lasts.

Properly designed and sited solar farms on open land or on top of large parking structures present many advantages for airports. The solar facility can help reduce the airport’s operating costs, even providing 100 percent of the energy in some cases; it can provide a revenue source through leases; it puts excess land to productive use until it is later needed for aviation purposes; and provides environmental benefits through reductions in greenhouse gases and carbon footprints. In addition, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, fascinating research is being conducted by the University of Arkansas into utilizing the photovoltaic energy from solar farms to de-ice airport runways.

Given all these advantages, is it no wonder that more and more airports worldwide are adding solar farms? What’s odd, is that some airports are not taking advantage of the new energy source for their own power needs. It seems any lease agreement for siting the solar farm should include reduced or no cost solar energy for the airport, thus reducing its operating costs substantially.

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The science of creating place



For those generations prior to the millennials, one’s place of residence was most often determined by factors such as proximity to family and employment opportunities. For this writer, that meant moving to Dayton, Ohio when I was a fresh, shiny new graduate out of college. Nothing against Dayton, as it is a nice area, but the Miami Valley would not have been not my first pick of places to live when measured by today’s placemaking standards. That was just the way things were 35 years or so ago. Back then, those cities with the available jobs in your field were more often than not where you moved.

More recently, college graduates and younger job seekers are first choosing the place where they want to live and then seeking employment opportunities in that city or region. As a result, those places with desirable attributes are attracting talent, while those places which are perceived as less desirable are suffering from brain drain and face potential decline.

Desirable place attributes like beauty are largely in the eye of the beholder, but some of the more common ones identified include active and healthy lifestyle, scenic location, walkability and bikeability, vibrant economy, healthy downtown, cultural diversity, recreational opportunities, mild weather, and potential for exciting job prospects. Those communities that possess most or all of these attributes are succeeding, while those who do not are likely declining.

Granted, not every city can boast a mountain range, coastline, or mild climate, but there are many other attributes that can be enhanced to make it a better place – you don’t need topographical features to make a city walkable or bikeable. In fact, it is less expensive to do so on level terrain. Likewise, promoting healthier lifestyles is not a function of topography or weather, it is a function of good common sense.

Obviously, not everyone can afford to (or wishes to) pull up stakes and move to another community. It is an expensive and stressful endeavor. That is why it is so important to work towards accentuating and improving the positive place attributes of where you already live. It may not be perfect (few places are), but a scenic river valley, lake, or mountain; an historic site; unique architecture features, a cultural vitality, or some other factor(s) could provide the building blocks for building place. In the end, placemaking benefits the whole community.

Dayton, Ohio, mentioned earlier in this post is bisected by three river systems (the Great Miami, the Mad, and the Stillwater) and has topographical features that most Midwestern cities would drool over thanks to these rivers and the area’s glacial moraines. It is also home to two major universities (University of Dayton and Wright State), and it is home to a number of historic sites tied to the Wright Brothers and aviation – all of which are great seeds for growing and enhancing place.

With time, forethought, innovative ideas, and persistence, most, if not all communities have the ability to  enhance their overall sense of place.  The challenge often is circumventing those long-established silos that restrict so many from moving past their preset ways.  It can be done, but won’t happen overnight.

My hometown of Indianapolis successfully transformed itself from the jaded monikers of “Naptown” or “Indianoplace” into one of the most vibrant cities of the Midwest and the whole country.  If a city once called “a racetrack in a cornfield” can do it, then other cities can too – it just takes the will and the tenacity.  Namaste.

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Most populous “fort” cities on the map

Fortaleza, Brazil - Source:

Fortaleza, Brazil – Source:

Below is a list of the largest cities in the world with the word “fort” in their name – while most are associated with a “fort,” there are a few that only have fort in their name by happenstance. Florida leads the way in the United States with six cities on the list; Colorado with three; and Alberta, Iowa, and Texas with two each.

The cities are ranked by the core city population, not by metropolitan area and must have a minimum population of 5,000 residents to be included (based on the most recent census. Those shown in italics are part of a metropolitan area exceeding 1,000,000 residents.

While 22 nations were represented by “port” cities, only six are included here. Perhaps other terms were utilized like “castle” or “citadel,” in some cases forts were not necessary, or the fort’s name did not transfer over to the name of the community. Any additions or corrections to the list are most welcome.

  1. Fortaleza, Brazil = 2,571,896
  2. Fort Worth, TX = 741,206
  3. Fort Wayne, IN = 253,691
  4. Fort Lauderdale, FL = 165,521
  5. Fort Collins, CO = 143,986
  6. Fort Smith, AR = 86,209
  7. Fort-de-France, Martinique = 85,667
  8. Fort Myers, FL = 65,725
  9. Fort McMurray, AB = 61,374
  10. Fort Pierce, FL = 41,590
  11. North Fort Myers, FL = 36,609
  12. Fort Lee, NJ = 35,345
  13. Fort Beaufort, South Africa = 25,668 (double fort city name)
  14. Frankfort, KY = 25,527
  15. Fort Dodge, IA = 25,206
  16. Fort Walton Beach, FL = 19,507
  17. Fort Saskatchewan, AB = 19,051
  18. Fort St. John, BC = 18,609
  19. Frankfort, IN = 16,422
  20. Fort Thomas, KY = 16,325
  21. El Fuerte, Mexico = 12,566
  22. Beaufort, SC = 12,361
  23. Fortuna, California = 11,926
  24. Fort Morgan, CO = 11,315
  25. Fort Madison, IA = 11,051
  26. Fort Stockton, TX = 8,535
  27. Fort Scott, KS = 8,087
  28. Fort Frances, ON = 7,952
  29. Fort Lupton, CO = 7,377
  30. Fort Bragg, CA = 7,273
  31. Fort Myers Beach, FL = 6,277
  32. Fort Myers Shores, FL = 5,487



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