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February 09, 2011

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J

Saying that Carson City borders California seems like kind of a stretch, since there's a lake between them.

Anne Dunn

I think Lake Pontchartrain is salt water

Karl Kurtz

J, about that lake in between Nev. and Cal., would you say that St. Louis does not border Illinois because there is a river (a rather wide one) in between the two? Is Ohio not on the northern border of the United States bordering Ontario? For that matter, there's a river in between Trenton and Pennsylvania. I'll stick with my three capital cities that border other states or countries.

As far as Baton Rouge being on salt water, Anne, you're right. Wikipedia says that the lake "is a brackish estuary located in southeastern Louisiana. It is the second-largest inland saltwater body of water in the United States, after the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and the largest lake in Louisiana." So let's make it eight state capitals on salt water, counting both Baton Rouge and Salt Lake City--at least until someone else corrects me further.

J

I get that, but Carson City doesn't really border the lake, either. I'm saying there's a lot of space between Carson City and the California border.

Karl Kurtz

After J's last comment, I checked in with Bob Erickson, long-time and semi-retired Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau staffer, about whether Carson City borders Lake Tahoe and therefore California and received this response:

"You are correct! Carson City does border California along a north/south geopolitical line in Lake Tahoe....

"BUT, if your question had been asked prior to 1968, it would not have been true! For over 100 years, Carson City was a municipality located within Ormsby County. Geographically, Ormsby was a small county for Nevada; only about 153 square miles. Ormsby County bordered on Lake Tahoe and California, but Nevada’s state capital, the city of Carson City, did not. From east to west, old Ormsby County primarily was made up of: mountainous and hilly terrain in the Pine Nut Mountains; part of the Carson River Valley; Eagle Valley (the flat expanse containing the city of Carson City); the rugged, forested, and largely unpopulated Virginia Range (with peaks over 9,000’); and Lake Tahoe. Because almost all of the population of Ormsby County was located in Carson City and Eagle Valley, a constitutional amendment was proposed to consolidate governance of the entire area into “one municipal government,” to be known as Carson City. This “consolidated municipality” was approved by the Legislature in 1965 and 1967, and ratified by the voters in 1968."

Thanks, Bob! I think I win on a TKO.

BTW, the same technicality applies to Juneau bordering on B.C. One reader inquired offline if it was the city of Juneau or the borough of Juneau that bordered Canada. When I checked, it turns out that Juneau has a consolidated borough and city, not unlike the consolidated municipality of Carson City.

J

I consulted another Nevadan and got a similar answer. I concede. Looking at Carson City as a city, though, it is not at all apparent that it reaches the border.

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