Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shapes that count

Do you know that part of Illinois is west of the Mississippi River? I sure didn't, and I've lived in Illinois all of my life. But now, because I've watched a fascinating History Channel documentary, I've discovered Kaskaskia, the first capitol of Illinois. Kaskaskia, originally established on the western edge of the state, became part of an instant island when the Mississippi River carved out a new channel during flooding in the late 1800s.

This is just one of the many intriguing true state tales covered in the documentary How the States Got Their Shapes. Talk about all sorts of politicking and compromises! This is history we never learned in school; the states just were. But there's a story behind each and every boundary.

Here's a snippet of the documentary to get you started. This excerpt discusses the fabled Mason-Dixon line.

If you'd like to see and hear more anecdotes, the documentary How the States Got Their Shapes is now available at The Urbana Free Library.

Check out the book that inspired the documentary--How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein.

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