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Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 2:59 AM
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Historical Ring Cities

this thread is about satellite cities from the 19th century or prior.

chicago has 4 older ring cities from the 19th century that have since been gobbled up by latter-half 20th century sprawl.

what's kinda weird, though, is the almost perfect symmetry in their distances from downtown chicago.



- Waukegan, IL (pop. 89,321): ~35 miles NNW of downtown chicago (incorporated in 1849)

- Elgin, IL (pop. 114,797): ~35 miles WNW of downtown chicago (incorporated in 1854)

- Aurora, IL (pop. 180,542): ~35 miles WSW of downtown chicago (incorporated in 1845)

- Joliet, IL (pop. 150,362): ~35 miles SW of downtown chicago (incorporated in 1852)



all 4 of these cities started out as independent places; not subordinate to chicago in their early development in the 19th century. they are not "burbs" in the traditional sense.

but it is interesting to me that all of them seemed to form at roughly the same time and distance from the big alpha city in a near-perfect ring, and were then consequently consumed by sprawl.


does your metro area follow a similar pattern of a ring of older, larger, but historically independent cities that have been swallowed up?
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Oct 14, 2021 at 6:26 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 3:08 AM
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Houston has very few but Galveston, Pasadena, Pearland, Texas City and Sugar Land to name a few. There are others as well but other than Galveston, most might have been founded in the 1800's as separate communities with their own histories but incorporated much later and became suburban Houston.
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 1:51 PM
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Detroit inner satellites are: 25miles out
Mt Clemens, Pontiac, Plymouth, Flat Rock
Detroit has outter satellites: 50 miles out
Port Huron, Flint, Ann Arbor, Toledo
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 2:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenneth View Post
Detroit inner satellites are: 25miles out
Mt Clemens, Pontiac, Plymouth, Flat Rock
Detroit has outter satellites: 50 miles out
Port Huron, Flint, Ann Arbor, Toledo
I would consider Monroe to be the satellite instead of Flat Rock. Monroe was incorporated in the early 19th century.
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  #5  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 2:50 PM
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Los Angeles has quite a few; the big ones that pop out in my mind are Pasadena, Glendale, and Long Beach, all founded in the 19th Century (though Glendale incorporated as a city in 1906), but many of the towns surrounding Los Angeles started out independently from Los Angeles. Some of them were bona fide agricultural towns, and some of them started out as real estate developments that were in cahoots with the expanding Pacific Electric streetcar system.

Some of these small towns had aspirations of becoming bigger cities, though, even bigger than Los Angeles. Alhambra is one of them. The context is that in the late 1880s, though LA was the county seat of LA County, it still basically was a small town amidst agriculture. Alhambra wanted to create a "Greater Alhambra," and early on started annexing land, and wanted to create a sewer farm outside of its city limits; the people living next to the sewer farm said "Oh HELLZ no" and that's how the cities of Monterey Park and Montebello were created; their incorporations prevented the sewer farm from being built.

Long Beach also started annexing land, and did those sneaky "shoestring annexations," which would encircle large acreages of undeveloped land or agricultural land. When the Lakewood Park Corporation started building acres of tract homes on a former lima bean field encircled by some of Long Beach's shoestrings, Long Beach had plans to annex that development, but instead, the residents formed the city of Lakewood. Pasadena also did somewhat of a shoestring annexation into the mountains north of it, to insure sources of water (many communities allowed themselves to be annexed by the city of LA to access LA's DWP water). Here's Pasadena's city limits; you can see two sections that snake up into the San Gabriel Mountains: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pa....1445155?hl=en

Of course in the early 1900s, LA did a shoestring annexation so that it could annex San Pedro for the Port of Los Angeles.

Shoestring annexations were made illegal in California in the 1950s, after 2 very notable shoestring annexations: Santa Barbara did a shoestring to annex its airport, and San Diego did it to annex San Ysidro, to be on the international border. What makes these shoestring annexations particularly notable is that the shoestring goes under water!

Santa Barbara:

ahstamant.com

San Diego; the shoestring goes through San Diego Bay:

sandiego.gov
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 4:32 PM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
Los Angeles has quite a few; the big ones that pop out in my mind are Pasadena, Glendale, and Long Beach, all founded in the 19th Century (though Glendale incorporated as a city in 1906), but many of the towns surrounding Los Angeles started out independently from Los Angeles. Some of them were bona fide agricultural towns, and some of them started out as real estate developments that were in cahoots with the expanding Pacific Electric streetcar system.

Some of these small towns had aspirations of becoming bigger cities, though, even bigger than Los Angeles. Alhambra is one of them. The context is that in the late 1880s, though LA was the county seat of LA County, it still basically was a small town amidst agriculture. Alhambra wanted to create a "Greater Alhambra," and early on started annexing land, and wanted to create a sewer farm outside of its city limits; the people living next to the sewer farm said "Oh HELLZ no" and that's how the cities of Monterey Park and Montebello were created; their incorporations prevented the sewer farm from being built.

Long Beach also started annexing land, and did those sneaky "shoestring annexations," which would encircle large acreages of undeveloped land or agricultural land. When the Lakewood Park Corporation started building acres of tract homes on a former lima bean field encircled by some of Long Beach's shoestrings, Long Beach had plans to annex that development, but instead, the residents formed the city of Lakewood. Pasadena also did somewhat of a shoestring annexation into the mountains north of it, to insure sources of water (many communities allowed themselves to be annexed by the city of LA to access LA's DWP water). Here's Pasadena's city limits; you can see two sections that snake up into the San Gabriel Mountains: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pa....1445155?hl=en

Of course in the early 1900s, LA did a shoestring annexation so that it could annex San Pedro for the Port of Los Angeles.

Shoestring annexations were made illegal in California in the 1950s, after 2 very notable shoestring annexations: Santa Barbara did a shoestring to annex its airport, and San Diego did it to annex San Ysidro, to be on the international border. What makes these shoestring annexations particularly notable is that the shoestring goes under water!

Santa Barbara:

ahstamant.com

San Diego; the shoestring goes through San Diego Bay:

sandiego.gov
Very interesting. Had no idea the Pasadena city limits extended above la Canada and past the 2 into that part of the Angeles National Forest.. There is no water source in that area so I wonder why
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 5:26 PM
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Very interesting. Had no idea the Pasadena city limits extended above la Canada and past the 2 into that part of the Angeles National Forest.. There is no water source in that area so I wonder why
My guess is maybe the Devil's Gate Dam and the Arroyo Seco.

Also, for a while I always wondered why JPL uses a Pasadena address. I guess it's in that general area.
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Old Posted Sep 30, 2020, 2:22 AM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
Pasadena also did somewhat of a shoestring annexation into the mountains north of it, to insure sources of water (many communities allowed themselves to be annexed by the city of LA to access LA's DWP water). Here's Pasadena's city limits; you can see two sections that snake up into the San Gabriel Mountains: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pa....1445155?hl=en
this is what columbus did and still continues to do to some extent, basically say ok you can access water, but you have to be annexed. meanwhile cleveland gave up their water rights for basically nothing and now its long surrounded by a bunch of crotchety minor fiefdom 'burbs all existing and duplicating services for no good reason. guess who the winners are here? that's right los angeles and columbus in ohio. the lesson is even in waterworld areas like the great lakes, water is always the key!
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Old Posted Sep 30, 2020, 2:34 PM
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Cleveland-Akron seems more analogous to Detroit-Flint, except closer to each other.
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  #10  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2020, 2:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
this is what columbus did and still continues to do to some extent, basically say ok you can access water, but you have to be annexed. meanwhile cleveland gave up their water rights for basically nothing and now its long surrounded by a bunch of crotchety minor fiefdom 'burbs all existing and duplicating services for no good reason. guess who the winners are here? that's right los angeles and columbus in ohio. the lesson is even in waterworld areas like the great lakes, water is always the key!
Yeah...

Los Angeles in the early 20th Century was very powerful in terms of water; this is why the San Fernando Valley, which originally was agricultural, allowed itself to be annexed by LA just for the water---with Burbank and San Fernando being the only independent municipalities in the SFV (I was never sure if Glendale is part of the SFV). Los Angeles built the LA Aqueduct, getting water from the Owens Valley in central California. But by the Great Depression, I believe, the MWD was created (Metropolitan Water District), which gets water from the Colorado River, and sells it wholesale to cities that contract with it, so by then, communities didn't have to rely on the City of LA anymore for water.

According to my city's (South Pasadena) website, its source of water is from: (1) groundwater pumped from wells in the Main San Gabriel Groundwater Basin, (2) surface water imported by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) from the Colorado River, and (3) groundwater from the City of Pasadena.

Whole books have been written about the (often dramatic) story/stories of the quest for water in Los Angeles. I don't doubt that other big cities in the US have equally interesting stories about getting water for their growing populations.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 3:17 PM
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I would consider Monroe to be the satellite instead of Flat Rock. Monroe was incorporated in the early 19th century.
I agree with you, saw it on the map, but didnt research statistics on Monroe. Monroe is so disconnected from Detroit that its never mentioned
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 8:28 PM
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I agree with you, saw it on the map, but didnt research statistics on Monroe. Monroe is so disconnected from Detroit that its never mentioned
I would also add Windsor, ON, and Sarnia, ON, as Detroit satellites.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2020, 6:17 PM
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I would also add Windsor, ON, and Sarnia, ON, as Detroit satellites.
Windsor is more of a sister city than a satellite city as the two downtowns are directly across the river from each other, and both cities have their own metropolitan areas. To me a satellite city needs to be further away from the primary city.
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2022, 4:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kenneth View Post
Detroit inner satellites are: 25miles out
Mt Clemens, Pontiac, Plymouth, Flat Rock
Detroit has outter satellites: 50 miles out
Port Huron, Flint, Ann Arbor, Toledo
I'm not sure Ann Arbor fits in with outer satellites when it's only a bit further away from Campus Martius than Pontiac. Flint, Port Huron and Toledo, those cities are waayy out there.
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2022, 1:50 PM
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I'm not sure Ann Arbor fits in with outer satellites when it's only a bit further away from Campus Martius than Pontiac. Flint, Port Huron and Toledo, those cities are waayy out there.
yeah, ann arbor doesn't neatly fit into either of those two rings, though it's creeping closer to the inner ring with the continued outward sprawl push from metro detroit.


distance from Campus Martius, as the crow flies:

Mt. Clemens: 20 miles
Flat Rock: 21 miles
Plymouth: 22 miles
Pontiac: 25 miles

Ann Arbor: 36 miles

Toledo:53 miles
Port Huron: 55 miles
Flint: 57 miles



toledo, port huron, and flint, are all a bit too far out to really fit the notion of a significant older (pre-war) ring city that has now been fully engulfed by the sprawl of a MUCH larger neighbor, in the way that waukegan, elgin, aurora, and joliet all have been assimilated into chicagoland.
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2022, 2:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
yeah, ann arbor doesn't neatly fit into either of those two rings, though it's creeping closer to the inner ring with the continued outward sprawl push from metro detroit.


distance from Campus Martius, as the crow flies:

Mt. Clemens: 20 miles
Flat Rock: 21 miles
Plymouth: 22 miles
Pontiac: 25 miles

Ann Arbor: 36 miles

Toledo:53 miles
Port Huron: 55 miles
Flint: 57 miles



toledo, port huron, and flint, are all a bit too far out to really fit the notion of a significant older (pre-war) ring city that has now been fully engulfed by the sprawl of a MUCH larger neighbor, in the way that waukegan, elgin, aurora, and joliet all have been assimilated into chicagoland.
Yes somewhat like Rockford being too far out to be a Chicago ring city. Also i did not know Chicago had that many suburbs, along with Los Angeles or perhaps New York it has to be tops.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2020, 10:45 PM
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Cleveland's would be Painesville (27 miles NE, founded 1800), Elyria (30 W, 1817), Lorain (30 W, 1807) and Akron (30 S, 1825) - apart from Lorain which borders Elyria, all are county seats of the neighboring counties, all about the same distance away, and all founded around the same time as Cleveland (1796). Now we are all connected by glorious sprawl too.
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Old Posted Sep 29, 2020, 2:40 PM
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Cleveland's would be Painesville (27 miles NE, founded 1800), Elyria (30 W, 1817), Lorain (30 W, 1807) and Akron (30 S, 1825) - apart from Lorain which borders Elyria, all are county seats of the neighboring counties, all about the same distance away, and all founded around the same time as Cleveland (1796). Now we are all connected by glorious sprawl too.
Akron is NOT a ring city of Cleveland.
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Old Posted Sep 29, 2020, 3:17 PM
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Akron is NOT a ring city of Cleveland.
Local Akronite (Akroner?) pride feelings aside, I think Akron has most defintiely become a “ring city” of Cleveland... part of the whole Northeast Ohio sprawl, of which Cleveland is the hub from which it has spread to engulf Akron, et al.
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Old Posted Sep 29, 2020, 3:47 PM
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Local Akronite (Akroner?) pride feelings aside, I think Akron has most defintiely become a “ring city” of Cleveland... part of the whole Northeast Ohio sprawl, of which Cleveland is the hub from which it has spread to engulf Akron, et al.
Can you tell me what Lorain/Elyria or Painsville have in common with Akron? How is Akron comparable at all to those cities other than being close to Cleveland?

What ring cities have their own :

Zoo
Two State Universities
Hospital System
Children's Hospital
Art Museum
Syphony Orchestra
Airport
Etc....

Due to Sprawl the Akron area and Cleveland area are neighbors but it's not a sattelite or ring city, like a Waukegan to Chicago or Lorain to Cleveland.

Last edited by westak; Sep 29, 2020 at 5:44 PM.
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