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Lakewoods of America

2013 April 2

NOTE: please see this post for a newer version of this graphic; the following post will stay up for archival purposes (i.e. to make sure I don’t look too intelligent).

Thoughts about Lakewood and geography have inspired* a further little amusement: a map of America’s Cities Named Lakewood:

Map of Lakewoods of America by me

Click for larger version. Feel free to re-post; credit requested.

I’ve known for some time that mine is not the only Lakewood; obviously, with such a prosaic name you would expect the idea has turned up more than once among 50 states. And it has, though only seven times per my count. (My source has been a Rand McNally road atlas; I welcome notification of any Lakewoods I have missed, or errors I have made or perpetuated.) Lakeview (or Lake View; Arkansas has both!) seems more prevalent.

The seven Lakewoods, plus two towns with names beginning with Lakewood, make an interesting assortment. They span most of the lower 48 (in a pattern oddly reminiscent of my own travels), and include quite a range of sizes. Lakewood, Colorado, is the largest by some ways, with a population approaching that of every other Lakewood combined. About half, by contrast, are even smaller than my home town of Anamosa (which is, however, one-of-a-kind). Glamorous Lakewood, Ohio, is more or less in the middle at near-60,000.

Whatever their own size, the nation’s Lakewoods seem to turn up relatively near major cities. Colorado’s and Ohio’s are snuggled right next to Denver and Cleveland, respectively, while other Lakewoods are found somewhere within the suburbs of Chicago, Los Angeles and Nashville. New Jersey’s could also arguably be assigned to the greater New York area. Lakewood, NY, might be the most remote by some definitions, though it’s also part of the closest pairing. (I’ve been near the Empire State’s Lakewood, though I’m not certain I actually passed through the town itself.)

As a final note, I find the places Lakewoods aren’t found nearly as interesting as the places where they are. The Great Lakes, very reasonably, are home to a nice little clustering of Lakewoods. (If there are any Lakewoods on the other side of the US-Canadian border, my atlas does not record them.) On the other hand, none in woodsy Wisconsin? Nor a Lakewood anywhere within Minnesota’s much-ballyhooed Land of Ten Thousand Lakes? Almost seems like an oversight.

* With some contribution from boredom. I have been so bored the past few days. I’m going on a long-ish vacation and too much has wound up in advance of it, too soon, and I’ve been booooored like a surly teenager 2/3 of the way through summer break. In addition to the above map, though, I may at least have achieved something in the way of a nonscientific experiment into the idea one sees every now and then, that having 24/7 unlimited access to stimuli via the ‘net impairs creativity by pre-empting the boredom that can spur it. I’m going to say yes, this premise does seem valid; recent boredom has spurred a variety of creative ideas, the above being just one. What a cost, though. I have been so bored! I know one or two people who seem to eliminate the boredom step and simply buzz with projects and schemes constantly… For the rest of us, though, it may come down to a choice: how much is a creative spark really worth to you?

2 Responses
  1. April 3, 2013

    I don’t know that I’d say I “buzz through projects” (how long has my book on Blackstone comics been on the table?) but I infrequently do quip that I haven’t been bored since 1984. Far too many things to see and do and read and learn and experience and create to spend any time bored. 🙂

    Also, there seem to be some additional Lakewoods listed on Wikipedia…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakewood

  2. Matt permalink
    April 3, 2013

    Ah, okay; most look pretty small (neighborhoods, or “a census-designated place,” hah) but apparently I just plain missed the one in Washington. It’s in my atlas, upon a second look.

    Apparently it’s nearly our twin, too, in terms of population. I will certainly have to add this, at least, then. Thanks.

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