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Old 06-01-2015, 08:17 PM
 
Location: 406
1,423 posts, read 1,542,433 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mini-apple-less View Post
What about Great Falls and Billings? I know Great Falls is technically in the western half of the state, but socioculturally, economically and climatically I think it's much more similar to Bismarck than to say, Corvallis. I lived there for 3 years and it felt pretty Midwestern to me, granted Great Falls is pretty unique and is actually quite different from other places in Montana.
Billings in many ways reminds me more of Grand Junction than it reminds me of Fargo, and I'm confident to say that no one from Billings would identify as a Midwesterner; however, I do understand your comparison of Great Falls and Bismarck based on their similar military economies and populations...they're both pretty windy and miserable through the winter months...but what exactly makes Great Falls markedly more similar to Bismarck than it is to, perhaps, Moses Lake or Lewiston-Clarkston in a sociocultural sense?

And no, to agree with you again, I wouldn't compare GF to anything in the Wilamette Valley or west of the Cascades in general, that's for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mini-apple-less View Post
I still don't think Montana and northern Idaho have more in common with Arizona and New Mexico than they do with states like North Dakota and Minnesota. You could make a case for them being more like OR and WA yes.
In all fairness, it can't be said that MT and ND have nothing in common, but their similarities are prominent only in a geographical area--albeit a very large one--that isn't home to most Montanans or North Dakotans.

Western ND and Eastern MT are incredibly rural areas, and although they can be very powerful politically in both states for economic reasons surrounding extractive industry, it just isn't a large enough population sample to base such a broad conclusion on.

I personally wouldn't at all think of Washington and Arizona as having a whole lot in common, but I would never question the extent to which they're Western states, and apparently you don't either. So, then, why can two ostensibly different places belong to the same regional family, yet another traditional member of that regional family is out of place because mere pockets of it resemble a next-door neighbor that belongs to another geographic region?

That's kinda what I'm getting stuck on...but I'm glad you agree with me concerning Montana's ties to the PNW.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:28 PM
 
3,751 posts, read 3,718,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montguy View Post
Billings in many ways reminds me more of Grand Junction than it reminds me of Fargo, and I'm confident to say that no one from Billings would identify as a Midwesterner; however, I do understand your comparison of Great Falls and Bismarck based on their similar military economies and populations...they're both pretty windy and miserable through the winter months...but what exactly makes Great Falls markedly more similar to Bismarck than it is to, perhaps, Moses Lake or Lewiston-Clarkston in a sociocultural sense?

And no, to agree with you again, I wouldn't compare GF to anything in the Wilamette Valley or west of the Cascades in general, that's for sure.
I don't know, I think Eastern Washington feels pretty different from central or eastern Montana. I think it might be because they have an arid summer while central and eastern Montana can get pretty wet and stormy during the summer. I also think eastern and central Montana are more "people-centric" if that makes any sense - OR and WA are societies of loners, and I find that people are less trusting and willing to help strangers compared to Montana. Montanans are still a lot more reserved than Midwesterners but I feel like they share the conscientiousness and willingness to assist with Midwestern people and that this sets them apart from Pacific Northwesterners, who tend to be more guarded and self-absorbed.

If anything though, I would say Great Falls and North Central/Northeastern Montana has most in common with the Canadian prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Even though GF is technically in the western half of Montana its feeder region is mostly east of it and the character and climate is more like eastern Montana than like Missoula or Helena. It's a lot like a smaller version of Regina or Saskatoon actually, though of course the culture is somewhat different from Canadian culture.

I haven't been to Billings but from what I've heard it sounds like it actually has more of a distinct "Western" feel than Great Falls, which IMO is a Great Plains city to the core ... not really Western or Midwestern in character, but something of a mix of the two. Fargo, of course, is practically Minnesota and probably has more in common with Michigan than it does with Williston in many ways.

Montana is a bit of an odd state I think and doesn't really have much of a unified feel. Missoula does remind me a lot of Corvallis though, and seems similar to eastern Washington and northern Idaho, though again it has that Montana communal feeling. Butte reminds me of Grants Pass too - I think the western 1/4 of Montana feels like the PNW and even has pockets of temperate rainforest, but it also feels more wild and unspoiled, like BC or Alaska. Very few areas of OR/WA west of the Cascades are true wilderness while in Montana you can actually get stranded in the wild and die if you aren't careful.

But yeah, I wouldn't consider anywhere in Montana Midwestern aside from maybe the northeastern corner of the state, you know, towns like Plentywood which are pretty much indistinguishable from North Dakota and very Scandinavian/farmy in character. But I would say that Great Falls is one of the most Midwestern places outside of the Midwest, certainly more like the Midwest than anywhere in New York State or Pennsylvania that's for sure. You could easily plop any of those north central Montana farming communities into North Dakota or Nebraska and they would fit in seamlessly.

Last edited by Mini-apple-less; 06-01-2015 at 11:52 PM..
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:46 PM
 
3,751 posts, read 3,718,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montguy View Post

I personally wouldn't at all think of Washington and Arizona as having a whole lot in common, but I would never question the extent to which they're Western states, and apparently you don't either. So, then, why can two ostensibly different places belong to the same regional family, yet another traditional member of that regional family is out of place because mere pockets of it resemble a next-door neighbor that belongs to another geographic region?

That's kinda what I'm getting stuck on...but I'm glad you agree with me concerning Montana's ties to the PNW.
I think Washington and Arizona are similar because they are both so heavily influenced by California. Also, they have always had a lot of Hispanics (Yakima has been quite Hispanic forever due to the hops industry) and that demographic is almost absent in Montana, and to me a strong Mexican influence is one of the main pillars of "Western-ness".

Washington and Arizona also have the commonality of having huge swaths of desert. Montana's plains have some pockets of desert-like areas, but overall I would describe them more as semi-humid and unlike the sage steppes of eastern Washington central and eastern Montana can look surprisingly lush and green during certain times of the year, very much like the western parts of the Midwest. Even though Montana's precipitation level is overall quite low, it doesn't seem semi-arid to me because the evapotranspiration rate is also very low due to the cold. The Montana prairies actually feel quite marshy and waterlogged in a lot of places, and the banks along the rivers have forests that are biologically similar to the forests of the eastern United States and share many of the same species. There are even fireflies in pockets of Montana. Montana is a humid continental climate without high humidity, basically.

I also think Washington and Arizona again have that "Western standoffishness" and the people there tend to be loners. There's also a materialistic bent to those states that is definitely far less present in Montana. Montana is quite possibly the most pro-worker and least materialistic state in the Union, and to me that sets it apart from other Western states.

This isn't to say Montana doesn't have some Western characteristics. There is a huge Native American presence there to the point they are the state's largest minority and you are likely to have Native American friends if you live there, casinos are everywhere and when I lived there in the late 90s/early 2000s you could still smoke pretty much everywhere. But you could say the same things about parts of the Midwest and South too.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:37 PM
 
526 posts, read 462,599 times
Reputation: 1386
Utah should be south, its very similar to Florida. Ohio is northeastern. North Dakota, which is like a mini SoCal should be in the west. Also, NY belongs in between Alabama and Louisiana due to its strong southern charm.

Obviously I am not being serious. While i do respect the time you put into your map, I cant believe we are getting into a debate on regions again. I need to bring a little light into this situation since CD debates regions similar to the way normal people debate abortion and capital punishment. (we get no-where ever)
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
6,061 posts, read 3,386,291 times
Reputation: 7710
Where can I buy that sweet crack of yours? How is all of Colorado western but not most of Utah when all of Utah is directly west of Colorado? And how is Indianapolis or the entire state of Missouri southern? Even in terms of culture that falls flat, and if you're going by culture you might wanna align southeast Florida with the Northeast. This makes no sense.
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Old 06-02-2015, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
124 posts, read 207,215 times
Reputation: 164
BTW Utah has a higher percentage of latinos than Washington doi.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Westminster/Huntington Beach, CA
1,780 posts, read 1,243,858 times
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This map might've been accurate in 1870 or something.

The U.S. is too diverse nowadays to be grouped into 4 distinct sections.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Washington State desert
5,549 posts, read 3,697,368 times
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Not a bad effort, but I agree with others that Utah (directly west of Colorado is considered inland north, where Colorado, directly east of Utah is considered west.) Just doesn't add up and IMO the major flaw in your map.
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