Monday, June 21, 2010

Where is Our Town?

Blogger "Coolspark" shared my curiosity about the geographic challenge in the opening line of Our Town, the play that Pam chose as our New Hampshire film. Like me, he wondered where exactly it might be, and included the answer in the opening paragraphs of his review of the ART production of the play.

Knowing that my own coordinates are in the same ballpark, it seemed plausible that Wilder placed the fictional town somewhere in New Hampshire. In reality, he did something a bit more clever: he placed it just about as close to New Hampshire as he could, without being on land. It may never be known whether he realized that in doing so, he placed it at the very tiny "Dodge Rock" in Rockport, Massachusetts.

The play gives the coordinates of Our Town as 42.40°N 70.37°W. Dodge Rock is the nearest feature, with an elevation of 0 meters (watch that boat hull!) and coordinates, according to the USGS, of 42.6668°N 70.6162°W. Because it is submerged, the rock does not actually show up on the satellite image below or on most maps.

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