Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Will the real 'Magic City' please sit down (maybe on 'the world's largest chair')?

An old friend -- a New York-based music writer -- recently said his fieldwork had just taken him to Magic City.

I emailed him, "Enjoy yourself in Minot, North Dakota!"

I had known he was rooting around for stories in Nashville, Tenn., but was also aware that Minot (rhymes with WHY-not) claims that "Magic City" honor. Minot, population 41,000, is about an hour from the Bottineau School of Forestry, and has a derby skating team called the Mouse City Rollers. It acquired the "Magic City' nickname when the Great Northern Railroad came through in the 1880s, leaving in its wake a tent city that suddenly appeared as if by magic. Out of nowhere and into what many may term nowhere.

"Magic City" is also used to refer to Birmingham, Ala.; Leadville, Colo.; Miami; Gary, Ind.; Middlesboro, Ky.; Millinocket, Maine; Moberly, Mo.; Billings, Mont.; Barberton, Ohio; and Roanoke, Va.

Cheyenne, Wyo., limits itself to being "The Magic City of the Plains," while Colon, Mich., goes a step farther, as "The Magic Capital of the World."

The Wikipedia page listing municipal monikers -- http://bit.ly/oLVA0 -- doesn't name Nashville, also known as Music City, as Magic City.

 Before you get too smug, be aware that the list also has a bevy of "Queen City" burgs. We are not alone.

The bottom line is that civic nicknames only go so far when it comes to accuracy.

One that does is just up the way: Thomasville is billed as "Chair City" in honor of its furniture-making prowess, and in fact it boasts of having "the largest chair in the world":  It's 18 feet tall, 10.5 feet wide, and sits on a 12-foot base. You'll find it at the intersection of Main Street and N.C. 109. (The photo of it above was taken by Chris Seward, a photographer with our "City of Oaks" sister publication, The News & Observer.)

Taking an Amtrak ride toward Raleigh, the view of the chair is blocked by a magnolia; southbound toward Charlotte, you call see it on your right. Can't miss it.

It'll be just after the train goes through High Point ("Furniture Capital of the World").


Anonymous said...