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Thursday, April 28, 2011

W.H. Galvin Middle School, Canton -- April 29

42° 10' 05" N71° 07' 57" W

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The EarthView team is pleased to be meeting with seventh graders at the William H. Galvin Middle School in Canton, where one of our own BSU Geography alumnae is part of the excellent social studies team. For some reason, we have not included W.H. Galvin in the blog previously, but we do know that Galvin students are always well prepared to show off what they know about geography!

Canton, Massachusetts is named as the result of an interesting but common geographic misconception. Originally known by the Algonquin name Punkapoag and later part of the town of Stoughton, it became a separate town in 1797. At that time Elijah Dunbar suggested that it be named for Canton, China, which he thought was on the other side of the earth. The common misconception that North Americans could "dig to China" was thus immortalized in the name of the town.

In reality, Canton, China -- now known as Guangzhou -- cannot be on the opposite side of the earth from Canton, Massachusetts, as both are in the northern hemisphere. Guangzhou is at 23°N and 113°E, so it is close to the correct longitude, but nowhere near the correct latitude to be considered the antipode.

Learn more about true antipodes from Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's antipode article on Environmental Geography. Find the true antipode of Canton -- or anyplace else -- at the Antipode Map web site.

From here ... to there?

Canton is known for many other things, including two factories built by Paul Revere (one for gun powder and another for brass and copper rolling), its famous viaduct, and Dunbar's founding of the oldest choral society in the United States, which remained in Stoughton. 

As a former location of Equal Exchange, Canton is the first of many places that EarthView team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan had a chance to visit a coffee company!

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