Question About Small US Towns.

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withnail

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Oct 30, 2011
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United Kingdom
Hey,
I enjoy watching the true crime channels as well as "reality" shows. I've noticed that a lot of small towns in America have signs that show the town name, elevation above sea level and population. It seems the figures for smaller towns can be quite precise - eg Rosewood, Elevation 530 ft, Population 756. (Made up example)
Is there anyone from a small town that can answer - how often do they update those signs? Obviously the population will change as people are born or die, move in or move out, but how accurate are such population figures?
Thanks for any answers as it is one of those little facts that bug me when I can't sleep in the wee small hours!

 

philobeddoe

Preferred Member
Oct 31, 2011
5,126
1,751
East Indiana
Good question Withnail, my town has such a sign and it only gets updated when it gets replaced. Every eight to ten years or so. I have seen rather wealthy small touristy towns where the sign gets updated regularly and the numbers are on moveable placards.

 

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tarak

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Jun 23, 2013
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South Dakota
Grew up in a small Minnesota town...sign changed with the census. We never had the identification of our elevation but it was Southwest Minnesota so....."Depressingly Near Sea Level for 500 Radial Miles" might work on a sign....

 

eaglerico

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Jan 8, 2011
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These are typically replaced based on the Census, every 10 years. However, they get replaced using the budget for signs for the road they are on. Typically only on major highways.

 

withnail

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Oct 30, 2011
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Thank you for the answers. Once each census makes sense. I couldn't see some guy ringing up the morgue and maternity wards every morning, before heading out with a paint brush to update the sign when needed! :)
Is the practice of quoting the population on town signs common all over America, or is it more common in Southern States?

 

locopony

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Jun 7, 2011
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Every town that I know of does this. I dont know why they do it but even big cities do it.

 

kyriefurro

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Jul 14, 2013
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When I was a boy we took a family trip to visit my uncle in Cody, Wyoming. Somewhere along the way, Dad took a wrong turn and we spent several extra hours enjoying the Wyoming countryside. Some where out there we drive through an itty bitty town made up of a post office, a gas station, and three houses. The sign along the road said "Population: 13." Someone had crossed out the 13 with a magic marker and written 14 in its place.
Guess somone in town had a baby :lol:

 

cavendish36

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Jun 26, 2013
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[Grew up in a small Minnesota town...sign changed with the census. We never had the identification of our elevation but it was Southwest Minnesota so....."Depressingly Near Sea Level for 500 Radial Miles" might work on a sign....]
+1,tarak! That could go for just about any place in Nebraska, too!

 

pstlpkr

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Dec 14, 2009
9,738
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Birmingham, AL
I concur with the "updated with the census" consensus. :D
One of those small towns is about a half-hour South of here.

Sylacauga (Translates from Cherokee as: Buzzard's Roost) The home town of my wife.
Alabama State Hwy 280 runs through there and is named Jim Nabors Highway.
Here's a quote from Jim Nabors.
He was discovered in 1962, singing at a Santa Monica nightspot called The Horn, when Andy Griffith came in for drinks. Griffith, though, was more impressed by Nabors' banter between songs than with his singing, and he asked Nabors to audition for a one-time appearance on his top-rated Andy Griffith Show. On camera, Nabors was a natural, and he became Gomer Pyle, perhaps the dumbest hick in Mayberry but perpetually possessed of a cheerful disposition.
Nabors' appearance on Griffith's show was very well received, and Pyle became a recurring character on the show. He was eventually spun off to his own sitcom, Gomer Pyle USMC, where the hayseed Pyle never got past boot camp, and was always hollered at by his hilariously furious drill sergeant Frank Sutton. The show was lowbrow funny and innocent, and fairly enlightened for a military sitcom that aired during the Vietnam war. One episode showed hippies in a positive light, and another episode had Nabors-as-Pyle singing Bob Dylan's peace anthem "Blowing in the Wind." The series ran for five years, ending in 1969, and to this day Marine drill instructors often refer to recruits who need extra training and extra shouting as "gomers."
Just a bit of trivia... The Marine Recruit Platoon that appears at the beginning of Gomer Pyle USMC was one of my Dad's platoons. They were paid with a wrist watch because they weren't allowed to take pay for their appearance on television.
Edit: It's a small world.

 
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