PDD Geoguessr Challenge #9: Duluth, Georgia

References to Duluth in the media are a regular feature on Perfect Duluth Day. But for every reference that does not include the state name, many are left with a lingering doubt about whether the reference is really about Duluth, Minnesota, or Duluth, Georgia, a city outside of Atlanta with about one third of the Minnesota city’s population.

Given the Georgia city’s much smaller size and lower profile as an Atlanta suburb, it seems likely that any unspecified Duluth reference is a reference to Duluth, Minnesota. But I might go further than that and say that any reference to Duluth, Georgia, is also a reference to Duluth, Minnesota, as the Georgia city is not named after Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Lhut, but rather Duluth, Minnesota itself.

The Georgia city of Howell’s Crossing was renamed Duluth in 1871, which may have been our city’s biggest year ever for references in the media. On Jan. 21, 1871, Kentucky congressman J. Proctor Knott gave a speech on the floor of congress about a bill giving land over to private companies for the construction of a railroad to Duluth. The speech features perhaps the highest and grandest praise Duluth has ever received, all of it quite sarcastic. It features lines such as, “Duluth is situated exactly half way between the latitudes of Paris and Venice so that gentlemen who have inhaled the exhilarating airs of the one or basked in the golden sunlight of the other may see at a glance that Duluth must be a place of untold delights.”

Public dissatisfaction with giving public land over to private railroad companies had been increasing and Proctor Knott gave the over the top speech to bring himself some attention for opposing the practice. He concludes his speech by saying, “Those lands, which I am asked to give away, alas, are not mine to bestow! My relation to them is simply that of trustee to an express trust. And shall I ever betray that trust? Never, sir! Rather perish Duluth! Perish the paragon of cities! Rather let the freezing cyclones of the black Northwest bury it forever beneath the eddying sands of the raging St. Croix!”

J. Proctor Knott

His effort to draw attention to where he stood on the issue worked. People found the speech so amusing and ridiculous that it became a national sensation, not only circulating across the country but becoming the inspiration for two city names: Proctor, Minnesota, shortened from Proctorknott in 1904, and Duluth, Georgia, a city with a brand new rail connection. Evan P. Howell himself, the namesake of the former Howell’s Crossing, suggested the change to Duluth, Georgia.

Because the entirety of Duluth, Georgia, is a reference to Duluth, Minnesota, the city qualifies for a PDD Geoguessr challenge. Each five minute round features a different location in Duluth. And this time, for those wondering if I might be referring to Duluth, Georgia, the answer is yes.

PDD Geoguessr Challenge #8: Duluth, Georgia

How to Play Geoguessr

GeoGuessr can be played on a laptop or desktop and on Android or IoS mobile devices with the GeoGuessr app. Just click on the link that fits how you play and create an account to start playing.

Every game consists of five locations based on a theme chosen by the game creator. You are shown a Streetview image stripped of all the informational labels that are normally overlayed onto the image. Unless the challenge specifically restricts it, you can move around and look for clues like street signs and business names to find out where you are. The image below shows a basic overview of the Geoguessr screen layout and controls.

Once you think you know the location — or are nearly out of time — you use the inset map to place your marker where you believe the round started. After you hit “Guess,” you will see how close you were to the correct location and how many points your guess earned. The closer you are to the location, the higher your score, with a maximum score of 5,000 points. On a map that covers a small area, like the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood, being off by a few blocks will cost you a lot of points. On a map that has locations from around the world, you will get nearly all the points just for finding the right city. The maximum error for a perfect score also changes by map size, but in general if you are within 50 feet (15 meters) you will always get the full 5,000 points.

Not often, but every now and then, GeoGuessr gets a little buggy. If the underlying Streetview imagery has changed since the game was made, sometimes it repeats the last round, gives a black screen, or doesn’t allow a guess to be made. If that happens, please let me know and I’ll update the challenge.

At the end of the five rounds, an overview screen shows your score for each round in addition to your guessing time and how far off you were from the correct location. The correct locations and your guesses are also shown on a map and you can click on any of the round numbers to review the locations. Additionally, the final screen in a challenge will show how you rank compared to the top scorers of the challenge. When choosing your user name, keep in mind that your user name and score per round will be visible to other players of the challenge.

If you have feedback on this challenge or ideas for future challenges, please share them in the comments below.

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