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abandoned diner, us 52

We live in a great big goofy world. How great? How big? How goofy? This great, this big and goofy.

U.S. Route 52 begins at the intersection of South Battery and Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina, just a few yards from White Point Gardens, where the gentleman pirate Stede Bonnet was hanged in December of 1718. It terminates at the Canadian border, 2072 miles northwest, on Railway Avenue in Portal, North Dakota, whose nine-hole international golf course has eight greens in Canada and one in the United States.

Between Charleston and Portal, the highway passes through hundreds of towns in eight other states. Through Burr Oak, Iowa, where Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of Little House on the Prairie, was born. Through Ironton, Ohio, home to one of the first professional football teams in the U.S., the Ironton Tanks, which originated the NFL tradition of football on Thanksgiving day. Through Bluefield, Virginia, which was originally named Pin Hook after the local creek, then called Harman after a local hero who was badly wounded at the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain during the Civil War, then changed to Graham in honor of Col. Thomas Graham who convinced the Norfolk and Western Railroad to come to town, though unfortunately for Graham the railroad didn’t like his name and wanted the town to be called Bluefield — and so it was.

And, of course, the highway passes through Lafayette, Indiana, the county seat of Tippecanoe County, once inhabited by the Ouiatenon tribe of the Miami Indian nation, named for Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, and home to a now defunct diner where families ate meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas on Sundays after church.

We live in a great big goofy world. So great, so big, so goofy.

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