Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet |

Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet

Many years ago we had occasion to travel through farmland in northeastern Colorado and I was intrigued that the roads were laid out along township lines and the roads were named and signed. It made things much easier when we were trying to locate a specific landowner.

It was a long time coming but Fall River County in the southwest corner of South Dakota finally started putting in 911 addressing about four years ago. The county asked the local volunteer fire departments to name the local roads and further requested family names not be used in our county. It’s been a scramble at times to figure out a location when the fire department or ambulance pager goes off. Callers have to be correct when they call in and need to give the entire “street” address. The county has several similar “street” names such as Elk Street, Elk Bugle Road and Elk Road. These are spread out throughout the county, which seems to ask for confusion. It also makes it appear this county is teeming with elk; it is not.

The individual house addresses are not numbered consecutively so future home sites can be included in the range of numbers. Perhaps the biggest bug-a-boo up here is that GPS mapping is either non-existent (on some GPS units) or it is incorrect. Use those GPS devices with some caution in the rural countryside. A delivery truck driver was relying on his GPS to get him to a ranch home that was five miles north of us as the crow flies, but across the Cheyenne River. When he pulled into our yard and asked my husband, the driver actually argued with Russ. Unfortunately, with no bridge across the river from our location, he had to backtrack 15 miles and continue on another 12 before he arrived at his destination.

Our actual “street” address doesn’t show up on GPS and I had some fun with that when we recently bought a Suburban with On-Star. To give me an idea of how it worked, the salesman had me call and get directions to our ranch home. I gave the address and the operator said, “I’m sorry but that address does not come up. Is there an intersection I could enter?”

I gave her that information and her reply was the same. With some exasperation in her voice she asked if she could just send the direction to the town of Oral.

Several times I have given explicit instructions to people on how to find our place. But I’ve found that men often don’t follow the directions; they get lost and the Moses Syndrome sets in. (The joking reference is this: Do you know why Moses was lost in the desert for 40 years? Because he wouldn’t ask directions.)

Peggy notes that the local ambulances have GPS but they don’t work in the hinterlands – yet. The county is addressing that problem. Fortunately e-mail can reach her at

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