Sunday, July 24, 2011

Map of American Places Closed to Travel by Eastern European Diplomats During the Cold War

It is amazing what you can find in map stores, personal collections.  This doozy, which I acquired in a swap of several maps, shows places where Bulgarian, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Polish, and Romanian officials could not travel to in the United States in 1967.  Summing up the map, which I took a so-so photo of but I am willing to answer any questions you may have, all I can say some of the restrictions only make some sense.

My photo of the map.  Click to enlarge or contact me if you have any questions.
Oregon, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Vermont are the only states that do not have counties which are off-limits (strangely Alaska and Hawaii are not displayed on the map).  Cities like St. Louis and Los Angeles are surrounded by off-limit zones but there are certain roads which diplomats may take to visit said cities.  Some banned counties like those in Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota surround significant military facilities but other banned counties have me wondering.  Why have Las Vegas off limits but allow the rest of federal-owned Nevada?  What is so important about Marquette County in the upper peninsula of Michigan? And is Pendleton County in West Virginia declared no-go because it would stop successful completion of an Eastern European diplomat from completing the Appalachian Trail (that is the only reason, serious or non-serious, I can propose).

 Not all the European Communist countries' officials are impacted by this map.  I have seen the map showing the Soviet's officials no-go zones and there are significantly more forbidden areas.  Yugoslavia was independent of Soviet oversight while Albania was in Red China's orbit by 1967.  Finally, there was no official East German representation to the United States since the United States recognized West Germany as the sole legitimate government of Germany.


natevw said...

I wonder...were half of the closed areas more about economic (poverty) secrets rather than military?

Catholicgauze said...

I thought about that but so much of Appalachia and the Mississippi River poverty-belts are visitable that I feel the theory isn't valid.

Arbutus said...

You made me curious about why Pendleton County, West Virginia was off-limits, so I did some poking around and discovered this:,_West_Virginia


I'm surprised neighboring Pocahontas County is not off-limits as well due to the presence of the Green Bank Radio Telescope:

Very interesting post! Thanks for this!

Ryan L said...

A couple corrections:
-dozy should be doozy
-"all I can say some of the restrictions only some sense" - not sure what you were going for there
-Marquette County is in the upper peninsula of Michigan, not Mexico

I do notice that in a few restricted areas, there are small bits that are unrestricted, and those seem to correlate with universities. The ones I can name are Notre Dame, Illinois, and Princeton.

Catholicgauze said...

Interesting, thanks! I wonder if this is really a map of the military-intelligence complex in the United States.

Catholicgauze said...

Ryan L,
Thanks. This is why I shouldn't blog when I should be sleeping instead.

Anonymous said...

Any idea why Minneapolis would have been off limits?

Catholicgauze said...

The Twins Cities of Minesota are not off-limits but Dakota County is marked in red. There is a National Guard armory in Dakota County but I cannot say if that is the reason for the no-go.

Edgewise said...

Well, good thing my Wife ain't a diplomat. And nor is it 1967 anymore... it just me, or is there *something* about this map that makes me think of the Charles Bronson movie "Telefon"?

Anyone wonder what today's version of this map would look like? (Then again, I suppose, with the Internet and all that--Nah,there probably really *are* still some genuinely "secret" or "sensitive" places around...)

Anonymous said...

I think this is the answer to West Virginia question.,_West_Virginia