[T]oday’s fun fact: There are almost as many incorporated municipalities in St. Louis County, Missouri (91) as there are in the entire state of Wyoming (99).
And as a note to those people out of the area, the total number of municipalities in St. Louis County does not include the city of St. Louis because the city fathers decided in the latter part of the 19th century that they were tired of spending their tax revenue in the tax hinterlands, so they got a divorce. Now that the county’s population is triple that of the city, it shows the same level of foresight we get from the city leaders even today. Unsurprisingly, the city is more and more receptive to a reconciliation these days to get the county residents to pay for its services.
The county, I suspect, is perhaps less enthusiastic about the prospects for reunion.
A similar situation prevails in Baltimore: the city and county were legally separated back in 1851, though the city, supported by a statewide referendum, managed to annex about 40 square miles from both Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties in 1918. From Baltimore magazine, an historical note:
A civic organization called the Greater Baltimore League took the lead in campaigning for that annexation. One of its spokesmen, retired judge Henry D. Harlan, made folks who moved to the outskirts of the city and then fought against annexation sound like the equivalent of those modern-day folks who move next door to an airport and then complain about the noise.
“Those who locate near the city limits are bound to know that the time may come when the legislature will extend the limits and take them in,” Harlan is quoted as saying in the Sun. “No principle of right or justice or fairness places in their hands the power to stop the progress and development of the city, especially in view of the fact that a large majority of them have located near the city for the purpose of getting the benefit of transacting business or securing employment … in the city.”
Marylanders bought this idea in 1918. By 1948, they’d changed their minds, approving a state question which would require any future annexation proposals to be ratified by voters in the areas to be annexed. Baltimore City today remains within its 1948 borders.