April 30, 1999

Four Corners

There's a tourist monument called Four Corners, where Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico meet. In this episode, we try to tell the story of life in America through portraits of life on four different corners, in four different states across the nation.


Host Ira Glass talks about the Four Corners tourist monument where Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico meet. He proposes creating our own little monument to America: a four corners show depicting life on four street corners across this great nation. (2 minutes)
Act One


Sarah Vowell has a theory that you can tell the entire history of the United States by standing on one street corner—specifically at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive in Chicago—and describing all the events that happened within eyeshot of the corner. She covers three centuries of history, from Louis Joliet to Keanu Reeves. (21 minutes)

Correction: In this story Sarah Vowell references The Jungle and mistakenly cites the author as Sinclair Lewis. The correct author is Upton Sinclair.
Act Two


Scott Richer and Julie Riggs of Louisville, Kentucky, were supposed to have their first kiss at the corner where South Fourth Street meets the alley behind the West End Baptist Church. But it went wrong. (7 minutes)
Act Three


Writer Mike Paterniti tells a story of dogs and a community of dogwalkers that formed on the grounds of an old cemetery at the corner of Vaughn and Clifford in Portland, Maine. (14 minutes)