Welcome to Lebanon, USA!
(By: Fadi Boukaram)
My name is Fadi BouKaram and I’m a Lebanese photographer. I’m taking a five-month road trip across the U.S., discovering and photographing all the country’s Lebanons. For some reason, America has so many cities and towns called Lebanon. Just look at the map. Each dot represents one.
I found out about this by accident one time when I was googling Lebanon (my country), and I got a link to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, which got me wondering. Then I started scouring the online databases the US has of its city names, and I found over 50. But here’s the thing. Sometimes names of cities change in the US, or they lose their populations, so of the 50+ I found, there’s about 43 still standing today. For example, the two Lebanons in Texas are now ghost towns…
Now all these Lebanons aside, I found out through my research that the mayors of 7 of these towns (the starred ones on the map), were invited by president Camille Chamoun in March 1955 to come visit the real Lebanon. They did, spending two weeks in Beirut and touring the country, and then when they left, they were each given a cedar sapling (a true Cedar of Lebanon, i.e. Cedrus Libani) that they took to their towns and supposedly planted there. I want to find out if these trees still exist today.
So this is basically my trip. The original plan was to get a used RV/caravan from San Francisco, and start driving, living in the car to save on hotel costs and all that, and then return to San Francisco in March 2017 before returning to Beirut. However, I didn’t find any decent RV there, but I did find one in Seattle. So I drove there to get it and that’s where my trip started. I am now writing this post in Butte, Montana, and the closest Lebanon on my route is the one in North Dakota, a week’s worth of driving. So, stay tuned…
* To know more about the cities called Lebanon in the US, check Jabalna Magazine’s article published on 12/17/2014:
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