Elwood City (Arthur)
Elwood City is a fictional city in the TV show Arthur.
Elwood City was founded in 1903 by Jacob Katzenellenbogan. He had originally intended the town to be called "Elmwood" but someone misspelled it and the corrupted name stuck. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was present at the founding and gave the dedication speech and so were prominent American businessmen Henry Ford and J. P. Morgan, who were partners of Katzenellenbogan. In the episode "On This Spot", it was said that in 1885, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, starring Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull came through Elwood City on the banks of Mill Creek while on tour. In the episode "Elwood City Turns 100!", the city celebrated its 100th anniversary in the year 2003.
Elwood City is a large city that has a soda shop, a shopping mall, a cinema, a science museum, a fire department with fire stations, a police department, a hospital, a city hall, doctor's offices, a dump, a planetarium, numerous parks, forests, an animal shelter, a newspaper office, a bike shop, an ice cream shop, a freshwater lake, ponds and streams, a reservoir, a water park, a library, a bowling alley, many churches, a synagogue, a mosque, a pizza restaurant, a community theater, a soccer field, a car dealership (Crosswire Motors), a community garden, a veterinary office/hospital, a professional baseball stadium and team (Elwood City Grebes), a pet store (Al's Pet Shop), a glass shop, a YMCA, diners, a community pool, a recycling center, fast food restaurants (one being the chicken chain Chickin' Lickin'), industries, factories, warehouses, a joke shop (Richard's Joke Shop), a doll hospital, a drug store (Margaret's Drug Store), beauty salons, barber shops, apartment complexes (the Westboro Apartments where Francine and her family are among the tenants), and many other houses and stores. At the center of the town lies a tribute to the dozens of aardvarks that were massacred by rabbits in the "Red Carrot Massacre" of 1934. Arthur and the Read Family live at 562 Main Street.
Much like Springfield from The Simpsons, the exact whereabouts of Arthur’s hometown have never been explicitly stated. Arthur's writers have given conflicting evidence regarding Elwood City's actual whereabouts. While Elwood City bears strong resemblance to the Boston area, home of WGBH—such as Waltham, Massachusetts—there are references to Brown's hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania in some episodes (for instance, Elwood City, like Erie, has a Mill Creek Mall). It is confirmed that Elwood City is in the United States in the episode D.W. the Copycat, and in various other episodes in Mr. Ratburn's class where the class talks about U.S history.
Various anthropomorphic animals populate the city itself. In some instances, animals are shown both in anthropomorphic form as well as realistic animal form (for example, Arthur has a realistically drawn pet dog, Pal, and two friends who are anthropomorphic dogs, Binky and Fern).
Other evidence that suggests that Elwood City is located in New England is because it is not a right to work state as suggested by Francine's dad, who told Binky he had to be in a union to drive a sanitation truck. Also, when a court is present like in Love Notes for Muffy the flag shown above the jury there is a flag of England. At the beginning of the episode "Shelter From the Storm," Brain informs his friends about a hurricane heading for Elwood City by projecting it onto a globe; the hurricane is shown in the North Atlantic Ocean and moving toward the East Coast of the United States. More evidence of a New England location, much like suburban Boston, would be the portrayal of the fictional city's professional baseball team, the Elwood City Grebes, as a fictional representation of the real life Boston Red Sox, referencing baseball lore such as The Curse of the Bambino and vaguely, the rivalry between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees, by having the Grebes' World Championship (reference to World Series) opponent being the Crown City Kings, with Crown City, a large metropolis featured in a few episodes, being apparently a representation of New York City, and the Crown City Kings being a representation of the New York Yankees or New York Mets. In "Arthur's Birthday", Arthur and his classmates indicate that Elwood City is very far from Ohio, where Arthur's relatives live.
There are, however, various references throughout the series to a Canadian location. One of those references is in "The Good, the Bad, and the Binky", when a five dollar bill given to Binky is blue and a twenty given to him is green (though that might be a simple cartoonist shortcut to show that it is a different kind of bill), characteristics of Canadian paper money. The show is also recorded in Montreal, Quebec, which also contributes to the possibility of Elwood City being in Canada. However, this is refuted by many other factors, such as the Presidents bearing resemblance to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the episode "Francine's Pilfered Paper" taking place on Thanksgiving Day in November, and that D.W (in Episode 5, "D.W the Copycat") states that they are in America.
Granted, the first two paragraphs above suggests that Elwood City is in Delaware or Central Pennsylvania (like Harrisburg). In one episode, Arthur's family drove to Washington, D.C., only taking a few hours; however, in another episode, they flew to New York City, leading to the conclusion they are closer to Washington, DC than New York City. Elwood City also could be referring to a town in Maryland called Hunt Valley. Furthermore, Baltimore has an impressive Science Museum, and many schools take trips there; hence, Elwood City's Exploratorium. Also, Baltimore is known for trains (which could be used in Crown City's Subway System, that would likely bear resemblance to the New York City Subway).
On the other hand, there is some evidence that Elwood City is located in West Virginia. The strongest candidate for this is in the episode "The Blackout": the DJ, Dr. Jake, gave the radio call sign as "WELD", which refers to two radio stations in West Virginia.
- Map of Elwood City
- PBS Kids GO!: Official Site
- 1998 Actimates press release
- WGBH Arthur Pressroom - News and Pictures, Series Fact Sheet
- Official UK CBBC site
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