Core Knowledge Quiz: Springsteen Study Guide Edition

by Robert Pondiscio
November 17th, 2009

When you’re 60-years-old and living on the road it’s easy to get disoriented.  Surely that explains why Bruce Springsteen shouted out “Hello, Ohio!” to the crowd at the Auburn Hills Palace in Michigan last Friday.  He mistakenly referred to the Buckeye State from the stage several times before one of his bandmates set him straight.  Even if you’re born to run, it’s good to know where you are.  To prevent similar faux pas over the rest of his tour, here’s a handy quiz to help The Boss—and you– test your knowledge of the next ten cities on his tour. 

1.        Known today as “Music City,” this state capital was an important river port long before it became the home of the Grand Ole Opry in 1925. 

2.       Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner describing an unsuccessful British attack on this city during the War of 1812. It is also the hometown of Edgar Allan Poe and Babe Ruth. 

3.       Located on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, this city grew rapidly after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825.  At the beginning of 20th century, it was the 8th largest city in America, however today there are fewer people living there than in 1900. 

4.       The first capital of California, this city must now content itself to be known as The Capital of Silicon Valley.   

5.       By reputation the most politically liberal city in one of the nation’s most conservative states, it is home to the headquarters of Dell Computers and Whole Foods Supermarkets.

6.       First settled in the 1830s by the Creek tribe, it was once known as the “Oil Capital of the World.”  Today, however, this city on the Arkansas River in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains has a diverse economy in energy, education, finance and aviation.

7.       Located just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, this city was originally settled as a gold mining town.  It really is 5,280 feet above sea level. 

8.       Chicago may be nicknamed the Second City, but its population makes it #3.  This city is actually the second largest in the United States. 

9.       Founded by Puritan colonists in 1630, this city had America’s first public school, and first subway system. 

10.   One of America’s best known poets, Wallace Stevens, spent most of his career working as a lawyer and insurance executive in this city, still known as “The Insurance Capital of the World.” Other famous authors who lived there included Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Answers, scoring guide, and Springsteen tour dates below:

1.        Nashville, Tennessee, November 18

2.       Baltimore, Maryland, November 20

3.       Buffalo, New York, November 22

4.       San Jose, California, April 1, 2010

5.       Austin, Texas, April 5, 2010

6.       Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 7, 2010

7.       Denver, Colorado, April 10, 2010

8.        Los Angeles, California, April 15-16, 2010

9.        Boston, Masssachusetts, April 21-22, 2010

10.   Hartford, Connecticut, April 24

                10 Correct: The Boss
                8-9:  Born in the U.S.A.
                7-6:  Darkness on the edge of town
                5 or fewer:  Blow, big man, blow


  1. Cute. I especially like the scoring guide (although I came in as “Born in the USA” missing only Buffalo, which should have been a drop-dead cinch, considering all the times I sang “From Albany to Buffalo-oh” with students in my American Music class).

    Mistaking Michigan for Ohio is a cardinal sin here in the Wolverine State. In fact, here’s another factoid: we used to own Toledo, but we gave it back. Honest.

    Comment by Nancy Flanagan — November 17, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  2. Did Ohio ask for Toledo back, Nancy? Or did some one merely suggest, “Gee, Toledo, I think you’d be *much* happier in Ohio.

    I thought the Buffalo question was easy too. I’m guessing #5 and #6 will be the tough ones.

    Comment by Robert Pondiscio — November 17, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

  3. I got them all, though somewhat shakily — particularly Buffalo. Cleveland seemed a possibility, but not “eastern” enough.

    I would have missed San Jose except for the Silicon Valley reference. If you’d just asked for the first capital of CA I’d have said Monterey, since I’ve been to the hall where the first CA constitution was drafted.

    Comment by Rachel — November 17, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  4. Amazing. Perhaps it’s a New York bias (I’m in NY) but I thought that one was obvious. Perhaps I should have written “This city’s football team became synonymous with failure after losing four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s.” But it was just too painful to write.

    Comment by Robert Pondiscio — November 17, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

While the Core Knowledge Foundation wants to hear from readers of this blog, it reserves the right to not post comments online and to edit them for content and appropriateness.