Cities that could have been much larger

Ouro Preto and Niterói could have been bigger by a fair bit (especially Ouro Preto, since Belo Horizonte is a megacity today) had they stayed on as the capitals of the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro respectively.
 
Kolkata would have been larger if India had not been partitioned.
Istanbul would have been one of the world's largest cities if the Fourth Crusade had been butterflied away.
 
My home town of Huntsville Alabama is one that could have easily been bigger.
It was the site that the First Alabama Constitution was written.
So It could have been the State Capital instead of Montgomery.

And in the OTL, the Confederate States first met in Montgomery to write their Constitution. There was talk about Montgomery being the Confederate Capital.
If Huntsville was the State Capital instead of Montgomery, then it would be likely that the meeting where the constitution was created would have been held there.
It possible that Huntsville could have been considered as the Capital of Confederacy.
 
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Istanbul would have been one of the world's largest cities if the Fourth Crusade had been butterflied away.
It is one of the world's largest cities though and always was going to be as long as it sat as the capital of a prosperous empire. Even not being the capital after the fall of the Ottoman Empire didn't do much to stop its growth.
 
Yeah, I think Churchill has many potential uses today. Immediately speaking, I think it'd make an excellent port for oil exports. An "Energy East" pipeline that doesn't step on Quebec's toes so to speak. And then a much more built up Churchill can be the northern gateway to North America once the Arctic is fully opened up.
But of course, "But muh Polar Bears!" will ensure that never happens...
 
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Yeah, I think Churchill has many potential uses today. Immediately speaking, I think it'd make an excellent port for oil exports. An "Energy East" pipeline that doesn't step on Quebec's toes so to speak. And then a much more built up Churchill can be the northern gateway to North America once the Arctic is fully opened up.
But of course, "But muh Polar Bears!" will ensure that never happens...
 

kernals12

Banned
If the St Lawrence Seaway had been built in lieu of the Erie Canal, Buffalo and Rochester would've become enormous, at the expense of New York City.
 
Considering its waterway access, proximity to goldfields and agriculture, moderate climate, and distance from earthquake hazards, Sacramento wound up fairly small compared to San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose. A lot of that was WWII ship-building/Navy personnel and Silicon Valley, but there was early potential to be a much larger city. Maybe more aerospace and a larger airbase than McClellan from the '50s on, and more tech moving there after Loma Prieta in '89 to reduce earthquake hazards.
 

kernals12

Banned
Considering its waterway access, proximity to goldfields and agriculture, moderate climate, and distance from earthquake hazards, Sacramento wound up fairly small compared to San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose. A lot of that was WWII ship-building/Navy personnel and Silicon Valley, but there was early potential to be a much larger city. Maybe more aerospace and a larger airbase than McClellan from the '50s on, and more tech moving there after Loma Prieta in '89 to reduce earthquake hazards.
Sacramento is a lovely place and all, but there's no way it can compete with the sheer beauty of the Bay Area.

Speaking of which, if Bay Area residents weren't so sentimental, they could be home to a lot more people than now, probably 11 million.
 
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Galveston was the fourth largest city in Texas before it was utterly annihalated by a hurricane in 1900, I imagine they could have a population of around a million by the present day as a sister city to Houston if that hadn't happened.
 
I remember a New York-hating Long Islander saying with pride about how his part of Long Island decided not to be assimilated by Greater New York, so in terms of physical size New York City could have been even bigger.
 
If the St Lawrence Seaway had been built in lieu of the Erie Canal, Buffalo and Rochester would've become enormous, at the expense of New York City.
I'm having trouble seeing this. They already had access to the lakes and with it trade from both the US and Canada.
 
Is there any particular reason Yreka, California (or perhaps more amusingly, Weed, California) is so small compared to cities just across the Oregon border like Klamath Falls or Ashland? The natural resources are similar, the growing season and precipitation is similar to the latter, and that area has prime transportation routes (like the Siskiyou Trail and later railroads/highways which followed that route) north being at a large gap in the Cascades.
 
The Erie Canal only allowed canal barges to reach Western New York.

OTOH the Saint Lawrence Seaway allows ocean-going vessels to sail as far inland as Toronto, then the Welland Canal allows you hem to sail all the way to Detroit, Chicago and Thunder Bay.
 
Galveston was the fourth largest city in Texas before it was utterly annihalated by a hurricane in 1900, I imagine they could have a population of around a million by the present day as a sister city to Houston if that hadn't happened.
No. This is one that everyone always brings up, but in reality Galveston was on its way out by 1900, the hurricane just sped things up a little. The reason? Railroads; there was a junction in Houston, but not in Galveston. And it's hard to see how there could be a junction in Galveston, given its geography, whereas it's easy to run railroads to Houston from pretty much any corner of the map except, you know, the ocean. Besides that, there are space issues...Galveston Island is not that large...

More broadly, look at cities like, say, San Francisco with the 1906 earthquake or the great fires in Chicago or Boston or even places like Manila, Tokyo, or Warsaw that got blown to pieces in war; all of those were hardly even bothered by the disaster, even if it burned and destroyed large portions of the city. A great city will not only not be destroyed by its actual physical destruction, but can even take the opportunity to become something better than it was before. If it doesn't, that indicates that there was a greater weakness growing within it that the disaster only exposed, not caused.
 
Fort Blackmore, Virginia - I've never been able to confirm such, but a high school teacher of mine stated that Eastman Kodak nearly built what became their Kingsport Plant in or near this tiny hamlet, but were stopped by the local tobacco growers. Had they failed, Fort Blackmore probably could've grown into a city of 50,000 like Kingsport did instead of the 300 people and one restaurant/gas station "town" it is today. Nerfing Kingsport would've also likely resulted in Johnson City big bigger, making it more of a competitor to Knoxville and a Tennessean emulation of Asheville.

Muscle Shoals, Alabama - I'll let the town itself explain what nearly happened:
In 1921, automotive tycoon Henry Ford, accompanied by Thomas Edison, came to Muscle Shoals with a vision of transforming this area into a metropolis. “I will employ one million workers at Muscle Shoals and I will build a city 75 miles long at Muscle Shoals,” stated Mr. Ford. The instant rumors of Ford’s plan hit the streets, real estate speculators began buying up land and parceling it out in 25 foot lots and putting in sidewalks and street lights. People from all over the United States bought lots, sight unseen, during this time. Mr. Ford’s offer to buy Wilson Dam for $5 million was turned down by Congress. (The initial cost of the construction of the dam was $46.5 million.) Instead, Congress, under the influence of Senator George Norris of Nebraska, later formed the Tennessee Valley Authority to develop the dam as well as the entire river valley. Senator Norris felt strongly that the public, rather than private companies, should receive the benefits from the government’s investments in Muscle Shoals. Although Ford’s plans did not turn Muscle Shoals into a huge city, it did lay the foundation for the city of Muscle Shoals.
Chicago, Illinois - Yes, I know it was already great, but it certainly could've been greater, had it successfully managed to become the center of American automobile production.

Duluth, Minnesota - U.S. Steel apparently narrowly chose expanding production in Pittsburgh over Duluth in 1911, a move which, if reversed, certainly would've brought more development.

Topeka, Kansas - Had it got the international airport over Kansas City, it could've went the Atlanta route of development.

Portland, Oregon - In the 1960s they tried to build a stadium to attract the Raiders and made a bid for the 1968 Olympics, but both ended up failing. Had they not, it would've obviously been a boon for the city.
 
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