Cowboy - Lawndale's a suburb.
Lawndale is the suburb in which the events of the Daria TV series take place. Maps of the region may be found in The Daria Diaries ("Welcome to Lawndale") and online at MTV's Virtual Lawndale webpage (see "External Links").
Lawndale dates back to colonial times: a newspaper article seen briefly in "See Jane Run" mentions roadworks on North Avenue found that "the street lies over a pre-revolutionary Dutch Orthodox cemetery" (presumably meaning Dutch followers of an orthodox church, not the name of the sect).
The not-known-for sure city of which Lawndale is a suburb is only actually seen once in the series. Lawndale lacks tall buildings, but in Is It College Yet? when Mack goes to visit Jodie's father, there are tall buildings seen out of the very high window of Mr. Landon's office. This location must be close to Lawndale because Mack came by to visit him before school.
The location of Lawndale is endlessly debated, and even Glenn Eichler wouldn't commit to an answer beyond the mid-Atlantic states:
I thought the Morgendorffers lived in a mid-Atlantic suburb, outside somewhere like Baltimore or Washington, DC. They could have lived in Pennsylvania near the Main Line, though.
(Source: Interview at DVDaria.info)
while director Guy Moore thought it was New Jersey.
Clues in canon are:
- "The Lab Brat" seems to imply Pennsylvania as the more likely location of Lawndale, as Kevin expresses his desire to aid Daria in their lab project after that night's Steelers game. Were Lawndale to be a suburb of Baltimore, it is unlikely Kevin would be a Steelers fan, as there is an historic rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore's football team, the Ravens.
- The "See Jane Run" article calls the Dutch "settlers", which implies Dutch colonists. That would place Lawndale in the ex-New Netherland states of Delaware, Connecticut, or Pennsylvania. Alternatively,
- The state's voters get to vote on whether or not they have a property tax increase and for the three years Daria was there, they voted against it everytime and wrecked school funding. (The third time, the state governor was quoted saying "crap") ("Fizz Ed"). The governor looks like a Daria version of then-Governor of Maryland Parriss Glendening but Maryland doesn't get to vote on tax increases. In fact, none of the Mid-Atlantic states do! (California voters do and Eichler was likely writing about a recent vote there.
- Lawndale is within reasonable driving distance of the coast (the Sloane's have a summer home there), somewhere with southern accents ("I Don't"), and a rural desert with "cowboy" accents ("Speedtrapped"). In the same interview he mentioned Maryland, Eichler implies "I Don't" was set in Virginia.
- Lawndale's a few hours drive away from Newtown (home of Bromwell University), which is itself 3 to 4 hours from Boston. Newtown itself may be modelled on New Haven, the home of Yale, in Connecticut. ("Is It College Yet?")
- Daria went to Camp Grizzly when she was a child in Highland, and it was a few hours away when she was in Lawndale. Highland is canonically in Texas, a long way away from the mid-Atlantic. Yeah, there's no solving that one.
Even the county in which Lawndale resides is conflicted in canon, with the MTV websites puttig it in Carter County and "One J at a Time" putting it in Lawndale County. For more on the Carter County/Lawndale County debate, see Off-Canon Canon.
In the map, the town is surrounded by an ex-quarry and unstable ground across the south, with a railway line running through the south-west (possibly with a station). The east and south east are bordered by large woods, with roads running through them. (One of those woods is avoided at night) The school, the shopping districts, and most of the housing is clustered in the south and centre, with the large scale shopping out of the town proper and in the north west.
After the dreaded Seven Points road network in the north, there are scattered houses (most of them in the north-west, clumped to the side of the mall), more greenery, and a few remote corporate buildings. Beyond that, all we can see are fields.
Lawndale Locations And Landmarks
Abandoned Quarry (Lovers' Lane)
The town's Lovers' Lane is right above an abandoned quarry, on the southern far edge of town and on the other side of the railway. It appears in the Lawndale map of "The Daria Diaries". Daria warns "engage parking brakes before making move".
The Big Strawberry is a roadside tourist attraction shown on the Lawndale map in "The Daria Diaries". Lawndale High's web page implies that it may be torn down, and Timothy O'Neill is running the "Save the Strawberry" campaign to get it registered as a landmarked building. ("Someone at the National Register of Historic Places finally returned one of his phone calls.") It is sometimes called the Giant Strawberry in fanfiction.
Believe it or not, this is based on a real roadside attraction at Strawberry Point, Iowa.
Is a fictional gated community introduced in "The Invitation" and described in "The Daria Diaries" as "Where nobody mows their own lawn, mops their own floor or colors their own hair in the sink. The unofficial motto was "Private and Proud." Brittany Taylor and her family live at Deerview Court. It's in the south, worryingly near to the unstable landfill.
Dega Street is located in Downtown Lawndale and most promiently shown in the episode, "Pierce Me". The Zon is assumed to live there. "Virtual Lawndale" puts this in the south west, close to the railway.
Halcyon Hills Corporate Park
Is a fictional corporate office park in Lawndale shown on the map in "The Daria Diaries." Morgendorffer Consulting is located in Building G. The sunlight reflecting off the buildings has been known to set nearby woods on fire. Located outside of town, up in the north.
High Hills Park
Is a public park shown on the map in "The Daria Diaries", near the high school. "Picnic tables, tennis courts, nightly Satan worship."
Lawndale High School
Lawndale High School is one of the primary settings for the show. The school is featured on the map in "The Daria Diaries" and also the "Virtual Lawndale" map on the MTV website.
Lawndale Mall (AKA Cranberry Commons)
The Lawndale Mall is also an important setting for the show and featured in multiple episodes. In the "Daria Diaries", the map was labelled "Cranberry Commons" but was changed to Lawndale Male for the "Virtual Lawndale" map.
Lawndale Shopping District
As seen in "I Loathe a Parade". Daria sums it up with: "Where the residents do the five percent of their shopping that they don't do in malls." Based on "Virtual Lawndale", it's next to Dega Street.
It is the medical office complex shown in the episode, "Too Cute" where Dr. Shar's Swan Shoppe is located. It lurks on the north-west edge of town, hiding behind the mall. One of the earliest dating clues in the series is a banner that read, "1997 Adjustable Bed Show" visible when Daria and Quinn arrive.
Sedimentary Rock Country Club And Links
Is a fictional country club and golf course shown on the map in "The Daria Diaries", far away in the north-west from all the riff-raff. The description is, "Not restricted. At least, nobody's been able to prove it in court."
Seven Corners is a complex intersection shown on the map in "The Daria Diaries" and described as "Lawndale's most confusing intersection". It's behind the high school and hosts a speed trap. Most notable for use in fan fiction.
Is the town center for the main town, shown on the map in "The Daria Diaries". It has a statue of a bearded man "who was famous once, but nobody remembers why".
Shown in the map on the far edge of town, in the south east. Lawndale's Director of Public Works lives outside it. (A sink hole opened in his garden)
The country club seen in "Is It Fall Yet?".
24 Hour Photo
It is seen along the Homecoming parade route during "I Loathe a Parade." The Coffee Snob is to the right of it, if one is facing the store.
A la Lawndale
Axl's Peircing Parlor
Cashman's is a high-end clothing store in the Lawndale Mall and a frequent shopping destination of the Fashion Club.
Cedars of Lawndale
The Coffee Snob
Is a downtown Lawndale store seen along the Homecoming parade route during "I Loathe a Parade." 24 Hour Photo] is to the left of it, if one is facing the store.
Is a fictional hardware store seen in several episodes. It is located next to the Pizza Place. Lackluster Video is located on the other side of the store.
The name is a play off of the Ace Hardware store chain.
Dr. Shar's Swan Shoppe
Drugs 'N' Stuff
- EZ Hotel
- Funky Doodle
- Gimme Gym
- Gone To Pawn
- Howdy Leather Shoppe
- Husky Fellas
- J.J. Jeeters
- Karma Tweak
- Lackluster Video
- McGrundy's Brew Pub
Mr Fun's Exciting World of Games
The local arcade, seen in "The New Kid" - with incredibly advanced virtual reality combat games for a small town in 1998 (and now!). Daria regularly goes and allots $15 of her weekly budget on it ("The Daria Database").
Play House 99
A cinema in downtown Lawndale, which has put on arty film festivals like Food In Film. Seen in "Monster", the Food In Film playlist shown in "The Daria Database". Likely holding the Fellini film festival in "Fire!". It also shows standard blockbuster films.
- Suds Laundrymat
- Tom's Liquor
- Vitale, Horowitz, Riordan, Schrecter, Schrecter, and Schrecter
- Viv's Videos
- The Zon
Whichever county Lawndale is in, it has a number of other towns with high schools. Oakwood is mentioned in several episodes, as Oakwood High School's football team (the Taproots) are a key rival of the Lawndale Lions.
MTV's old website mentioned the towns of Briarwood, Eagleton, Lawrenceville, and Lakeland.
Lawndale and the paranormal
Lawndale has been the centre of some quite bizarre occurrences, and equally bizarre urban legends:
- Two urban legends among students are the Rattling Girl of Lawndale who stalks the popular girls, and the House of Bad Grades where a malevolent ghost will ruin your homework ("Legends of the Mall")
- Metalmouth, a teacher turned attempted serial killer, lurks in the woods outside of Lawndale and has attacked cars ("Legends of the Mall")
- Everyone in town spent a whole day singing ("Daria!")
- A flower managed to grow out of a crutch which had become the new memorial for Tommy Sherman, indicating a ghostly influence ("A Tree Grows in Lawndale")
- Artie is allegedly abducted by aliens time and again in Lawndale, though this is not independently verified
- The newspaper's article on the Dutch Orthodox cemetary is warning that disturbing the grave may result in something supernatural.
In most of these cases, nobody talks about this odd events ever again after they've happened. (While the show presents them as really happening, many fans have theorised alternate explanations for the events - others have used them as 'carte blanche' to write more fantasy-based fanfiction.)
Fandom's Views on Lawndale's Location
Debate exists among fans as to other possible locations for the fictional suburb, or at least places that had a curious similarity to it. For example, Richard Lobinske has brought up the Florida Connection (though this is more about inspirations than actual location). Suggested locations of Lawndale, other than the Baltimore area, include the following, listed with the fan who offered the idea.
- Bacner: Essex County, Massachusetts
- Kristen Bealer: American Midwest
- Lisa Bleujabbe: California
- Brother Grimace: Lower Midwestern or southwestern United States, especially southern or eastern Texas, away from Dallas and Houston
- Decelaraptor: Inside a tesseract extradimensionally connected to many places in the United States (he was the first one in the fandom to come up with the idea)
- Dervish: In a fictitious American state called Vikizan
- DJPotatoe: Frederick MD or Red Lion PA
- Michelle Klein-Häss: Connecticut
- Lawndale Stalker: East-central Washington state (e.g., Richland, Washington), or inside a tesseract or time/space warp
- Mike N: Texas coast between Corpus Christi and Houston
- Robert Nowall: Similar to town of Poughkeepsie, New York
- Ranchoth: The Netherworld or Texas
- Ranger Thorne: Texas, though he recalls a map putting it in Connecticut; also wrote a story in which Lawndale was between New York, Metropolis (down around Norfolk),and Gotham City (on the Great Lakes)
- TerraEsperZ: Inside a tesseract (per Decelaraptor)
- TheBrodsterBoy: Outside of Harrisburg, where Lawnton is IRL.
- Veldrin: Massachusetts
- WacoKid: Colorado
- Mike Xeno: St. Louis, Missouri, or New England
- Pittsburghmuggle: Always assumed it to be in California (a lot of other shows always seem to be), until Is It College Yet? when they drove up to Boston
- Ana Spanakopita: Richmond, VA; easy enough to tie into the Mid-Atlantic cultural references crossing over with southern. Close enough to east coast and Boston for driving purposes.
- Virtual Lawndale on the MTV website
- First March 2005 interview with Glenn Eichler on DVDaria (Mr. Eichler's Baltimore-or-Philadelphia answer: "I thought the Morgendorffers lived in a mid-Atlantic suburb, outside somewhere like Baltimore. They could have lived in Pennsylvania near the Main Line, though.")
- Lawndale: Suburb of Philadelphia? from the Daria Fandom Blog II.
- Lawndale: A new angle on where it is?
- Bookish Daria (off-topic section)
- Reviving the "Where's Lawndale?" question (thread removed)
- Iron Chef: The world Lawndale is in(thread removed)
- What's the population size of Lawndale?
- Lawndale's location(thread removed)
- Essay topics for the future(thread removed)
- Where is Lawndale located?
- Who is the richest person in Lawndale?(thread removed)
- "Daria" and the Class System(thread removed)
- Class and Lawndale(thread removed)
- Where is Lawndale? Does it matter?(thread removed)
- Where is Lawndale?
- What is the population of Lawndale?(thread removed)
- TMI+20: Lawndale after Three Mile Island goes BOOM! (Lawndale as a suburb of Harrisburg PA)