Though you wouldn't know it at first. 

Calvin Beale worked for the USDA, and as you might expect, he was plainspun. But in his head he carried the most astounding collection of information about the United States that I or anyone else who knew him--journalists, members of Congress, demographers across the country--had ever encountered. There were times, talking with him, when I thought that the "Nation's Attic" label bestowed on the Smithsonian should actually have gone to the contents of his mind. Even the smallest conversation made you realize just how colorful, diverse, interesting and just plain huge this country is. He had a photographic memory and a fondness for traveling the more humble byways of rural America. He was a federal bureaucrat, but when he died in 2008 he left behind what Felicity Barringer, in the fond New York Times obit she wrote about him, called "a cult following."

You can see why in this profile, which also contains probably my favorite factoid in three decades of reporting:

Boise City [Oklahoma's] chief claim to fame is that it was one of the few communities on American soil bombed during World War II -- by a U.S. pilot from the nearby air base in Dalhart, Texas, who got off track during a nighttime practice run and mistook the lights mounted on the courthouse for his target range, about forty miles away. Aiming for the X formed by the lights, he and his crew took out a frame garage, a stretch of concrete sidewalk, the yard in front of a boarding house, and a wall of the First Baptist Church of Boise City. They missed the courthouse entirely.