Geographical Center of North America.

Geographical Center of North America

Field review by the editors.

Rugby, North Dakota

The Geographic Center of North America -- as important a center as you're likely to find -- lies in the town of Rugby. It's marked by a rock obelisk, about 15 feet tall, flanked by poles flying the US and Canadian flags. It is a monument easily missed, standing as it does in the parking lot of a cafe/gift shop (formerly a Conoco station). That's where it was moved when North Dakota widened Highway 2. Rugby isn't too particular about where, exactly, the center lies -- as long as it's somewhere in Rugby.

Amazingly, it wasn't until 1931 that this important Center was finally found. Rugby quickly realized its good fortune and changed its town seal to an outline of North America with a big dot on Rugby. Postcards for sale in the Cornerstone Cafe and the Hub of America liquor store cite the page number of the Department of the Interior's Geological Survey Bulletin in which it was "definitely established."

Low angle view of the Geographic Center monument.

But wait. The U.S. and Canada, yes -- but doesn't "North America" include Central America, too? It does on most of the maps that we've seen. Rugby doesn't want you to think about that. They'd have to put up a lot of new flags at the Center if you did. And if places like Panama and Mexico were added to the equation, would the Center still be in Rugby? Maybe it would be somewhere else -- like in South Dakota.

[Tipster Gene Nygaard assures us the center of North America is indeed in Pierce County, North Dakota -- but a couple of kilometers from Balta, not where the monument is in Rugby.]

Geographical Center of North America

Address:
US Hwy. 2, Rugby, ND
Directions:
Southeast corner, intersection of of US 2 and ND 3.
Admission:
Free.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Tallest Salesman ExhibitWorld's Tallest Salesman Exhibit, Rugby, ND - < 1 mi.
Niewoehner Bell TowerNiewoehner Bell Tower, Rugby, ND - < 1 mi.
Lone Bank VaultLone Bank Vault, Silva, ND - 13 mi.
In the region:
Four Arrows Monument, Belcourt, ND - 35 mi.

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December 17, 2014

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