Picnickers at the Geological Marker.

Exact Center of the Northern Half of the Western Hemisphere

Field review by the editors.

Poniatowski, Wisconsin

Yea, this is just the kind of notch we like to have in our belts -- a visit to the "Exact Center of the Northern Half of the Western Hemisphere." It's in the town of Rietbrock, part of the larger township of Poniatowski.

Poniatowski is a church, a bar, and a couple of houses. In the early 1970s, John Gesicki, owner of Gesicki's General Store and Tavern, petitioned the U.S. Geological Survey to mark the exact halfway spot between the Equator and the North Pole AND between Greenwich Meridian and the International Date Line -- what GPS geeks refer to as a "confluence."

Survey Marker.

Gesicki then named Poniatowski "The Center of the Northwestern World" and established the "45 x 90 Club" at his bar. Visitors were encouraged to buy 45 x 90 Club t-shirts, bumper stickers, and post cards, and to sign the bar's guest register, which eventually overflowed with thousands of names.

John died in 1995. When his wife, Loretta, died in 2003, Gesicki's closed and the 45 x 90 Club was no more. But the little button of a survey marker is still in the ground, accompanied now by a big wooden sign within a small, square, fenced-in plot of land off of a dirt road -- "Meridian Road" -- surrounded by farm fields. It's not as unknown as one might think -- we ran into a couple of young picnickers there, jockeying for position over the survey marker.

At the T&C Pub in town -- the last surviving bar in Poniatowski -- a lone 45 x 90 Club bumper sticker is glued to the ceiling, a promotional relic from the heady days of yore. "Yeah, we really should do something like that..." said the lady in curlers behind the bar, but it seems unlikely.

Halfway just isn't enough for most people.

Also see: When Halfway is Far Enough

Exact Center of the Northern Half of the Western Hemisphere

Address:
5651 Meridian Rd, Poniatowski, WI
Directions:
FROM WEST: Hwy 29 exit 145 (Hwy 97). North two miles, then right on Spruce Lane. Drive a little over three miles, then left on Meridian Rd. The marker is about two miles up this road, about 1/4 mile past Cherry Lane (Hwy U), on the right, in a little fenced-in rectangle. FROM EAST: Hwy 29 exit 151 (Hwy H). North two miles, then make the third left onto Cherry Lane (Hwy U). Go through the "town" of Poniatowski, then right on Meridian Rd. Marker is about 1/4 mile up road, in a little fenced-in rectangle.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

More Quirky Attractions in Wisconsin

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Wisconsin.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

April 19, 2014

My Sights

Save Cool Vacation Destinations!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Wisconsin Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bible Mini-Golf, Lexington, Kentucky (Apr 14-20, 2014)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Nearby Hotels and Motels, Poniatowski, Wisconsin

Nightly rates found:

Book Online Now