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Granite slab proclaims 1990 population center.
Granite slab proclaims 1990 population center.

1990 U.S. Population Center

Field review by the editors.

Steelville, Missouri

A slab of polished, upended pink granite, engraved, "Population Center of U.S.A. 1990-2000," greets visitors to Steelville's community park. Close inspection reveals that whoever initially engraved it mistakenly chiseled "1900" instead of "1990" into the rock, with later repair work fixing the error, kind of.

In the ground at the base of the slab is the round, official metal disc from the National Geodetic Survey marking the 1990 Census Center of Population. Had you visited during the Clinton years you could have felt reasonably certain that an equal number of Americans shielded you on all sides. But the balance of population has since slid Southwest, making this off-center center no longer the ultimate American fall-back position.

1990 U.S. Population Center

Hwy 8, Steelville, MO
East edge of town, on the north side of Hwy 8. It's an engraved, upended slab of gray rock just inside the entrance to Steelville Community Park.
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