1910 U.S. Population Center.
1910 USA Population Center moved into downtown Bloomington, and so did its marker.

1910 U.S. Population Center

Field review by the editors.

Bloomington, Indiana

Every ten years the Census Bureau issues a report from which can be computed the population center of the United States, "the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless, and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all residents were of identical weight." As early as the turn of the 20th century, towns along the ever-shifting population path began celebrating their centeredness with permanent monuments. The oldest known survivor of these, for the 1910 census, is in Bloomington, Indiana.

1910 U.S. Population Center.

It is not, however, without some controversy.

In July 1911 Professor William A. Cogshall, an Indiana University astronomer, took the Census Bureau data and determined that the Population Center was on the W. L. Moser farm, nine miles east of Bloomington. The Bloomington World-Courier jumped on this news and erected a cheap wooden marker, topped with a couple of small American flags, at the rural spot, described by Prof. Cogshall as "a hilly field, in which there are gullies and some underbrush, where screech owls, snakes, squirrels, and rabbits abound."

1910 Population Center marker.
Original 1910 Population Center and marker. It only lasted a month.

This close-but-not-close-enough Center made Bloomington's business community unhappy. Apparently word got back to the Census Bureau, because barely a month later it released a completely new set of data. Prof. Cogshall again crunched the numbers, and this time found that the Center was right in Bloomington, on a conveniently grassy and snake-free plot outside the Showers Furniture factory, the city's largest employer. An engraved limestone disk was quickly commissioned and placed on the spot in September 1911 with much ceremony.

Fifty years and five census's later, the Monroe County Historical Society learned that the limestone marker was in danger of being destroyed at the old factory site. It was moved to a place of honor on Bloomington's county courthouse lawn, and it's been there ever since. It doesn't actually mark the 1910 U.S. Population Center, but maybe it never did.

1910 U.S. Population Center

Address:
101 W. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN
Directions:
Midtown. A large, limestone disk, set flat on the ground, on the south side of the Monroe County Courthouse, on the east side of the sidewalk leading north from W. Kirkwood Ave./5th St.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Future Birthplace of Captain JanewayFuture Birthplace of Captain Janeway, Bloomington, IN - < 1 mi.
Big Brain with Smart LightingBig Brain with Smart Lighting, Bloomington, IN - < 1 mi.
Big Crayon and PencilBig Crayon and Pencil, Ellettsville, IN - 8 mi.
In the region:
Joe Palooka Statue, Oolitic, IN - 18 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Indiana

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

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.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Indiana Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota (Aug 2-8, 2021)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now

 

Favorite Quirky City Sights