Hub of the Universe

Field review by the editors.

Boston, Massachusetts

In 1858 Massachusetts author Oliver Wendell Holmes mockingly described the State House in Boston as "the hub of the solar system." As years passed this label lost its pejorative taint and was applied to the city in general, then expanded to "Hub of the Universe" by civic boosters.

In 1912 William Filene opened a department store in the heart of Boston's retail shopping district, next to the city's busiest MBTA station. It seemed like an ideal spot for a Boston "Hub of the Universe" stand-here-for-a-snapshot marker, so Filene had one made in bronze and granite, shaped like a compass dial, and set it into the pavement outside the main entrance to his store.

Filene's closed in 2006 and the store was demolished in 2008, burying the marker under construction debris until 2015, when it was unearthed during a neighborhood makeover. Now it's once again a stand-here spot in Boston -- as long as you don't get bumped into by busy pedestrians, unaware that they're walking across the Hub of the Universe.

Hub of the Universe

Address:
10 Summer St., Boston, MA
Directions:
Midtown, on the southeast corner of pedestrian-only Summer and Washington Sts. Set into the pavement beneath the entrance overhang of the Primark clothing store.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Future VP Elbridge Gerry Invents the GerrymanderFuture VP Elbridge Gerry Invents the Gerrymander, Boston, MA - < 1 mi.
Democratic Donkey, Republican FootprintsDemocratic Donkey, Republican Footprints, Boston, MA - < 1 mi.
Washington Stood HereWashington Stood Here, Boston, MA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Henry David Thoreau's Beanpatch, Concord, MA - 15 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Massachusetts

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

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

Massachusetts Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Big Jim: Giant Gunslinger, Bentleyville, Pennsylvania (Nov 29-Dec 5, 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