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Hub of the Universe.

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.

Also see: America, Get Centered!

Hub of the Universe

10 Summer St., Boston, MA
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.
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In the region:
John F. Kennedy Museum, Dorchester, MA - 3 mi.

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