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Okie'sKid

State Geographic Center(s)

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Forgive me if this topic has already run its course sometime in the past. Checking out the thread on state population centers and being in Lewistown, the GEOGRAPHIC center of Montana, over the weekend, made me start wondering: Have any of the states monumented their geographic center? What little reading I've done re the subject seems to indicate a little controversy re whether it is actually possible to pinoint the exact geographic center in any state other than Wyoming, Colorado, and maybe Nort Duh Kota. Did I read somewhere the USGS even quit publishing coordinates for geo centers?

 

Anyway, back in 1912, some old surveyor somehow figured how to pinpoint the geo center in Montana and then, as his last act as a surveyor, buried a chiseled rock, a letter, and his compass in the parking lot of the RR station in Lewistown. All items were dug up when a swimming pool was added to the Yogo Inn which the old abandoned RR station had morphed into.

 

Here are a lousy photo of the floor tile mosaic near the indoor swimming pool at the location the old surveyor's trasures were found, a pic of the rock that had been buried at the spot, and a pic of the letter that had been buried with the rock:

3d6d14a6-ab9c-4769-bdd4-2b864e116251.jpg

08c14ec2-d3d5-44fa-8282-afc50c0af73a.jpg

a5a65058-7089-49dc-b290-d84d60aaad03.jpg

 

Does anyone out there have any info on other states' geo centers???

 

Cheers,

John

 

ps: there is no PID for this point. The closest PID is in the back steps of the inn--SR0344

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I own a geocache at the alleged geographic center of Arizona...well stage one is at the location. Couldn't put the actual cache there since it's a National Forest Wilderness Area.

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Aren't you glad I asked??!!??

 

Geographic Centers

 

NETSTATE provides coordinates and location descriptions that are intended to pinpoint the "geographic center" of each of the States of the United States. This information is/was obtained from the United States Geologic Survey (USGS). We have received numerous questions regarding this information including complaints that the coordinates don't align with the location descriptions. In response to the questions we have received, we contacted the USGS. Essentially, we have tried to get information about the methodology used to calculate the coordinates and the location descriptions.

 

We have been unsuccessful. The USGS has taken the position that the source for this information is unknown and that there is no official definition for a geographic center and, therefore, no official methodology for determining a geographic center.

 

The USGS has removed virtually all of coordinate information that they provided online, but they still maintain a list of location descriptions.

 

The following was quoted from the USGS web site on November 6, 2007:

 

Because there is no generally accepted definition of a geographic center and no completely satisfactory method of determining it, there may be as many geographic centers of a State or county as there are definitions of the term.

 

The geographic center of an area may be defined as the center of gravity of the surface, or that point on which the surface of an area would balance if it were a plane of uniform thickness.

 

Curvature of the Earth, large bodies of water, irregular surfaces, and other factors affect the determination of center of gravity.

 

In determining the centers of the States, islands adjacent to their coastlines and large bodies of water were excluded.

 

The geographic centers and positions listed below should be considered as approximations.

 

NOTE: "Positions" noted in the last sentence above have been removed (except for Alaska) from the information provided in the USGS Geographic Centers table.

 

Sources

The United States Geological Survey, "Elevations and Distances in the United States: Geographic Centers", 29 April 2005, <http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/elvadist/elvadist.html#Geographic%20Centers> (6 November 2007)

 

Now, on to the geographic center of the US:

 

No marked or monumented point has been established by any government agency as the geographic center of either the 50 States, the conterminous United States, or the North American continent. However, a monument was erected in Lebanon, Kansas, by a group of citizens who hired engineers to determine the position of the "geographic center" of the United States.

 

Sometimes confused with geographic center of the United States is the triangulation station "Meades Ranch," located at latitude 39°13'26.686" North and longitude 98°32'30.506" West, about 12 miles north of Lucas, Kansas. This was the primary reference point for the North American Datum of 1927, the standard on which all the latitude and longitude lines for North America were based. This datum is being replaced by the North American Datum of 1983, which is not hinged to a single point of reference.

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Now, on to the geographic center of the US:

 

No marked or monumented point has been established by any government agency as the geographic center of either the 50 States, the conterminous United States, or the North American continent. However, a monument was erected in Lebanon, Kansas, by a group of citizens who hired engineers to determine the position of the "geographic center" of the United States.

 

Sometimes confused with geographic center of the United States is the triangulation station "Meades Ranch," located at latitude 39°13'26.686" North and longitude 98°32'30.506" West, about 12 miles north of Lucas, Kansas. This was the primary reference point for the North American Datum of 1927, the standard on which all the latitude and longitude lines for North America were based. This datum is being replaced by the North American Datum of 1983, which is not hinged to a single point of reference.

 

Aah, but do you know where the geodetic center is for the contiguous 48 states? I've been there! Driven past it. ;)

Edited by foxtrot_xray

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Aah, but do you know where the geodetic center is for the contiguous 48 states? I've been there! Driven past it. ;)

Near Lebanon, Smith County, Kansas N39°50' W98°35' --- allegedly

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Belle Fourche South Dakota (actually 13 miles north in the middle of a field) -

 

The alledged "real" center may be more like 21 miles north:

 

The United States (50 States) West of Castle Rock, Butte County, South Dakota 44°58' 103°46'

Link

click on Geographic Centers

 

{boy!!! one little typo in yer URL and . . . ;) }

 

Thanx for the link to Belly Fooshay. Some interesting reading there.

 

"Belle Fourche's good fortune began in 1959. Alaska became the 49th state and the U.S. Geodetic Survey determined that the new "Center of the Nation" fell less than 30 miles north of town along US 85 (This was accomplished, reportedly, by glueing a map of the U.S. to cardboard and seeing where it balanced on the tip of a pencil). Hawaii became the 50th state seven months later, and the Center shifted six miles southwest -- and even closer to Belle Fourche."

 

. . .

 

"We just reached a point where we said, 'Man, we really gotta give the tourists something that they can take a picture of,'" said Teresa Schanzenbach of the Belle Fourche chamber of commerce. "We haven't even had a post card, because a post card of a red fence post really doesn't cut it."

 

The new Center will encourage participation, using a you-are-standing-on-the-spot design like the one at Four Corners. Teresa stresses that the new Center will also be an alternate, not a replacement. Photos and directions to the real Center will be displayed at the monument, "and if you want to go there, go for it."

 

"Center of the Nation" Monument

Address:415 Fifth Avenue, Belle Fourche, SD

Directions:I-90 exit 10. US 85 north ten miles. A couple of blocks north of the railroad tracks at Faulk St., on the right, on the north side of the Visitor Information Center and Tri-State Museum.

 

Cheers,

JCS

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21 miles - maybe... I do know that it was a real long dirt road to get there off the US 85. I was in the area last October bow hunting and thought it was worth the side trip to see.

Stupid me didn't do any geocaching at all on the trip - which I now am regretting as I may never get back there again...

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Aah, but do you know where the geodetic center is for the contiguous 48 states? I've been there! Driven past it. :)

Near Lebanon, Smith County, Kansas N39°50' W98°35' --- allegedly

Correct! :P Hehe. I was driving down a road, speeding about 80mph when I passed their sign. Had to stop and drive over to look at it. They were so proud of that area - had a 10 room motel (still there but all boarded up), a stone monument which is still there, and a tiny, four-person church. (The church is gone now, supposedly after someone was going too fast and ran into it. .. not me!)

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The USGS link is interesting. I would be curious about the methodology used to determine those points (yes, I did read the follow-up post on that!). Looking at the point for Michigan

 

Michigan Wexford 5 miles north-northwest of Cadillac

 

it would seem that the calculation factored in land area rather than simple distances. Some states there wouldn't be much difference in the calculations. :unsure:

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