Geographic Center of North America

The Geographical Center of North America, in the town of Rugby, North Dakota, is marked with a pyramidal monument that measures 21 feet high, 6 feet wide at its base, and is placed on a heart-shaped foundation. Originally located across the highway, northwest of its present location, the monument was completed in August 1932 by W.B. and E.B. Paterson with the assistance of local Boy Scouts. In July 1971, it was moved to its present location when Highway 2 was widened to four lanes. While three flagpoles adorn the site with flags from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, calculations of the center also include all Central American countries as well as island nations of the Caribbean. Like many of the centers of this sort, this site was determined mathematically as the point on which the surface area of the continent would balance if it were a plane of uniform thickness. This process is not definitive, and the location of the monument to the Geographic Center is ultimately based subjective and practical criteria. A more official location was once determined by the United States Geological Survey, as being in a lake, 16 miles away from Rugby. Rugby has several other sculptures and cultural sites related to its central location as well.