[note: I was tempted to attach this to the Sept 1999 post about the geographic center, but new events deserve new posts, which can all be captured & seen using Roger's search feature]
USA Today 3.23.07 p.3A
In order to make the geographic center of the USA more "tourist friendly" the town of Belle Fourche is "moving" the center of the nation about 20 miles south to the edge of town, along US 85 near the river. The new monument will be near the town's visitor center. Actually, the Belle Fource Chamber of Commer
Currently, there is a marker in a remote field off a gravel road in a private cow pasture. The newspaper article shows a map and two photos. One photo shows the official USGS marker (actually a triangulation marker). The other photo is of the pole that marks the official spot - along with the Executive Director of the Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce.
4,500 people live in Belle Fourche (western SD)
6,000 tourists go to the town's visitor center each year
1,500 ethusiasts go to the actual maker each year
The new "Center of the Nation" monument will feature a granite marker and 50 state flags. It will cost about $50,000 from donated funds. Some residents favor this and others do not.
The dedication is planned for August 21, 2007. If someone is in the area, please attend and send me a photo. This date is when Hawaii was admitted to the Union, which moved the geographic center to its current location in western South Dakota.
Years ago I recall visiting a similar tourist-oriented site, farther north of Belle Fourche, along US 85 at a rest stop, but this has since been abandoned.
The current marker was located by the National Geodetic Survey in 1959. In late Spring 2007, they will resurvey the site, but it is not expected to move much.
It is not known if Belle Fourche plans to shave off some of the northern Alaskan coast so that the new marker will be accurate
- John M.