Pronounced “Bell Foosh”. Why, I don’t know….
This marker denotes the Geographic Center of the United States (all 50 states). It is in a city park downtown whereas the actual location of the GPS coordinates is about 20 miles north of town. Belle Fourche is about an hour northwest of Rapid City.
This designation occurred in 1959 after Alaska and Hawaii were added as states. Before that the site was in, you guessed it, Lebanon KS. I thought I was going to have another brain teaser on my hands when the sign in the park stated that the Center moved here from Smith Center, Kansas. Well I looked that up and it is just down the road from Lebanon, and is the county seat, so that may be why it got the mention on that particular sign.
I hear that Puerto Rico is starting to make noise about becoming the 51st state. Who knows where that event would move the Geographic Center (or the Population Center). Actually, I bet someone, somewhere knows. Sam??? Jimmy??? Anyone care to wager an educated guess? I’m looking for something a little more precise than “east and south”.
The Geographic Center of North America is near Rugby, North Dakota. I would have thought the Canadian influence would have pushed it further north than that but Alaska goes pretty far north so evidently that had already been factored in. I guess it’s good I’m not the one figuring all that out.
On my way back to my Airbnb from Belle Fourche I stopped in Sturgis, which is Mecca for motorcycle enthusiasts. Didn’t see too many bikers, but then it was over 100 degrees today so all that leather would be quite warm. I saw lots of gigantic nightclubs and bars which probably host some pretty wild parties. One of the bigger clubs had a hundred or more American Flags in a field in front of the complex as a tribute to veterans. Impressive! The town population increases dramatically (in multiples, probably) when a bike rally comes to town.