rugby north dakota

(Photo via jaunted)

Rugby, North Dakota, founded in 1886, is a a small town that prides itself on being “the geographical center of North America.” At the heart of the geographical center is a beautiful stone obelisk that reads, “Geographical Center of North America, Rugby, ND.” Every year, thousands of people pose for novelty pictures in front of the monument on their way across the country.

Unfortunately for the tourism office of Rugby, a 2010 report unveiled that the geographical center of North America is actually about 16 miles southwest of Rugby, in Pierce County. David Doyle, chief geodetic surveyor of the National Geodetic Survey in Silver Spring, Md., says that “close only counts with horseshoes, hand grenades and the geographical center of something.” He reports, “even with advanced technology there is no method to get a precise location since the continent is always changing. There is no generally accepted definition of a geographic center and no reliable way of determining it.”

geographic center rugby north dakota

(Image via jaunted)

Rugby first became known as the geographic center of North America in 1928, when respected federal mathematician Edward M. Douglas placed a pin on a map of the continent and then recorded where the coordinates balanced. Since there is no way of measuring the exact center of a continent, Doyle says that Douglas’ method “is probably as good a method as any.” Rugby takes its fame as the center of North America very seriously. The town trademarked the title, and pursued legal action in the 1980s when Pierre, South Dakota labeled itself as the geographical center of North America.


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Tucker is a junior at Fordham University studying Political Science and Art History. He enjoys food, historical nonfiction, and Netflix marathons.


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