The geographic centre of the United States of America (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) is near the town of Lebanon, Kansas. There’s a plaque and a flagpole to mark the spot, and a tiny white chapel. Much more interesting than the place itself, though, is how it was determined. Although there are plenty of sophisticated ways to figure out the midpoint of irregular landmasses, a survey team in 1918 used none of them, relying instead on a more rustic method. They cut a piece of carboard into the shape of America, and then balanced it on the head of a pin; the point at which it balanced, they reasoned, must be the centre. This happened to be in the middle of a pig farm near Lebanon, but the farm’s owner wasn’t interested in letting his land become a tourist attraction, so the local historical society had to build their monument over a kilometer away. Disgusted with the amateurishness and compromise, the US Coast and Geodetic Survey have subsequently withdrawn their endorsement of the spot, and said that, taking variables like islands and the curvature of the earth into account, the middle of America is impossible to find.
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