Belle Fourche, South Dakota holds the distinction of being “The Center of the Nation.” But why is the center here? Because when Hawaii was admitted to the Union in 1959, its landmass – added to the landmass of the continental U.S. – shifted the geographic center of the 50 states to latitude 44 degrees, 58’N, longitude 103 degrees 46’W, which is approximately 20 miles north of Belle Fourche. This actual geographic center is marked with a small metal survey marker and a flag. It is on private land, though it is generally accessible. We will gladly provide you with directions.
Belle Fourche, however, felt that the Center of the Nation deserved a, big beautiful monument. And since our town falls within the measurement’s margin of error, our Chamber of Commerce conducted a fundraising effort to build it on the land below the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center.
This spectacular compass rose-shaped monument was designed by local artist Monte Amende. It is 21 feet across and is constructed of South Dakota granite. It is open to visitation 24-7, all year long and is ringed with “The Avenue of Flags,” which includes all 50 state flags, as well as the national flags of the United States and Canada. It’s a dramatic image that makes for a wonderful photo op.
Come visit the monument, the museum and the friendly little western town of Belle Fourche that is at the Center of the Nation!