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Geographical Center of North America Site Monuments

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1932; 1955, 2003 additions. U.S. 2 at ND 3
  • Steel monument (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)
  • Steel monument (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)
  • Stone cairn (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

Based on a 1931 U.S. Geological Survey, Rugby was designated the geographical center of North America and the town has several monuments commemorating this status. The monuments include an eighty-eight-foot-tall steel installation (1999) painted in different colors to represent the Northern Lights, and a mural in the U.S. Post Office (PI5). The third and most long-standing feature is the stone cairn (1932) surrounded by flagpoles and with kiosks explaining the claim. The cairn is a pyramid in shape, resting on a heart-shaped foundation. It was built across the highway, just to the northwest of its present location, and constructed by W. B. and E. B. Paterson with assistance from local Boy Scouts and other young men in the community. In 1955, work was done to beautify the area around the cairn monument with a rock garden, information board, and three new flagpoles representing each of the countries making up North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico). The monument remained at that location until 1971, when improvements to U.S. 2 necessitated relocation of the monument to its present location.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Geographical Center of North America Site Monuments", [Rugby, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 122-122.

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