We visited the special town of Belle Fourche today. Belle Fourche jumped into the history books the day Hawaii became the 50th state declaring Belle Fourche as the geographical center of the nation. How did Belle Fourche receive the honor of being the Geographical Center of the Nation?
This is what the National Cost & Geodetic Survey tells us: "Determining the geographic center of an irregular area on the earth's surface is a precarious business at best. There is no unique solution and none of any scientific significance. Several methods of approach are available. The one employed by the Coast & Geodetic Survey is probably best termed as the center-of-gravity method. Imagine a map of the area of which the geographic center is to be determined, has been placed on a piece of cardboard of uniform thickness and that this is cut carefully along the outline of the map. The center of gravity of this map outline, or what might be called the geographic center, is that point at which the map will balance.
Why is the new "Center of the Nation" Monument located at the visitor's center? The actual geographic center of the nation is located on private property. While the rancher does allow people to experience the site, he does not want to develop the area. The National Coast & Geodetic Survey has designated Belle Fourche as the town closest to the actual site allowing Belle Fourche to have the monument in the town. It was another great day of exploring in South Dakota, check back later for more.