During the summer of 1953 (at the end of second grade) our family moved to Spokane, Washington. We were accompanied by my dad’s brother Harold and his family. Our family had five children nine years old and under. Harold’s family had three. Most of the memories retained from this trip were the out of the ordinary experiences. When you take a trip this long with a car full of young children it only gets exciting when the car stops and you know you’re out of it for awhile. This holds true for parents and children. There is nothing greater than pulling up in front of a motel room after eight to ten hours of confinement and hearing “Go play, but stay close”. We would run wild until called in for dinner.
One of the memories which stands out as part of this trip happened in Rugby, North Dakota. If you’ve never been there, Rugby is the geographical center of North America. Rugby jumped on this distinction in 1930 and built a large monument near U S Highway Two. The twenty foot tall rock monument was pretty impressive and still exists today, except it was moved a short distance to accommodate road widening in later years. The geographical center of a continent is the place where the continent would be balanced should it be placed on a pinpoint. New accurate surveys have actually placed the geographical center 16 miles from Rugby in an area partially flooded by the seasons. Their are also multitudes of naysayers who claim the original methodology was wrong for all kinds of reasons.
We unloaded at the monument, ran, hollered, played, and posed for pictures. This geographical deal was pretty neat for a mid day break. It wasn’t long before we were on the road again, but the stop had made our day. The pictures from this day are still part of our family photo albums. The word geographical has always stayed with me.
North Dakota doesn’t have much to dedicate monuments to…..but Rugby will always be my geographical center of North America.