Lebanon Kansas-The Geographic Heart of America

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Geographic Center Of The United States

Lebanon Kansas has been considered the center of the contiguous United States (the lower 48) for over a century. In 1898 a government geodetic survey (A land survey with corrections made to account for the curvature of the earth's surface) determined that Smith County Kansas was the Heart of the Nation and this designation has grown ever since.

The tiny town of Lebanon boasts only 300 plus residents and the 1200 or more tourists that arrive and depart on a yearly basis. The town council determined to take full advantage of the area’s celebrity and in June 1941 a monument commemorating the spot was placed and unveiled. It proudly proclaims how the U.S. Geological Survey pinpointed Lebanon as America’s heart. Indeed the monument stands at a point where a plane of the lower 48 states would balance if the plane were uniform thickness.

But the real geographical center of the United States (contiguous 48) is about two miles northwest of Lebanon. The actual center is about a half mile away in the center of a former hog farm. The owner of the real golden spot, a farmer, had no wish for countless folk to trample his fields so he refused permission for the monument to be placed there. The organizers chose the closest available spot about one mile away.

Drama made local hearts beat faster and indignation rose fiercely when Alaska became a state and the new center of America was announced to be Bell Fourche, South Dakota. But the citizens of Lebanon were not giving up easily. They put forth the idea that since Alaska and Hawaii do not touch the continental lands, the term contiguous would save the area. (Contiguous means touching along a border or at a point (Merriam-Webster)

Lebanon was saved!

The actual location of Lebanon is:

LAT. 39°50' LONG. 98°35'
NE 1/4 - SE 1/4 - S32 - T2S - R11W

There is not much to see and really not much to write about. Thence this article will be brief. However, if you are traveling along Highways 181 or 191 please stop at the junction of US-36/US-281. Take US Highway 281 north 1 mile, and turn west one mile on K-191 to the maker that has been erected at the end of the paved road.

Have your picture made beside the monument. Spend some tourist dollars and enjoy the breeze that blows across the Kansas plains. How many people can say they were the real Heart of America? A note of interest to single females, in the most recent census there are 102.4 males to every 100 females aged 18 and over. So a visit to Lebanon Kansas might just net you a husband as well as a great trip. It would be spectacular to marry in the Heart of America, having found your sweetheart there also. There is a tiny chapel there just ready and waiting to host a wedding.

These Lebanon, Kansas folk may be onto something! So pack a suitcase and let’s hit the road.

Lebanon Kansas-The Center Of The UnitedStates

A markerLebanon Kansas -
Lebanon, KS 66952, USA
[get directions]

PLEASE READ THIS COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and text on this site are protected under United States and international copyright laws-© Brenda Barnes.

Comments 30 comments

Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

That top sign crack me up ,,, crooked lettering and the all important announcement that they have souvenirs! Still and all, a claim to fame and an interesting write from you. Thanks!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hi Pooh. Yes, the sign looks very homemade. I suppose they are saving those tourist dollars! It was interesting to me and I love to travel so I will go there one day. Who knows, I might find myself a cornfed farmer to marry!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

This is so synchron Hyph, I promise you i was thinking about the geo center of the U.S. yesterday! That would be a memorable place to be married. Thought you ladies lived longer than us, guess there's more of us born maybe. Good subject. Up n use n awe.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Alastar, that is so cool! Don't you just love when these things happen? I thought it was interesting to write about. I selddom hear anyone discussing it and you know I am nerdy like this. lol

Thanks for the visit and the votes.


DTroth profile image

DTroth 5 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

Hi Birdie!

Great Hub. I might hafta visit there one day too! Not to find a husband though. (: Just cuz I live in NE Kansas and it's not too terribly far from me and also just to be able to say I visited there. Honestly...I did not know Lebanon was the "Heart of America." Very cool.

Thanks for sharing!

peace to you...always,

Diana


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hello Diana. Since you are so close, you must go! I think it would be really neat to be right in the center of America. I love going to odd little places and ones of importance but not well known.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving the great comments.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Very interesting. I've never been to Kansas. When i think of Kansas, i think of The Wizard of Oz movie, staring Judy Garland. Thank's for the cool info.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hello friend always. It is good to see you. I thought it was cool thatour nation's center is in this tiny little place. I love how open it is on the map. I would move there but I need mountains! Thanks for the visit.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Excellent Hub! This is informative, well laid out and written well. Thanks for sharing


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Hi Hyphenbird,

This is a great hub and I am bookmarking into 'My armchair travelling hubs.'

Rated up also.

thank you so much for sharing.

I am learning so much about everything through reading other hubbers' hubs.

Take care

Eiddwen.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Thanks Lilly. I appreciate that!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Eiddwen, I am also learning so much about our world from Hubs. So many people know so much that others don't and the sharing is teaching us all. Thanks for the votes and the visit:)


twobmad profile image

twobmad 5 years ago from Myanmar(Burma)

mmmm What Complete and detail travel hub it is! I was first stunned to read the word "lebanon" but when I came to the point the end of the hub... I am excited to visit.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Thank you twobmad. I thought this place interesting. So I thought to share it with HubPages and the world. Thanks for stopping by.


Bumpsysmum profile image

Bumpsysmum 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

What a great piece hyphenbird, sort of homey and cute but interesting as well, loved it. :-)


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Thanks Bumpsysmum. I thought the place sounded like a spot to talk about. Glad to see you visiting:)


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Voted up and useful: If I ever again visit the USA., I might visit it.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hi Dave. Yes, it would be worth the trip to say you were the heartbeat of America for a while. Thanks for stopping in.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

I haven't been to the outsides of America yet never mind the middle, but one day i'll be at a trivia night and bang! I'll answer that darned question. You are the centre of our hubpages universe and we all skip around in a circle admiring you. So get the hammer and chisel out and start on that monument. Cheers


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Oh! Attempted, now you made me cry. Thank you for your kindness and caring. And if you are ever on Are You Smarter...you will know you really are! Thanks for the wonderful visit to this Hub. I do love learning.


Teylina profile image

Teylina 5 years ago

This is so cool info! When I think of Kansas, I think of ongoing fields of endless wheat(?), roads that criss-cross in nowhere and seem to go nowhere until all-of-a-sudden you're at a crossroads w/general store and 10 pick-ups! (Or was that a close-by state?) I also think of tornadoes! Hard to believe this tiny mtg spot has survived! Neat read--I've have to hunt it up next time west just to say "been there"


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Teylina, I am so glad you liked this one. Indeed this area is surrounded by wheat fields and twisters. If you look at the map, there is nothing around this little spot. I am going to visit there one day. Wouldn't it be cool if we Hubbers were there at the same time?!

Thanks for stopping in.


jt 5 years ago

great and interesting hub hyph! you always find such interesting information to share! thanks! don't know if I would travel that far to see that tiny place,but if my travels ever take me by that way, I would stop and take a look! don't need a husband though, already got one of those and one is definitely enough!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

jt, thanks very much. I have an insatiable curiosity actually. This place seems so quaint and is so important in our history. I will be going there one day. And like you, not for a husband. I haven't had one in so many years that I wouldn't know what to do withone. Well, perhaps I could start a HoneyDo list just in case!

Thanks for the visit.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Cool. Thanks for the enlightenment. The next time I get out that I'll be sure to visit.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hi James. This does sound like a neat place to visit. It is on my list when we go out that way too. Thanks for stopping in at this Hub.


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

Hyperbird, I have never been in the great state of Kansas, but if I ever do go there I'll have to drop by Lebanon -- just so I can say that I have actually stood in the center of America. And very good hub, by the way. I am learning a few things about writing from you.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

feenix, what a grand compliment. Thank you. And I am glad you found this one. I love trivia and intend to visit Lebanon also. Wouldn't it be funny is several Hubbers went there at the same time?!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

So many cools...but this is very cool! :)

Glad to have this info in my back pocket, thanks to you. Oh! Flag Day is coming up--surely this will be handy then! If I get to use the info I'll try to leave another comment.

Ditto if I get to visit Lebanon, Kansas. Let us know if you plan a trip for 500 of your closest HP friends in that city. Wouldn't they be surprised!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

RT, that would be awesome. The visiting Hubbers would number more than the town folk. What a great idea! Really this little area sounds fascination and I do intend to go there one day. Let me know if you use this. Oh, I have an idea. I am taking a copy to my son's teacher today. You are so smart.Thanks for the idea. Good to see you here. Have a great day.

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