Wisconsin feels like the center of it all, doesn’t it? And the 45×90 point proves that for the Northern and Western Hemispheres, it is! Technically, it’s the exact center of the northern half of the Western Hemisphere.
On Earth, the 90th Meridian (90°W) marks the halfway point between the Prime Meridian (which runs through London and other locales as 0°) and the International Date Line (180°). In other words, it’s the midpoint of the Western Hemisphere. Meanwhile, the 45th Parallel (45°N) marks the theoretical halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, making it the midpoint of the Northern Hemisphere. Now, this one is a little more debatable, since the slight flattening of the earth’s sphere near the poles means from a mileage standpoint, the halfway point between the North Pole and the Equator is actually about nine miles north, but it depends.
In western Marathon County, 45°N and 90°W meet. The point is prominent on every globe and major world map you’ve ever seen. There are four of these “double-halfway” points on the Earth; this is the only one easily accessible on land. 45×90 is a very unique geographical landmark.
For centuries, this significant geographic point sat under corn stalks in a farmer’s field; Meridian Road ran north-south about 300 yards west of the 90°W line and a parking lot by the road featured a marker, noting the spot was “near.” In 2017, the exact point became marked and accessible to the general public; a walking path leading from the parking lot leads you there. Signs provide insight on the location’s significance and a concrete and stone marker notes the exact point of the exact center of the Northern Hemisphere. You can stand on it, around it, whatever you want.
Directions from Highway 29 Eastbound: Near mile marker 149, turn north of County M and follow it to County U. Turn right on U to Meridian Road. Turn left on Meridian and 1/4 mile north the parking area will be on your right.
Directions from Highway 29 Westbound: Take Exit 150/Edgar (County H) and head north on H. After a few miles, turn left on County U and follow it to Poniatowski. At the main intersection (you’ll know it, trust us), turn left/west, which is a continuation of County U. About one mile down, turn right on Meridian Road; about 1/4 mile north the parking area will be on your right.
“45×90 Club” Guest Book
Wausau is the nearest sizable city to the 45×90 point, and if you make it to their Visitor Center, you can sign the guest book and be a part of the “45×90 Club” – showing you’ve been there. They’ll even give you a commemorative coin!
5651 Meridian Road
Athens, WI 54411
One thought on “45×90: The Center of the NW Hemisphere”
COOL TO NOTE: This is the exact point half-way between the Equator and the North Pole, and half-way between Greenwich Meridian and the International Date Line. (Ooops! So that makes it a “geographical” marker, not a “geological” marker. . .)
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