That the tiny, remote town of Poniatowski in Marathon county, Wisconsin, is one of the four 45×90 points in the earth – the centers of the world. If you were to divide the surface of the earth into four equal parts, the center of each part is called a 45×90 point. These points are halfway between the geographical poles, the equator, the Prime Meridian, and the 180th meridian.
45o North longitude, 90o West latitude.
Did you know?
Poniatowski is an unincorporated town that is regarded as one of the few unexplored communities that were home to Polish settlers in the 19th century. Named after a Polish general (Josef Poniatowski) and regarded as the “Center of the Northwestern world”, Poniatowski is home to the only easily accessible 45×90 point. Two of the other points are located in the middle of large oceans while the third one is highly inaccessible, situated in a densely rocky region in China. Since the other three spots are not exactly suited for tourism, the world’s favorite has become the spot located in a farm field 21 miles from Wausau .
A special kind of feeling
There’s something exhilarating about being in a place that’s regarded as one of the centers of the world. It feels like you’re right in the middle of everything, the earth’s most concentrated core. Even though you’re just standing in the middle of a park, the thrill is a thing of the mind.
“In Marathon County, we have the only accessible (45th latitude, 90th longitude) in the world that you can actually go out to and actually stand right on the spot if you want,” said Richard Barrett, executive director of the Wausau Central Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau to WPR .
The field was converted to a park in 2017 after nine months of fundraising by the county staff. Before the renovation, people couldn’t actually visit the exact 45×90 spot. You’d just stand outside and face a wooden sign that welcomed you to the area. During that time, the tiny town attracted about 300 to 500 visitors a year.
With the help of donors and well-meaning tourists, Marathon County was able to fund the surveying and renovation of the park. A path that leads to the exact spot was created and fitted with a large tile marker. People could then stand in the middle of the magic itself. The marker is about 1,000 feet from the main road, so benches were erected for visitors who may need to take breaks and rest their feet. The number of tourists has doubled to over 1,000 a year.
“You can rest on the way out to it and it’s just kind of a neat little place now and it is just amazing how many people go out there,” Barrett said.
For people who may want to visit during the winter, it’s recommended that you wear heavy boots and follow any visible snowmobile tracks to reduce the sinking and have an easier trip.
The 45×90 club
Like every other special tourist location around the world, visitors to Poniatowski can also get to take something special with them before leaving. Aside from the magical experience and the wealth of information you would gain about the geographical markers, you can also join the 45×90 club and receive a special two-sided token. A little souvenir for your leaving your footprints in the center of the world.
After your visit, it’s required that you head over to the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Center in downtown Wausau to register as an official member of the club and receive your commemorative coin.
A trip to one of the four hearts of the world is definitely one to remember forever!
Photos: Only in your State
- Nicole. Few People Know The Center Of The World Is Actually Hiding In This Tiny Wisconsin Town. Only in Your State. https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/wisconsin/wi-45-90-parallel/. Retrieved 04-12-19
- 45×90. The Free Dictionary. https://forum.thefreedictionary.com/postst37795_45x90-Points.aspx. Retrieved 04-12-19
- Elizabeth Dohms. Visitors Drawn To ‘Center Of The Northwestern World’ In Marathon County. WPR. https://www.wpr.org/visitors-drawn-center-northwestern-world-marathon-county. Retrieved 04-12-19
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