The view east from the geographic center of the
48 contiguous states of the United States.
A monument at the end of a two-lane blacktop road. A tiny chapel—pulpit and 10 one-person pews—unlocked and unattended. A boarded-up and painted-over abandoned motel.
Sound like a place just begging for trouble?
Yeah, I thought so, too, when I arrived at the geographic center of the United States (minus Alaska and Hawaii), just north of Lebanon, Kansas, population 217*. Lebanon is not close to any of the big highways, and you won't likely find yourself there by accident. As a friend said, the whole place has a Twin Peaks-y vibe.
North of Lebanon and a little bit west, a collection of monuments and a well-maintained picnic area mark the center of the contiguous United States. More intriguing to me, on a small rise overlooking the monument sits the abandoned motel. Every inch, including the boards over the windows, is painted gunmetal gray.
Like every horror-story victim ever written, I followed a little-used path between two evergreens, their branches brushing my shoulders, to get a closer look. What I discovered...well, let's just say that the abandoned motel at the center of the United States will be making an appearance in my fiction. Soon.
In the meantime, here are some photos from the center. If you find yourself in north-central Kansas, be sure to stop and see it for yourself.
*As of 2011, though the little town has seen a steady decline in its population.
|This plaque marks the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states of the United States.|
The tiny chapel on the park grounds has just enough room inside
for a pulpit and single-person pews on each side of an aisle.
|Follow the path to the creepy abandoned motel, if you dare.|