Small Towns: 45X90 Landmark

Posted at 10:42 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 23:03:38-04

If you're an explorer, a sailor, or just really into geography this evening's small towns story will likely spark an interest. NBC26 takes you to the center of our hemisphere for an experience that can only be had right here in Wisconsin.

Try to imagine an invisible line that’s headed 20 miles west out of Wausau. Continue visualizing that unseen line crossing over the small town of Rietbrock and you’re getting close to something special.

"And it's right here in Wisconsin in Marathon County right outside of Poniatowski,” says Chris Fieri the Marathon County Surveyor.

One more line will bring this story full circle, this line will travel north and will criss cross over our original line in Rietbrock putting us in a very original place of its own.

"We're about a couple of degrees off the 45x90," says Richard Barrett of the Wausau Visitors Bureau.

"There's only four points like it in the world. This point is the center of the northwest hemisphere," adds Fieri.

The 45x90 in Rietbrock is one of just two such center points of our world that falls on land.  

"Two of them are under water and one of them is in the mountains in China so basically this is the easiest accessible 45x90 in the world," says Barrett.

The center of the northern half of the western hemisphere didn't have a landmark in place for tourists until the 1960's but many still found the special spot. It ultimately took a local resident about 5 years and a lot of maps to find the point on his own and stake it so the location was less of a mystery.

"And it was basically only a marker that was here and you had to look through the cornfield to actually see where the 45x90 was," says Barrett.

Today the 45x90 is one step closer to not just being accurate, but more accessible than ever.

"Construction started this week. We’re gonna have a brand new park out here," says Barrett.

The park is anticipated to be completed by Labor day but for the time being, you can still make it out to the 45x90 to find your own center point.