The Great Northern

Following US‑2 through wide-open spaces is guaranteed to bring new meaning to the expression “getting away from it all.”

Rugby: Geographical Center of North America

The landscape along the North Dakota stretch of US-2 consists of immense stretches of hay fields typical of the Great Plains, and only occasional highlights of miniature cattails, goldenrod, and sunflowers. The place-names here are decidedly Anglocentric, with towns named Leeds or York after the hometowns of English investors who, during the 1880s, pumped the fledgling towns full of cash. The general population, however, has always been decidedly Scandinavian.

Midway between Devils Lake and Minot, Rugby (pop. 2,946) is an important agricultural hamlet, known to road wanderers as the town nearest to the geographical center of North America. The exact spot is marked with a two-story stone cairn along the south side of US-2, in front of a café and gift shop (formerly the Conoco station) and across from a Dairy Queen. Nearby is the Prairie Village Museum (102 US-2, 701/776-6414, summer only, $7), featuring 27 restored buildings—train depot, schoolhouse, even a reconstruction of a railroad hobo camp—relocated here from around the county, as well as an exhibit on the life of an over-eight-foot-tall local man, Clifford Thompson.

Geographical Center of North America Monument
Prairie Village Museum (102 US-2)