AMERICANA: Middle Muddle

If a map of the U.S. is balanced on a pin, the point sticks up one mile north and one mile west of tiny (pop. 610) Lebanon in north central Kansas. This is the geographical center of the U.S., a trifling fact established 40 years ago in much that way, by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Pridefully, Lebanon put a marker on the spot, struck off fitting souvenirs, built a new $50,000 motel and counted 20,000 tourists a year.

Last week a recalculation in Washington stripped Lebanon of its exclusive little glory. No malice intended, said the geodesists,...

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