The 100th Meridian

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

I practiced law for 13 years about 15 miles from the 100th Meridian (the center of the United States) and the spot pictured above. I once got a ticket for going 90 mph at 6:00 am as I raced through Cozad trying to make to it to North Platte on Highway 30.

The New York Times Magazine has run a stunning pictorial of this land entitled: This Is What It Looks Like at the Center of America. See it here. I particularly love the photo numbered 14 and the photo numbered 17. See the accompanying article here.

Remembering the haughty, Harvard educated, federal judge who I once heard say, without any trace of irony, that Washington, D.C., is the center of the universe, I am reminded how parochial elites can be. These photos stand in stark contrast to that point of view and depict the real center, both emotionally and otherwise.


9 responses

  1. Rich, these photos certainly help give the lie to the notion that Nebraska is flat. Few places are more beautiful and stark than the Nebraska Sandhills. A friend of mine and I annually play three or so of the beautiful (and inexpensive) golf courses that have been carved out of western Nebraska. A particularly stunning one is in Gothenburg, Nebraska, about 10 miles west of Cozad. We played once on the Fourth of July, only to discover that all the restaurants close down so everyone can go watch the fireworks. We found one open in Cozad, however, just as we were about to give up and drive to North Platte. Cozad now has a quite good little Italian place owned by the parents of a friend of mine. Best, Pat.


    Judge Kopf – Yet another similar experience. For Hoosiers, Meridian Street is the beautiful and historic street in Indianapolis – where the governor’s mansion and many other impressive homes are located. Meridian Street is really the heart of Indianapolis. I tried to attach a link from the about the governor’s mansion, but I don’t know if the link worked.

    When I was at Michigan Law School, I asked my property professor about Meridian Street. I think that it was named for an important meridian and I assumed he would either know or be interested in that. I got a response that was essentially – who cares and what are you talking about? My opinion of that professor immediately went south (not on a meridian) – and I had one of many experiences that law professors aren’t in the real world.

    I really enjoyed reading about Nebraska’s 100th Meridian. Elaine Mittleman

  3. Gothenburg,land of the Swedes. My partner Ed bought a bank there and moved to Gothenburg when he left the practice. I have many found memories and friends there. All the best.


  4. Judge Kopf – Thanks so much for the link to the map of the prime (principal) Meridians. You are an expert on the 6th principal Meridian. If you look at the map, you can see that the 2nd principal Meridian goes through the center of the state of Indiana. The site for the state capital, Indianapolis, was selected to be the center of the state. Meridian Street is at the center of Indianapolis – so it obviously is located at the 2nd prime (principal) Meridian. It is fun to look at the map and see how logical the system of meridians is. Elaine Mittleman

  5. Isn’t it just as arrogant to say that Nebraska is the center as it is to name the District of Columbia? We all have our own center. For me, it’s New England’s coast. For others, it maybe the Lower East Side. For still others, the hills of San Francisco. Those last are likely to see their center shift, of course.

  6. Wow. Someday I will visit Nebraska, and now, having seen these photos, it will not be just to go to the College World Series!

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