This Small South Dakota City Is The Center Of The United States
Did you know that this small South Dakota town in the western part of the state is the direct center of the whole United States?
Belle Fourche is a small town of about 5500 population not far from the western border of South Dakota.
It's around 55 miles north of Rapid City, South Dakota, and 100 east of Gillette, Wyoming.
In August of 1959 when Hawaii was added as the 50th state of the United States Belle Fource gained a new designation as the “Direct Center” of the country. Well, pretty close.
22 miles north of Belle Fourche to be exact. This point is marked with a metal pole along a fenceline in a road ditch out in the windy prairie.
Belle Fourche has a deep old western history. The town was founded in 1903 by famous gunslinger turned Deadwood Sheriff Seth Bullock and his friend Sol Star.
Before its founding, it was known as a cattle town where you could take your herd to sell and ship out on the newly arrived railroad line.
Every year Belle Fourche continues to be where they hold one of the oldest rodeos in South Dakota called The Black Hills Roundup.
The Black Hills Roundup website states that the event "started years ago when 15,000 people gathered in a Belle Fourche field to help raise funds for the 1918 war. This was an astonishing number of people to show up considering the population of Belle Fourche was 1,410."
Belle Fourche was named by French explorers. The city's name means "beautiful fork" referring to where the Belle Fourche, Redwater, and Hay Creek rivers come together.
Life on a Cattle Ranch in Western South Dakota