News & Events

45⁰N - 90⁰W Geographic Marker

Contributed by Christopher L. Fieri, Marathon County Surveyor, 21 Nov 2017

In rural western Marathon County, Wisconsin, near Poniatowski, a small county park has stood since 1968 marking the intersection of the 45th Parallel of Latitude and the 90th Meridian of Longitude which is the center of the Northwest Hemisphere. Why is this important? Only four of these hemispheric points exist on the earth, and the point in Marathon County is the most accessible. Two points are located in oceans (Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean) and one point is located in a mountainous region in China.

In 1968 a monument was placed by Marathon County on a 60’ x 100’ easement granted by a farmer directly off of a town road near the 45-90 intersection. In addition, a local tavern owner, John Gesicki, held a logbook at his establishment which visitors could sign, become a member of the 45-90 Club, and receive a commemorative coin. There are over 6,000 signatures in the logbook to date, which include visitors from all over the world.

With the increased use of handheld GPS receivers, it has been brought to the attention of several county departments by numerous visitors that the mark was not in the correct location, and has left visitors disappointed. The fact that the current monument is approximately 1100 feet away from the exact position, along with the deteriorating condition of the park, and inaccurate information on the sign has warranted the county to renovate the park and monument. The Marathon County Surveying staff has been working with the Marathon County Parks and Highway Departments to update the monument, and has been granted an easement from the current landowners to build a path along the edge of his field to set a monument at the exact position of the intersection of 45⁰N Latitude - 90⁰W Longitude.

Monetary donations from the local surveying societies, as well as donations of engineering services from local surveying firms have helped to construct the walking path and set the monument. Donations of material, trucking, and labor have come from local gravel pits and excavating companies along with in kind services from a number of county departments. The monument and path were finished before the first annual International Ginseng Festival came to Wausau in September, where it was advertised as an attraction to people visiting the festival. There is still some work to be done, but the project is expected to be completed in 2018.

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A special thanks to the Surveying Organizations that have donated to the Project.

WSLS Board of Directors Leica Geosystems
WSLS Foundation Northeast Chapter of the WSLS
Wisconsin County Surveyors Association Northwest Chapter of the WSLS
Seiler Instruments Central Chapter of the WSLS
REI Engineering EMCS Inc.

 

People can visit the monument, and then go to the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to sign the 45-90 Club logbook, and receive the commemorative coin.

219 Jefferson Street
Wausau, WI 54403

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If any individual or organizations would like to donate to the project, a check can be sent to the address below. Please specify that the donation is for the 45/90 Project.

Marathon County Treasurer
500 Forest Street
Wausau, WI 54403

 

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