Felicity, California: The Center of The World



Does the word “world” represent the earth in its spherical sense, or the surface of the sphere where all living and non-living entities live on? If you chose the former, than the center lies in an incredibly dense, hot core thousands of kilometres below the planet’s surface. If you chose the later, than any place on the surface can logically be the center. At least, this is what many towns, especially around North America, believe in.

One of the serious contender to the title of the “Center of the World” is Felicity, a small town in Imperial County, in California. It’s hard to refute the claim, especially when California’s Imperial County and the French government both recognize the site as the official center of the world. To prevent you from further questioning the claim, the town’s founder and mayor, Jacques-André Istel, had a 21-foot tall pyramid build on the exact spot marked by a bronze disk set into the pyramid's floor. A visit to the place and standing on the spot will earn you a certificate signed by Mayor Istel himself.


The pyramid that houses the official center point. Photo credit

The town was founded in 1986 based on a children's book entitled “Coe, the Good Dragon at the Center of the World” written by Mr Istel, and named after his wife, Felicia. Felicity has a population of two - Mr and Mrs Istel, and a number of attraction besides the pyramid that reflect the eclectic tastes of the Istels.

This include a three-dimensional bronze sculpture of Michelangelo's Arm of God painted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling that acts as a sundial. The arm points to another attraction - the Hill of Prayer, a small mound built by moving 150,000 tons of earth and crowned by a church. Jacques-André Istel also managed to salvage a 25 feet high section of the original stairway of the Eiffel Tower and installed it near the parking lot. The section weighs 3,000 kg and was bought at an auction in 1989.


A Sun Dial Featuring Michelangelo's Arm Of God. Photo credit

The most unique attraction of Felicity is the Museum of History in Granite consisting of eighteen granite monuments, each 100 feet long, dedicated to various subjects that include the History of Humanity, the History of Arizona, the Marine Corps Korean War Memorial, the History of French Aviation, and the History of the French Foreign Legion, among many others. There is also a Wall for Ages where visitors can have their names engraved for $300. The Museum of History in Granite is alone worth visiting.

Finally, the Istels have their own post office established in 1987, at a time when thousands of small post offices were being eliminated as an economy measure. The day the post office was officially opened over 2,300 letters were mailed. It was a big ceremony presided over by Consul Zhou of the People’s Republic of China who traveled 600 miles for the occasion.

Jacques-André Istel plans to eventually have one hundred monuments stretching over a third of a mile. The Master Plan shows that the walls will form a fish-shaped outline that encloses the Church and extends beyond, with its tail at the Pyramid and its nose way, way out toward the distant hills.


Aerial view of Felicity’s monuments. Photo credit


A section of the original staircase of the Eiffel Tower. Photo credit


The church on Hill of Prayer. Photo credit


Jacques-André Istel’s wife Felica stands in front of one of the giant granite slabs in the Museum of History in Granite. The Hill of Prayer is seen behind. Photo credit 


The Museum of History in Granite. The walls are engineered to last 4,000 years. Photo credit


The Museum of History in Granite. Photo credit 


Details on two granite panels in the Museum of History in Granite. Photo credit


Details on two granite panels in the Museum of History in Granite. Photo credit


Jacques-André Istel and his wife Felicia. Photo credit


Photo credit

Sources: Wikipedia / www.felicity.us / Roadside America

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  1. Impressive, would love to see it, especially the sculpture of the arm.

  2. Are you sure this isn't in Florida? Sounds like something they would do down there.

  3. Felicity, California may be the center of the world... but Philo, Illinois is the Center of the Universe! Proof positive is because it is written on our water tower.


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