Geographic Point One of Four in the World
On a map, the intersecting points of the 45th Parallel of Latitude and the 90th Meridian of Longitude occur in exactly four locations. Two points are in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Another occurs in a remote area in China. But the most accessible one? That’s in Marathon County.
The point intersects off the beaten path in a farm field located west of Wausau in the town of Reitbrock, near Poniatowski. The town has marked this invisible point since 1969, when resident John Gesicki used maps to determine the location. In mid-September, a new marker became open to the public in a much more accurate location than the original, courtesy of GPS technology.
The mark is the exact halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole on the latitude line, and the Greenwich Meridian and the International Date Line on the longitude. It also acts as the exact center of the Northwest Hemisphere.
The updated park includes a small parking lot and a gravel path that edges along the farm field and a woods, with a few benches along the way. A short walk later, visitors are greeted with the site of the new circular marker with two lines precisely crossing at the 45×90 intersection, and signs explaining its significance.
Become a member of the 45×90 Club by signing the official logbook kept at the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Visitor Center, full of thousands of signatures from visitors around the world who’ve made the journey to the out-of-way location. The early pages are yellowed, and the dates weren’t recorded until 1978, although the record started before this. A beautiful commemorative medallion is awarded to newly-minted members.
One doesn’t have to be a geography enthusiast to appreciate the marker, knowing that there is no other place like it. Of the four crossings, the Marathon County spot is the only one to be marked in the world. And with the nicely updated location, the park is sure to attract more visitors in the years to come.
Wausau/Central Wisconsin Visitor Center
Open 9am to 5pm every day
219 Jefferson Street
Wausau, WI 54403
REITBROCK GEOGRAPHICAL MARKER
5651 Meridian Road
Athens, WI 54411