Monday, February 22, 2016

The Official Center of the World - Desert Oddity

There is no shortage of odd things in the desert and I've shown you many over the years. This desert oddity involves an entire "town" and a whole lot of money. Well, sort of a town anyway. I'll explain as we go.

You are probably wondering what I'm standing on. Or maybe you are really wondering why I have so much scar tissue on my legs.  

 If you were part of the first group, I'm standing on the "Official Center of the World."

The legal and "Official Center of the World" is in the town of Felicity, California. Downtown Felicity is the only part of Felicity there is. The population is exactly two. There is room for more though. Felicity has seven apartments, five of which are vacant (just in case you are interested). As you can see, Felicity (like most things I show you), is in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere in this case, is Imperial County, California,

That is a very nice lawn and tree for being in the middle of the desert. Hey,what the heck is that in lower left hand corner?

What the heck is this doing here? Didn't I do a post titled "Spiral Staircase to Nowhere" about this same thing in Pismo Beach? Actually, it isn't, because this one was once part of the original staircase in the Eiffel Tower. Still though, if you haven't seen it already, you will probably enjoy the other post. 

Have you asked yourself yet, "how in the heck did this thing get from Paris, France, to middle of nowhere desert California?"  If you want actual relevant information about this place, you will have to follow this link.

This is kind of a "you are here" diagram of Felicity. Where we are is just about exactly under the capital "G" in the word granite. 

If you've ever been to the Sistine Chapel, you've probably seen this painted on the ceiling. It is the "Arm of God." When I first saw it, I wasn't sure if it was intended to show us the "way," or direct us to the gift shop to pay our five dollar entrance fee. 

It was pointing to both of those things and more. The gift shop is on the left, "the way" is in the middle, and to the right is where we watched the obligatory five minute video.  

The pyramid contains the "Official Center of the World." As you can imagine, something that important must remain locked up at all times. It will even remain locked up while you are there. However, if you want to cough up a measly five dollar donation, the keeper of the keys will open the door, Then he will let you stand on the exact "Official Center of the World" and even snap a few photos. He will then tell you that there will be an official document waiting for you at the cash register on your way out. The certificate celebrates and documents, the brief moment when you stood on the "Official Center of the World."

Have I said the "Official Center of the World" enough yet?

I made the mistake of calling the "church" on the hill, a chapel. I was told that it is an actual church that holds no services, because nobody shows up. After standing on the "Official Center of the World," we are on our way to the "church." I'll explain all those triangular shaped things in a bit.

 This and the next few photos are just here because I liked them.

Okay, this is the coolest only cool thing about this place. These large triangular shaped things are covered with solid granite. As this end-piece says, the information etched onto these huge granite panels includes the entire History of Humanity.

 Here are a couple of examples. I wonder where the panel is that relates to trains?

I guess a person could read every panel, but it would take at least a couple of days to do so. I wonder if they'd charge you another five dollars to come back the next day?

I appreciate the dedication that it took to build this place. However, I mostly think it's just one man's extremely obsessive vision. It reminds me of Salvation Mountain and Burro Schmidt's Tunnel. You can follow these links if you so choose.

It just hit me, Where in the heck is my certificate for standing on the "OFFICIAL CENTER OF THE WORLD?"



  1. Now, who determined that was the center of the world? It's not even on the Equator.
    The history part is interesting. Not enough for me to go seek out the place though.
    A church with no service because no one shows up. How sad.

  2. Oh all the extraordinary things and places you have shown us - of all the things I see through your eyes because I know I will never see them through my own - this is the most extraordinary. Indeed, it is so extraordinary it is almost unbearable. I don't know why I'm reacting this way but I can feel my eyes are open wider than they usually are and my chest feel weirdly tight.

    But it has also given me an idea, an idea that will amplify and enhance my very narrow life. I will re-define my garden as the centre of the world. I will not call it 'The Official' centre because that begs the question 'who says?'. It will just be.

    I will not charge anyone to stand on my path. I'm unlikely to tell anyone it's there - but my sense of self-worth will sky rocket.

    I don't usually thank people for their posts. But I certainly thank you for this one!

    Esther Montgomery

  3. I am speechless at the places you go to! This one is intriguing, and if I can afford a living, I would volunteer to be the third resident there :)

    Last weekend, we spent a couple of hours at Pismo Beach on our way to San Jose, but we didn't do any exploring and just enjoyed watching the high tide.

  4. Oh how I love the California desert and oh how I love to meet eccentric people....and the first is the best place in all the world to meet the second. Salvation Mountain, back when the guy was still alive and well, was one of the highlights of our FullTime traveling days.

    So how could we have missed the center of the universe ! Er world.

    Fascinating... I'll be back to follow the links later.

  5. Okay... this place is just peculiar!

  6. That train caught my eye! There are some weird places in the desert, but this seems more expansive than most (say, compared to the statues one finds outside of Ryolite, NV.)

  7. What a fascinating place! And such gorgeous photos.

  8. That really is pretty amazing Pat!

  9. What a strange and fascinating place you've found here. I have to find that spiral staircase next time I'm in SLO!

  10. Place is great! Isn't it? I think that your enthusiasm makes everything sound and look so special. The Center of the World is very interesting!

    Pat, you can take great pictures with a great stories!

    Best wishes to you.

  11. Haha!!! You do find some of the quirkiest spots in our state!!! Felicity by any chance, also the name of one of the two residents???

  12. Alex J. Cavanaugh - I'm sure it was done in a scientific manner. NOT! I agree about the history part. There isn't enough people in the area to even fill up the few seats it has.

    Esther Montgomery - You are most welcome! Thanks so much for saying all those nice things. I am very happy that you enjoy these places.

    Icy BC - I think I'm going to contact the RE agent who handles the rentals. I'm curious about how much they are. If you want to do some relaxing, Pismo is a good place to do it.

    Sallie (FullTime-Life) - Like you, I also love the desert and the crazy and amazing things that are out there. The guy at Salvation Mountain was dedicated, that is for sure.

  13. William Kendall - HA! Peculiar is an understatement.

    Sage - Yep, not only more expansive, but WAY more expensive. Some interesting things to be seen in Ryolite.

    ladyfi - Thanks so much! It was indeed fascinating.

    Brian - Amazing is one word for it. A little sad and confusing also. To me anyway.

  14. Al - Yep, it was pretty fascinating. The interesting thing about the "staircase to nowhere" in Pismo, is that nobody that I spoke to there, knew anything about it.

    Kaya - It was indeed great Kaya. Thanks for saying those nice things about me. I appreciate it.

    TheChieftess - I do my best Kathy! I have no idea why they named it Felicity. I'm pretty sure that the two people there are seasonal. I can't imagine anybody stopping there during the summer.

    TexWisGirl - I'd say that you just summed it up in three words.

  15. Hi Pat
    Great pics as always. Well, anyplace can claim to be the center of the world, it being a fairly perfect globe, so depends on your perspective.
    The octogenarian Frenchman who did this sounds very interesting.

  16. Ummm, I'm gonna just have to go with plain ol' odd on this one. Interesting, but odd. Two residents, but obviously there is enough money from somewhere to finance it and maintain it.

  17. What a truly bizarre place!!! Thank you taking us there, I loved joining you. Strangely enough, I can see myself retiring somewhere as isolated as this. If they have a pool.

  18. I must say that that is a very interesting yet oddly strange place. Pretty cool when you think of it though, isn't it? In the middle of nowhere!!

  19. You find the coolest and most obscure places in the desert. I love it! I had no idea about this place. I'll have to go back and check out the link to the stair place to nowhere...from Paris, France. How random and lovely!:)

  20. Should Fish More - Hey Mike! You are right, anyone can claim it, but in this case, Imperial County proclaimed it to be there. I'm sure they got something out of it first though. Thanks!

    Ms. A - I'm with you! If you saw it in person, you might retract that statement about maintaining it. It needs a lot of work.

    Mandy Southgate - Bizarre it is Mandy! Sorry, no pool! I'm glad that you signed on. Thanks!

    Bouncin Barb - To me, it was both of those things. Kind of cool, but I don't see how they ever thought they were going to make any money. There isn't anybody out there.

    Sandy - I do my best to find them! I was totally astonished that the spiral stairway was from Paris. Thanks Sandy!

  21. You're always finding yourself off the beaten track. Another town curiosity. And what bragging rights. To be in the center of things. literally. You're usually way off center. In your travels anyway!

  22. Sharon Wagner - I pretty much try to STAY off the beaten track.

  23. what drives you to the places in the middle of nowhere, Pat?

  24. Okay, this is definitely the weirdest little "town" I've ever seen photos of. I am impressed that you went and photographed the experience. Wow!

  25. Very strange but very cool. Never heard of it! Not quite near the equator but anyway lol.. an enterprising venture.

    Thanks for the great photos and history lesson as always Pat.
    I particularly love the staircase to nowhere. That is so cool.

  26. I see that peculiar things can turn up in the middle of nowhere, but how did one calculate that this was the "Official Center of the World"?
    Perhaps they where members of The Flat Earth Society

  27. DEZMOND - Usually a Jeep! Just kidding... I think it's because it has hardly changed as time passes. I like that there are very few people, not much noise, etc.

    Robin Andrea - Yes it is! I'll drive a long ways to see something peculiar. Thanks Robin.

    Anthony J. Langford - I agree! Yep, no where near the equator. I can't imagine it being successful, but still worth a look. My pleasure Anthony, I'm glad you enjoy this stuff.

    visualnorway - I don't they calculated anything at all. The county proclaimed it to be the middle based on potential income. I'm pretty sure that the income is pretty low though. Oh well, it's quite a place. Especially the historical about.

  28. Hello, It myabe an odd place and cool place at the same time. I would like to go there, just to say I was at the center of the world. Great photos, thanks for sharing your visit. Happy weekend!

  29. eileeninmd - I agree with that. It is both odd and cool. Thanks Eileen! Hope you are having a nice weekend as well.

  30. you have a talent to find the most unusual places and things Pat. I think I would go there and end up reading it all and be there for two days! Really enjoyed this posting and the great photos.

  31. Nora - Sometimes it's talent, sometimes, luck, and sometimes the internet. This time it was sign.Thanks so much Nora.

  32. This place is a trip, or a good place to trip. j/k

    Excellent shots! I love the blue sky and I see a few nice reflections too. :-)

  33. Consider my mind blow, Pat! You have many gifts, one of which is the ability to find - and share the stories of - remarkable places like this. My own must-visit list is now one place longer, thanks to you.

  34. It certainly seems a very neat, tidy, orderly place. I think that's what makes it especially strange. My fave has to be that little white church with it's blue doors poking up into the bright blue sky like a little spaceship from an old sci-fi movie, ready to take off... the imagination does take over!

  35. I just read the story behind the staircase, and...all I can say is wow. This town is just so odd and random. The pyramid is weird, the layout of the center is weird, it's just weird.

    The staircase... "...serves no practical purpose, but is part of the spirit of Felicity." How does a staircase embody the spirit of a town? Weird. Just weird.

  36. James - During much of my life, I'd say you are right on both parts. I thought about the reflections and forgot to link up. Maybe this week I will. Thanks James!

    carmilevy - I'm glad you enjoyed it Carmi! I'm pretty good at finding places, but I have my friend to thank for this one. If you every find yourself coming to the most southwestern part of the US, just let me know...

    Stickup Artist - Yes it was! Although the photos don't show it, it was incredibly windy on that man made hill that the church is on. Overall, I really enjoyed our time there.

    Baby Sister - I agree with your assessment. As if there wasn't enough odd and wonderful thanks about this place, a spiral staircase from the Eiffel Tower? Wow and Weird!

  37. Pat, we can always count on you to take us to the most interesting places in your part of the world! Your posts are so full of passion and intriguing facts. Thank you for showing me a part of the world I may never get to visit.
    I wonder who decided it was "The Official Centre of the World"??

  38. Whenever I see your name pop up in my comments Pat, I always make a mental note to wait until I have time to really enjoy your posts :) Of course you know I would go back and check every link you show but before even looking I remembered the 'mysterious staircase to nowhere' :) how interesting to know that this staircase in Felicity was part of the Eiffel Tower! Felicity, population two :) is rather a fascinating place way out there in the middle of nowhere, there has been a lot put into it, is there anyway to tell how many visitors it gets, did you sign a book or something! Reading about Salvation Mr and Burro's tunnel makes you realise just how true the expression 'it takes all types' :)

  39. wow, this was cool and fun. How on earth can anybody create something like this. Talk about thinking outside the box :) '

  40. Liz - Thanks so much Liz! Very nice of you to say these things. There are so many interesting places to see out there. I need more time to get to them. Felicity is in Imperial County (in California). They (Imperial Co) made an "official" proclamation, that Felicity was "The Official Center of the World." That doesn't make it true, but I guess they were trying to bring in some tourism dollars in.

    PerthDailyPhoto - I totally appreciate that you like this stuff so much Grace. Thanks! Like you, the first moment I saw this spiral staircase, I thought about the one near Pismo Beach. When we got to Felicity, we did sign a registry. It wasn't new, and it wasn't full, so I'm thinking that the people that stop there probably arrive in small groups. This is the tourist season in the desert, so if it was every going to be packed, it maybe should have been now. There were only about ten people total there when we were. Thanks again Grace...

    NatureFootstep - Yep, totally outside the box. There can be no doubt that to do all this, a person has to be very dedicated. Maybe to the point of being obsessed.

  41. Pat, these are such AWESOME photographs! Especially love the ones of the tree, spiral stair case, and the arm coming out of the rock. Amazing shots of the chapel on the hill against that beautiful blue sky!

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey!

  42. Ron - Thanks so much Ron! It always helps to have a great sky. My pleasure Ron.

  43. I love the bizarrely randomness of everything. I feel like they should export pieces to more boring towns around the country.

  44. TS Hendrik - I totally agree with you Tim. A little exportation would be a good thing.

  45. It started with how you titled the photo "Trees in the desert" while it should be "streams in the desert." Even though the photo looks very normal, my immediate reaction was, hm...I wonder what that is about...
    Them the longer I read, the weirder it sounded - and you didn't even read all the the panels there. The strangest is that no other but one man seemed to be involved (who had money to spare)! The guy has no followers it seems...
    But I'm happy you shared it for SEASONS anyway, because you know my tolerance for strangeness (haha) or are you trying out what my limit is?
    In any case, have a great week (and in all seriousness),I appreciate you being a part of SEASONS!

  46. Haha, I'm still stuck on the 'official center of the world' thing. Now if the world was flat ...
    I've never read you blog and I love how you approach this place with a good dose of humour. I do love the tree in its little oasis and the random staircase is, random.

  47. jeannettestgermain - Everything about this place is strange. I totally admired the dedication that it took to build it and keep it going. Well, dedication and a ton of money.

    CountryMouse - Yeah, me too! You could claim any spot on the globe to be the center. Thanks so much for the comment, I really do appreciate it.

  48. Very cool! What a fun museum!


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