Several communities throughout Michigan claim to be the center, but who is technically right?

Blame this one on "shower thoughts" but for no reason in particular I recently found myself wondering why the geographical center of Michigan is. Surely, there has to be one but why isn't it more widely known?

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I looked into it so you don't have to! You're welcome.

But just know it turns out the answer isn't as cut-and-dry and you'd think it would be; of course nothing's easy!

Map of Michigan

With the Upper Peninsula:

Because Michigan has the great fortune of uniquely being comprised of two peninsulas, upper and lower, it's slightly difficult to find the exact center of our state. In fact, no one source can seem to agree on where it is.

Even the official source, the United States Geologic Survey (USGS), won't say where the center of a state is because there are so many different factors to consider and further explains,

Because there is no generally accepted definition of a geographic center and no completely satisfactory method of determining it, there may be as many geographic centers of a State or county as there are definitions of the term.


However, according to U.S. history site NetState the geographic center of the state of Michigan including the Upper Peninsula is, "...located in Wexford County, approximately 5 miles north-northwest of Cadillac."

St. Louis, Michigan
St. Louis, Michigan - Google Maps

Lower Peninsula Only:

There is one community in Michigan's Lower Peninsula that proudly claims to be the center of the state: St. Louis, Michigan.

There's even a sign at Clapp Memorial Park that reads,

This location marks the geographical center of the lower peninsula of Michigan as closely as can be determined

A 2-hour drive from Kalamazoo, St. Louis is a small community in Gratiot County who had a population of just under 8,000 as of the 2010 U.S. Census.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Upper Peninsula Only:

Sadly, there's no information available on where the center of the Upper Peninsula itself is located. I'm not a geological surveyor but if you want my amateur opinion I'd guess the center of the U.P. is somewhere in the Gwinn State Forest Area near Arnold, Michigan.

Again, that's just my opinion.

Arnold, Michigan
Arnold, Michigan - Google Maps

Bonus: Michigan Center, Michigan

Honorable mention goes to Michigan Center, Michigan however, don't let the name of this small community in Jackson County fool you! It is in fact nowhere near the center of Michigan.

Originally called "Michigan Centre" sources claim its name,

...was presumably derived from the proximity to the Michigan meridian which divided the state into eastern and western portions for surveying. The community is not close to any sort of geographical center of the state.

Michigan Center, Michigan
Michigan Center, Michigan - Google Maps

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