Rugby, North Dakota
The little town of Rugby lies about 45 miles from the Canadian border in the north central part of North Dakota. It has a population of less than 3,000 and a typical small-town atmosphere, but there are nevertheless a few distinctive things to set it apart from thousands of other small towns across the United States.
Rugby has achieved some fame that makes its townspeople proud. The U.S. Geological Survey has indicated that Rugby is the geographical centre of North America. From Rugby, you would have to travel 1,500 miles to reach the Gulf of Mexico. Turning northward from Rugby, the Canadian Arctic archipelago is 1,500 miles away. The distance to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans is 1,500 miles, too.
So to commemorate this central location, the people of Rugby erected a stone cairn with a plaque reading, “Geographical Center of North America, Rugby, N.D.”
The monument is actually located about a mile south of the city of Rugby, adjacent to a gasoline station. It is constructed of rocks and held together with reinforcing rods and cement. Built in pyramid style, its base is 1.8 metres square, and it stands 6.4 metres high.
Volunteers from Rugby assisted Boy Scouts in erecting the landmark. Lights keep the monument in full view after dark.
Rugby is located near U.S. Highway 2, and is surrounded by a vast undeveloped land area. The early explorers erroneously called this area the Great American Desert, and despite its natural beauty, it has not yet attracted enough people to cause a population crisis.
In its Chamber of Commerce brochures and reports, Rugby emphasizes that it is “a city with room for development and expansion in almost every direction…” with “…complete facilities for new industry and economic growth.”
But even if Rugby never attains the status of a big city, there is still something very appealing about a small town that has remained largely unchanged in the more than 130 years since it was founded.
The first train arrived here in August, 1885, bringing English immigrants, who immediately named the new town after Rugby, England.
Today, Rugby is the Pierce County seat. Its city hall houses a museum containing Indian artifacts found in the county, as well as some Spanish-American War relics.
Each June, Rugby plays host to the North Dakota State Championship Horse Show. Horses played a major role in its early development, too. It still depends primarily on the fertile farmland for its economic survival.
About 40 miles north of Rugby is another unusual landmark, the International Peace Garden, a 9-square-kilometre site laid out by both the State of North Dakota and the Commonwealth of Canada. “As long as man shall live, these 2 nations shall not take up arms against one another,” reads the dedication to the garden, which is lush with the beauty of natural greenery. Admission to the park is free, and the grounds are open year round. Picnic areas are available, as are a lodge, cabins, and camping grounds.
The entire State of North Dakota has adopted the theme of the park, calling itself the Peace Garden State and sometimes showing that fact on its automobile license plates.
Lake Metigoshe State Park is not far from the International Peace Garden, and has one of the largest, most attractive lakes in the State. It is about an hour’s drive from Rugby, and many of the local inhabitants fish on the lake.
Rugby was once the home of N. P. Lindberg, who is credited with having originated the slogan “Say It with Flowers.” At a national florists’ convention in Chicago, he said, “In North Dakota, we say it with flowers.” Those words were warmly received by the convention’s delegates, who soon adopted the slogan as their own.
Happy English learning!!!