Monday, November 24, 2014

Just a little off center

If you are driving on Interstate 8 going east towards Yuma you see off to the left a church on a hill seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Well it turns out that it's not in the middle of nowhere at all, it's the exact center.

 The center of the world that is....

The church at Felicity CA

But how can this be the center of the world? Even the population sign says "Population 0". The facility that this is based in has apartments for rent, Barbara thinks when the people leave the apartments and go to work they take the number of people displayed on the sign off and hang up the "0" until they get home and then they hang "2" up again.
But this IS the center of the world, it says so right on the sign and it's been recognized as such by the Government. Well the FRENCH Government at least. Seems there is a big French influence here in Felicity. 

The mayor is French which explains this:

What the heck is a spiral staircase doing out in the desert? That's not just ANY spiral staircase, it's a piece of the spiral staircase that was removed from the Eiffel Tower, yes the one in Paris France. Apparently when they renovated the tower in the 90's they auctioned off parts of the staircase. The mayor being French bought a piece and there it is. Out in the desert.

But the center of the world, where would you keep the center of the world? Why in a pyramid of course! A pyramid out in the desert.

With Micheal Angelo's arm of God pointing it out, in case you missed it.

Handily enough the arm of God is also a sun dial so if your watch has stopped you know the time.

The arm of God also seems to have a message for Barbara too.

So what does the center of the world look like? Some impressive, monolith? A glowing, glittering object with sound effects?

Nope it's a bronze plate about 12" in diameter. For an extra $2 per person you can get a certificate saying you were there and can have a picture of you standing on it. 

Wow what a tourist trap we'd never do anything like that.

Between the pyramid and the church is a kind of "Garden" and there is a radial set of walls about 4' high made of concrete and clad in red granite. Engraved on the granite are various things. The history of Arizona, The history of California, The history of the mankind! There is a monument to the Marines who died in the Korean War. There's a history of the French Aerospace Industry (That French Connection again) and a history of the French Foreign Legion. Don't the French have any granite of their own?? There's a history of Art it goes on and on. 

Only about 20% of the walls are filled in as yet, the guide says about another 10 years of engraving and they'll be done. It's engineered to last 4,000 years. I hope the engraver doesn't make many spelling mistakes, that granite would be hard to erase.

At the opposite end of the site on a hill (A man made hill...)
There's a non denominational church/chapel that is quite simple on the outside and the inside, but it is a restful place and we liked it.

But yet it all feels OFF CENTER. 
I mean, what possessed somebody to construct this out in the middle of nowhere? How did they pay for it? Where did they go? Will it ever get finished? Will they bring the rest of the Eiffel Tower here to join back to the staircase?
Do the aliens come down when it's dark and read the inscriptions?

Apparently the origin of this was a children's book about a dragon at the center of the world. Well why not? Kids have great imaginations.

But at least now you know, that's what the church on the hill just west of Yuma on Interstate 8 is. The center of the World of course.

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