the 45th Parallel

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis Boulder

On the western edge of Minneapolis, the 45th Parallel enters the city near the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Wirth Parkway. In the middle of a small triangle of grassy park land lies this rough boulder.

Minneapolis Sign

LATITUDE 45° 00' 00" NORTH

LONGITUDE 93° 19' 10" WEST

This boulder is located on the forty-fifth parallel of latitude which is midway between the Equator and the North Pole.

Elevation 888 feet above mean sea level.

The monument appears to have been placed in the fall of 1916 by the Minneapolis Park Board. That makes it the second-oldest monument marking the 45th Parallel, after the marker in Perry, Maine placed 18 years before. An article in the Minneapolis Tribune on October 6, 1916 declares:

"The least Minneapolis can do to honor the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude for its long residence here is to designate its course with appropriate tablets. It is quite as distinguished as the Equator in the galaxy of famous lines, and it is infinitely a more desirable neighbor. The park board, quite becomingly, is taking steps to mark the exact habitat of the line. We are late in rendering homage, but it won't hurt us a bit to go about that function seriously now, and let the world know and ourselves be ever reminded of the fact that Minneapolis is one of the half-way stations between the North Pole and the Equator."

A photo from the 1920s shows that the boulder originally stood higher above ground, with its plaque level. The boulder in the photo appears to have the same text as the written on the plaque painted or engraved on its surface which is interrupted by the recessed plaque, as if this were a later addition. The boulder is also marred by graffiti, just a decade or so after it was placed.

The old patinaed and weathered plaque in the upper photo was replaced some time before 2009 with a new bronze version, with identical text in a similar layout as the original.

Minneapolis Boulder

View 45th Parallel Markers in Google Maps