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Cal Center - photo by Michael Olwyler

A Community That Loves Its History Wants It Back

Written by Michael Olwyler —

Recently California lost its center, and the community of North Fork wants it back!

A plaque describing the very center of the state was pried off a rock by vandals. The site, which was developed by the North Fork History Group (NFHG) and other partners, is on lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service near the town of North Fork. The theft of the brass plaque has caused outrage, and encouraged cooperation and community spirit to flourish.

Cal Center plaque - photo by Vince Smith

Cal Center plaque – photo by Vince Smith

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office took up the cause of the loss of the plaque at Cal Center and spread the word far and wide to try and find it. A number of community residents and organizations like the Visit Yosemite Madera County, have contacted the NFHG to offer donations to replace the plaque.

The North Fork History Group will be coordinating with the Bass Lake Ranger District in 2017, in an effort to refurbish the Center of California by replacing the plaque, installing a banister along the steps, placing barriers to prevent vandals driving up the slope, and other simple improvements.

The local community loves the history of the Center of California and wants to see the site restored!

To visit the site, drive 4.7 miles southeast on the Italian Bar Road (Road 225) to stand at the exact center of the state. The North Fork Visitor’s Center, or the Forest Service office in town can provide details about how to find it.

Michael Olwyler

North Fork History Group


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