518. Smith Center, Smith County (KS040)

What a stately dame you are! I had to think about it for a bit, but it reminded me of a mix between Stockton and Ness City. Just as interesting a question though, is why do I have a tendency of gendering courthouses as female? Why do I even gender them at all? It’s not even similar to the case of ships that have traditionally been gendered as she. These are just buildings! They have no particular features other than (usually) being stone and interior capacity! So what is going on in my head? A great many things, but that is for a different discussion. And by “a different discussion,” I probably mean “many different lectures, diatribes, and manifestos on a myriad of varied subjects”. Which ever one it turns out to be at the moment, I can only chuckle, thinking we’ve got one of these back home…

The cache was a glass bottle under some bark at the foot of a tree in the nearby town of Kensington. It actually threw me for a bit, not because it was difficult, but because I thought it was a discarded beer bottle at first. I kept looking for the regular sized one that was supposed to be there until I saw the purple cap. Glass is never the best container for reasons you no doubt already know so it’s not usually something I look for. Once that was done, I set off for the courthouse. There was one virtual in town and I figured that since I was already there, I might as well go get it.

Check out what I found! The Old Dutch Mill here was built in 1879, and began milling corn, wheat, and graham in 1883. In 1913, a kerosene motor was added and it kept running until 1920. It was moved here in 1938 and has lived in this park ever since. So yeah, I milled around a bit (no pun intended) while claiming another virtual for the trip and then got moving down the road again, heading for…

WAIT. What? The Geographical Center of the (Lower 48) United States? I was heading down the road when I pulled to a quick stop! I had no idea I’d be passing this! How could I not stop? This was interesting and all, but there was no cache here so it was a quick stop to take some photographs and get on down the road again to…

Hold on… I stopped at a cemetery for a quick cache (there’s always a cemetery) while I thought. Why should I settle for a fake Center? The real one wasn’t that far away and I’ve made bigger diversions for far dumber things. Besides, the physical caches I had found were boring (as caches go, I mean) and the virtual, while nice, held nowhere near the significance. I quickly returned from whence I came for a few miles, turned on the appropriate roads and passed through the appropriate small town. If I was grabbing a cache in Smith County, only one would do…

Welcome to the Geographical Center of the (Lower 48) United States.

Once I grabbed the cache (not pictured, but in a clever place I don’t want to give away (though the hint pretty much lays it out), I strolled about a little. I peeked in the chapel because it never occurred to me that there would be one here. That’s also where the notes from passers-through were located. I left one of my own (in this case, not something geocaching related) and then railed from behind the pulpit for a moment on the evils of not geocaching. Or something like that. All I really knew here is that there was no way I could have let the tourist center suffice when I could see the real center. So, yeah, I burned a little time I could have used for other things, but what’s even the point if you fail to heed the call to adventure when it’s right in your face?

So there was one other thing that I didn’t know then, but know now. I could not have guessed that this would be my 700th entry. After last week’s anniversaries, this is a cherry on top. Once again, I have to thank you all for sticking with me on my journeys. I never imagined I’d go this far and I never imagined anyone else would want to come with me. Especially since I ramble the way I do. But I’ve gotten here and you’re still here, so the least I can do is keep going and (hopefully) entertaining you all in the process.

I snuck in one final cache on the way out of the site before heading on down the road again. I had an unexpected meeting with destiny here, but my planned meeting lay just a few more stops before me. I rushed to leave the county, this time actually crossing the county line, reaching…

3 thoughts on “518. Smith Center, Smith County (KS040)

  1. I was there too! The center and the windmill! Was Springsteen’s script from the commercial still in the Chapel? I loved that hide – it was clever but easy at the same time


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