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Rugby, North Dakota facts for kids

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Rugby, North Dakota
Downtown Rugby
Downtown Rugby
Location of Rugby, North Dakota
Location of Rugby, North Dakota
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Pierce
 • Total 2.26 sq mi (5.85 km2)
 • Land 2.24 sq mi (5.81 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)
1,549 ft (472 m)
 • Total 2,876
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,154.70/sq mi (445.85/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 701 Exchange: 776
FIPS code 38-68860
GNIS feature ID 1031031
Highways US 2, ND 3
Website Rugby

Rugby is a city in, and the county seat of, Pierce County, North Dakota, United States. The population was 2,876 at the 2010 census, making it the twentieth largest city in North Dakota. Rugby was founded in 1886.

Rugby is often billed as the geographic center of North America.


Rugby was founded in 1886 at a junction on the Great Northern Railway, where a branch line to Bottineau met the main line. The railroad promoters initially platted the town as Rugby Junction, getting the name Rugby from the town of Rugby in Warwickshire, England. It was one of several sites along the Great Northern's transcontinental route between Devils Lake and Minot that were named after places in England (the others were Berwick, Leeds, Knox, Norwich, Penn, Surrey, Churches Ferry, Tunbridge, and York). When the community became a city, the Junction was dropped from the name.

North Dakota's first permanent settlers arrived in 1812 from the Earl of Selkirk’s colony in neighboring Manitoba, Canada. As farmers, they were more advanced than many of their contemporaries in the rest of the United States, having adopted sophisticated farming methods and machinery. Many of these implements, including an early McCormick Deering threshing machine, have found their way to the restored Pioneer Village in Rugby.

Obelisk near Rugby

In 1931, the town of Rugby erected a 15 feet (4.6 m) tall rock obelisk marking the "Geographical Center of North America". This was moved to a slightly different location in or after 1971. west of Balta), and even this designation carries no official status.


Rugby is located at 48°22′2″N 99°59′46″W / 48.36722°N 99.99611°W / 48.36722; -99.99611 (48.367129, -99.995979). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.94 square miles (5.02 km2), all of it land. Rugby claims to be the geographic center of North America and a monument stands in the city to signify this. The monument features flags of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.


North Dakota Highway 3 at Rugby looking north
ND3 in Rugby


Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, serves a station in Rugby via its Empire Builder, a once-daily train in each direction between Portland/Seattle and Chicago.


U.S. Route 2 and North Dakota Highway 3 serve the Rugby area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 487
1910 1,630 234.7%
1920 1,424 −12.6%
1930 1,512 6.2%
1940 2,215 46.5%
1950 2,907 31.2%
1960 2,972 2.2%
1970 2,889 −2.8%
1980 3,335 15.4%
1990 2,909 −12.8%
2000 2,939 1.0%
2010 2,876 −2.1%
2019 (est.) 2,590 −9.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,876 people, 1,239 households, and 697 families living in the city. The population density was 1,482.5 inhabitants per square mile (572.4/km2). There were 1,407 housing units at an average density of 725.3 per square mile (280.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.9% White, 0.3% African American, 5.8% Native American, 0.9% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 1,239 households, of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.7% were non-families. 39.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.83.

The median age in the city was 47 years. 20% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.1% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 26.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

Sites of interest

  • Geographical Center of North America - Rugby is located in the geographical center of North America. There is a cairn marking this spot. Note: The validity of this claim is disputed by a mathematical analysis
  • Prairie Village Museum houses some of Pierce County's oldest historical buildings & artifacts including the 1886 Great Northern Railroad Depot.
  • The Victorian Dress Museum -The building that houses the museum is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Rugby has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.

Popular culture

Rugby is mentioned on the television show Law & Order as the hometown of murder suspect and MLB player Kevin Seleeby November 27, 2002 (Season 13, Episode 8; Episode 21008).

In the recent release of Animus, book one of The Oldest Soul book trilogy by Tiffany FitzHenry, Rugby is the center of which the events take place.


The city of Rugby is served by Rugby Public Schools: Ely Elementary School and Rugby High School. Little Flower Catholic School is also in Rugby.

Notable people

  • Todd "Boogie" Brandt, radio personality with The Todd and Tyler Radio Empire
  • Harald Bredesen (1918-2006), Lutheran pastor
  • Nichi Farnham, Maine state senator
  • Don Gaetz, Florida politician
  • Samuel Kirk (1904-1996), psychologist and educator
  • Jon Nelson, member of the North Dakota House of Representatives
  • Clifford Thompson (1904-1955), one of the world's tallest men
  • Chris Tuchscherer, mixed martial artist
  • Larry Watson, poet, writer, and educator

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rugby (Dakota del Norte) para niños

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