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History of the Town of Felicity (2000)

by Felicity Historical Society

Perhaps you remember Whip It!'s trip to The Center of the World.

Perhaps not.

If you don't, you can easily catch up on the Center of the World story from this handy Felicity history booklet, which I picked up last week on a side trip out of Yuma. Anyway, when they say "history," they're not kidding -- the booklet starts with the pre-Cambrian period. This may be to make up for a lack of actual Felicity history -- it hasn't existed for long, and what does exist isn't so much. But the history is compelling, nonetheless:

Although trained as an investment banker, [Felicity founder and mayor-for-life Jacques-Andre] Istel spent 26 years running his parachute company based on his own designs. After selling same, he moved to the desert in 1985, and created the Town of Felicity named for his wife Felicia. To our knowledge it is the first town in America named for a Chinese lady.

The center of the world (that is universe) could be anywhere, therefore had never been established by law. Laws are logical and the concept has no logic. Hence such a law could not be based on geography, philosophy, history, morality, or other logical reason.

Reasoning that a fairy tale is memorable and uncontroversial (who in the world argues that Little Red Riding Hood wore a blue dress?), the children's book Coe The Good Dragon At The Center Of The World caused the Supervisors of Imperial County ... to establish The Official Center of the World at Felicity by law on 21 May 1985.

The booklet includes a number of reactions to Felicity's creation from famous people, with a puzzling notation beneath:

Only Mayor Koch is quoted out of context. A twinge of envy from New York City is forgivable indeed.
Koch wasn't the only politician to be confronted with the wonder of The Center:


Upon installation of the telephone, the Mayor made the first call to the White House. A polite but baffled secretary took the report of the birth of the Town of Felicity to the President of the United States.

Given that it was 1985, that president was probably as polite and baffled as the secretary.

Note: "Center of the Word" [sic] has trademarked/servicemarked the following: "World Commemorative Center," "Wall for the Ages," "Official Center of the World," "Central Point for Memories," "The Tribute that Endures," and "Everyone has the right to be remembered." Do not use these phrases. You have been warned, beep beep.