Felicity Arizona

Situated in the southeastern corner of California, just a short distance from Mexico and Arizona, is the “official” center of the world. The tiny town of Felicity Arizona, with a population of fewer than 10 people, is acknowledged by France and several other EU countries as the world’s center. 

While the USA and some other nations have yet to endorse this claim, it hasn’t deterred the owner from developing a delightful tourist attraction that draws hundreds of visitors weekly. I had the opportunity to visit this unique place during a remote drive in 2016 and returned to see it again in 2024.

Named for the virtue of happiness, Felicity Arizona is often referred to intriguingly as the “official center of the world,” a title bestowed by its founder, Jacques-André Istel. This unique destination offers a blend of quirky attractions and profound historical insights.

Key Highlights of Felicity Arizona

  • The founders and sole residents of Felicity are Jacques-André Istel and his wife, Felicia. 
  • They claim that Felicity is the ‘center of the world,’ a title officially bestowed by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors in May 1985 when they designated it as the Official Centre of the World. 
  • The town’s establishment in 1986 was inspired by a children’s book titled “Coe, the Good Dragon at the Centre of the World.

Felicity Arizona History and Geographic Location

Felicity Arizona is situated in the southeastern corner of California, bordering Arizona, near the city of Yuma. Its remote location in the Sonoran Desert adds to its mystique, with stark landscapes and sweeping vistas that are both harsh and beautiful.

Founded in 1986 by Jacques-André Istel, a former paratrooper and the mayor of Felicity, the town was established with the unique idea of creating a historical focal point. Istel, inspired by his life experiences and a desire to leave a lasting legacy, chose the name “Felicity” after his wife, Felicia, and began to develop the town into a monument of global history.

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Attractions and Features of Felicity Arizona

Felicity’s main attraction is the Museum of History in Granite. This ambitious project aims to preserve human history and the history of the universe engraved on huge granite panels, designed to last for millennia. The site also features a 25-foot-tall pyramid, a section of the original spiral staircase from the Eiffel Tower, and the Felicity Stone, which marks the exact center of the world.

The Church on the Hill, visible from miles around, offers a serene spot for reflection amidst the vast desert. It stands as a symbol of peace and contemplation, drawing visitors to its simple yet profound presence.

The Prominent Feature of Felicity Arizona – Center of the World 

Felicity Arizona offers a truly unique and fascinating feature to its visitors: the claim to be the “Center of the World.” This bold declaration is not merely a whimsical tourist attraction but an officially recognized status granted by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors in 1985. The town’s founder, Jacques-André Istel, has built an entire narrative and a series of educational monuments around this concept, rooted in both personal inspiration and creative storytelling.

The centerpiece of this claim is the Center of the World Pyramid, a striking structure where a bronze disk lies embedded in the floor, marking what Istel designates as the precise center of the world. Visitors to the site can stand on the disk, taking a moment to stand “at the center of the world,” which provides a unique and thought-provoking experience. This act is often accompanied by a certificate provided by the town, commemorating the individual’s visit to the center.

Surrounding the pyramid are various other attractions that contribute to Felicity’s appeal. The Museum of History in Granite is a testament to human achievement, with granite monuments that detail the history of humanity and the earth, meant to last for thousands of years. Each monument and inscription has been carefully chosen to promote reflection on our place in the universe and our collective and individual legacies.

Felicity, through its designation as the center of the world and its monumental installations, provides a unique blend of education, philosophy, and a touch of novelty, making it a prominent and unforgettable feature in Arizona’s landscape. The town invites visitors not just to explore its physical attributes, but to contemplate deeper questions of existence and significance, all within the remote beauty of the desert environment.

Demographics and Population

Felicity is more of an attraction than a residential town, with a population that fluctuates with the seasons. Visitors and temporary residents join a handful of permanent citizens, creating a small but vibrant community focused around the town’s historical and educational projects.

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Economic Aspects of Felicity Arizona

Economic Aspects of Felicity Arizona

The local economy of Felicity is primarily driven by tourism, with the Museum of History in Granite and other monumental installations attracting visitors from across the globe. The town’s unique attractions support a small number of jobs in hospitality and education.

Cultural and Social Life

Although small, Felicity hosts several cultural and social events throughout the year, mainly educational programs and guided tours that explore its installations. These events serve to educate the public on the importance of historical preservation and awareness.

Tourism and Visitation

Visitors to Felicity can expect a unique blend of art, history, and philosophical inquiry. Recommendations for travelers include guided tours of the Museum of History in Granite, peaceful moments in the Church on the Hill, and a visit to the exact center of the world, marked by the Felicity Stone.

As a remotely located attraction, Felicity faces challenges in attracting a steady stream of visitors and maintaining its installations. However, ongoing projects and enhancements, along with increasing recognition of its educational value, suggest a promising future for this desert gem.

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Felicity Arizona Rothschild

Felicity Arizona often intrigues visitors with its unique title as the “Center of the World,” a designation that has captivated the curiosity of many. However, there seems to be a mix-up in terms; “Felicity Arizona Rothschild” does not refer to a known entity or place in or around Felicity. 

Felicity itself was established by Jacques-André Istel, who founded the town based on a whimsical notion and his desire to create a meaningful landmark. This small town, located near the Arizona-California border, is famed for its monumental attractions, such as the Museum of History in Granite, and its somewhat philosophical undertones, making it a notable point of interest in the desert landscape. 

While the Rothschild name is prominent in financial and historical contexts globally, it does not have a direct connection to Felicity, Arizona, as far as documented information goes.

Why is Felicity the Center of the World?

Felicity Arizona, claims the intriguing title of “the Center of the World” — a designation that is both symbolic and officially recognized. This unique status was granted in 1985 when the Imperial County Board of Supervisors officially endorsed Felicity’s claim. The town’s founder, Jacques-André Istel, decided on this designation after establishing Felicity, drawing on a mix of whimsy and a deep sense of purpose. 

He even constructed a monument known as the “Center of the World Pyramid,” where a bronze disk marks the exact spot, serving as a physical representation of this claim. The idea stemmed partially from Istel’s desire to create a meaningful and educational landmark, as well as from a children’s book he authored, which positioned a fictional dragon at the center of the world. 

The concept has since transformed Felicity into a philosophical landmark, attracting visitors curious about its unique status and the array of monuments dedicated to human history and achievements located there.


Felicity Arizona stands out as a testament to human creativity and the desire to commemorate our collective history. Its unique attractions offer more than just a roadside stop; they invite deep reflection on our place in the world. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of oddities, or simply in search of tranquility, Felicity awaits with stories set in stone for eternity.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Felicity Arizona

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Felicity Arizona. Let’s check them out.

What is Felicity Arizona known for?

Felicity is famously known as the “Center of the World,” a title officially recognized by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. It is home to the Center of the World Pyramid and the Museum of History in Granite.

How did Felicity get its name?

Felicity was named by its founder, Jacques-André Istel, after his wife, Felicia. The name also aligns with the town’s theme of happiness and its unique position as a philosophical center of the world.

How do you get to Felicity Arizona?

Felicity is located near the California-Arizona border, close to the city of Yuma, Arizona. It is accessible by car via Interstate 8, and the nearest major airport is in Yuma. Visitors often drive from nearby cities like San Diego, Phoenix, or Tucson.

Can visitors stand at the Center of the World?

Yes, visitors can stand on a marked bronze disk inside the Center of the World Pyramid in Felicity, which is claimed to mark the precise center of the world. Visitors can also receive a certificate commemorating their visit.

What can you see at the Museum of History in Granite?

The Museum of History in Granite features a series of granite panels that are engraved with historical events and figures, intended to last thousands of years. These panels chronicle significant aspects of human history and global culture.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Felicity?

There may be a small entrance fee or suggested donation for visiting Felicity, especially if you want a guided tour of the Museum of History in Granite or a certificate from the Center of the World Pyramid.

What is the best time of year to visit Felicity?

The best time to visit Felicity is during the cooler months from November to March, as the town is located in the desert and temperatures can be extremely high in the summer.