The Museum of History in Granite in Felicity, California is definitely worth a stop if you happen to be in this part of the United States. Felicity is in the southeastern corner of Imperial Valley County, where the California, Arizona, and Mexico borders meet, which happens in the middle of the Colorado River. Being the desert, you should choose a time of year that is appropriate for not baking yourself before you even get to the chapel on the hill.
We rolled into Felicity around 11:30 am on beautiful late April morning. We didn’t think anybody would be there to guide us since tours are officially from Thanksgiving to March 31, but out of nowhere the town’s namesake, Felicia, showed up and started our tour, whether we wanted it or not! With the tour comes your certificate for standing at the center of the world (in the pyramid), so I guess we were lucky.
The museum was founded by the French-American Jacques-André Istel. (His wife is Felicia.) The museum is on 2,600 acres of desert and is the self-proclaimed center of the world. How could Felicity be the center of the world? Because it says so in Istel’s book Coe: The Good Dragon at the Center of the World, published in 1985.
The main attraction of the Felicity are the triangular, engraved granite monuments which aim to record the history of humanity. A daunting task, but they are well on their way. The Istels' research and summaries are quite entertaining and thought provoking. They mix science, art, and humor fluidly, and effectively. For example, in the Man Evolves panel, the classic evolution image of ape to man is prefaced with a cartoon adult ape telling a youngster “How many times must I tell you, stoop”. Next to this image is a engraving of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.
Left: A Replica of Michelangelo’s Arm of God as a Sundial; Right: A Museum Visitor Reads the Granite Panels
Left: A Train Passes in the Distance; Right: Certificate You Get When You Visit the Center of the World
Left: French Foreign Legion Marching on the Champs-Élysées; Right: Panel on Evolution
Left: Brochure for the Museum of History in Granite; Right: A Section of the Original Eiffel Tower Spiral Stairs (at the Museum of History in Granite)