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Found A Possibly Disused / Moved / Obsolete Marker

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I recently exchanged emails with the David Rumsey web site concerning the Wheeler maps. Below is my email to them, followed by their response.


Hello --


I am doing historical research on Lt. G.M. Wheeler, particularly his surveys in Colorado, and your map collection and display have been invaluable to me. Thanks so much for making Wheeler's maps available on the web!


I am trying to identify those maps in Wheeler's "National Atlas" that are not included in your collection, so that I may try to examine them elsewhere, such as at the U.S. Geological Survey Library in Lakewood, CO. I am having difficulty resolving the numbers of maps stated to be in your Wheeler collection with those that are actually displayed on your web site. The pub note that is associated with any of the Wheeler maps states that this is a "collection of 135 Topographical and Geological Atlas sheets..." and that the "listing in P1281...lists 179 sheets." However, when I search by author ("Wheeler, G.M."), the pages show 120 images, which includes 1 map not included in the "National Atlas" and 5 images that are not maps (2 covers, 2 title pages, and 1 legend); remaining 114 images are all maps that are part of the "National Atlas." When I search by data field (Pub reference = P1281), the pages show 118 images. These include the 5 images mentioned above that are non-maps; the remaining 113 images are all maps from the "National Atlas."


Thus I find either 113 or 114 maps displayed from the "National Atlas," but not 135 sheets from the Atlas that are claimed to be in your collection. Do you display somewhere the remaining 21 or 22 Atlas sheets from your collection? Is there available on your site (or elsewhere) a complete list of the topographical and geological sheets that are in Wheeler's Atlas?


I am also confused about some of the publication dates you give for Wheeler's Topographical Atlas and for the individual maps contained in the atlas. For example, for the Topographical Atlas you give a pub date of 1873, yet the image of the cover of the Atlas (P1281-167) clearly shows the date of 1878. Also, for the Geological Atlas you give a date of 1873, yet the image for the cover of the Geological Atlas (P1281-165) gives a date of 1874. For the atlas sheets themselves, you give a particular date, but for the pub title ("Topographical Atlas Projected to Illustrate U.S. Geographical Surveys West of the 100th Meridian...") you always give 1873 for the date (I believe it should be 1878). In many cases, the date that you give for a particular sheet (e.g., 1879, 1880, 1881) is later than the date of the Atlas publication in which the map appears (either 1873 or 1878), which seems odd.


I would greatly appreciate getting a response from you about these concerns.


And the response:


The cataloging data for this complex atlas was prepared by a relatively inexperienced cataloger at the beginning of our online project. Some of the dates and the sheet count she used are incorrect. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will be revising the data soon.


Our atlas actually contains 111 maps. Our online version has an additional digital "composite" created by the David Rumsey Collection.


Publication dates, according to Phillips' _geographical atlases in the library of congress_, should be [1876-1881]. The dates on the map sheets are, of course, survey dates which typically are earlier than the date of publication.




Anna Miller


Content Manager








As you can see, they did not address all my questions and their answers are not very clear, to me.

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I recently noticed this little monument near where I work. It's a roughly knee-height concrete block with the label U.S. MERIDIAN AND LATITUDE MARK on one side, and some coordinates given in degrees, minutes, and seconds on the other:

geomarkercropgg4.th.jpg geomarker14wv.th.jpg

Click thumbnail for larger image.

I haven't found anything on geocaching.com's cache or benchmark listings that seem to have anything to do with it.


It looks to me like this block has been moved from its original location; the GPSr reading I get on it is about 0.3 miles from where it says it is, and even allowing for a bit of drift from the older survey, it doesn't seem to me like it'd be that far wrong (though as a benchmark newbie I'd happily be corrected on that). There's no disk or other identifiable benchmark on it, and the top of it has been used to mount a commemorative plaque. Also, it looks like it's either been broken off from a taller structure or has sunk into the ground, since the label is partly obscured.


Nor have I found out anything about it from a couple hours' Googling, but I don't know quite where to look - I thought I'd show it to the experts here and see if anyone knew what it might be. Has anyone else seen this type of marker before?


Regards, Sam.

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This is a 5 year old thread (though a fascinating read) and the unknown mark was identified a long time ago. :)


Here are the coordinates for the remaining sites in Wheeler's table (section 3, p. 491). Three seem to be flagstaffs; only one (Camp Douglas) specifically says it is an astronomical monument, but perhaps Ft. Garland and Ft. Ellis are also monuments.




Camp Douglas, UT 111 50 14.07, 40 45 47.58




Aha! Camp Douglas would be the one I found, I bet - the location is now known as Fort Douglas but was still called Camp Douglas in those days. According to this Fort Douglas history page the name was changed in 1878. The astronomical monument numbers match what is chiseled on the stone I found.


So, I guess I was wrong about its being placed in the 1879 survey.


The Camp Douglas flagstaff could be the flagpole shown on this page (in the second picture in the Stilwell Field section), or one of its predecessors. The rectangular lump in the foreground of that picture is the monument, and the flagstaff coordinates are close enough to the monument's that it could well be that one. That could be evidence that the monument has not been moved, assuming the flagpole is in the same place as the one Wheeler documented. The monument is northeast of the current flagpole, which agrees with the difference between the flagstaff and astronomical monument coordinates.


So - to the experts there - how do we look up whether this monument is still recognized by the USGS, or whoever is relevant since the monument is pre-USGS, or if they think it was moved? I'm curious to know if this is really a loggable benchmark.


If not, I suppose I could put it on Waymarking.com as a Recovered U.S. Benchmark. ...though I'm not sure of the etiquette.


Thank you for posting this!

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