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Concrete Airway Marker

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I am a trail overseer for several sections of the Mid State Trail and decided to go out today and paint the blazes on a five mile road section from the top of Tussey Mountain down into the town of Williamsburg, PA. I have been meaning to do this since Spring, but just had not taken the time to do it yet. Since I was going to be right in the area, I decided to do some benchmark hunting and search for KX2220

 

Instead of trying to go on all the old forest roads described in the datasheet, I decided it would be easier to park at the top of Tussey Mountain where the MST comes off the top of the ridge and starts down the road walk. It was only about 1/3 of a mile from there to KX2220. I walked down the road about 2/10 of a mile and found a good spot to head into the woods to find the benchmark. I had a pretty easy time finding it - my GPS lead me right to it. Here are pictures of the disk and two reference markers:

 

8c877305-7569-470b-9c17-a77bd83507cd.jpg

 

da967913-1e82-498e-b17b-89e60b05a65c.jpg

 

e7355d63-9bb4-4eda-a95c-970b9ae25dde.jpg

 

Just before arriving at the benchmark, there is a concrete airway marker on top of the mountain. I had no idea what this was when I read the description of the station's location. I figured that I may not even find it on the way to the benchmark. However, there was no way to miss it. Although the edges were overgrown by weeds a bit, you could make out the entire marker. I took a couple of pictures, but could not get a picture of the entire thing from tip to tail because it arched in the middle to follow the contour of the ridge top and they were generally about 70 feet long.

 

ae141242-226d-43cc-bd64-d95d1e618b4c.jpg

 

6e1edf4e-ccb4-4baf-a063-3aa58c927913.jpg

 

With the sun right overhead, the arrow is kind of hard to make out in the pictures, but you can definitely see it there. When I got home, I did some research on what this arrow was for and really learned quite a bit. I found several old threads on the forum here and some great websites with the history of these things. Had I known there were signal towers over these and sometimes a generator shack, I would have looked more closely to see if I could see where they once stood. Maybe I will have to make a trip back out to check that out sometime.

 

From the websites I looked at, my guess is that this marker was part of the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg route, since a straight line drawn on a map goes within a couple of miles south of this spot. I would love to know if there are other markers around - I know they were usually place about 10 miles apart, but I would need some better idea of where exactly to look. I plan to do some more research to see if I could find the location - I'm pretty sure there are none with a PID that are close to this one.

 

Finding something like this is part of what I really like about benchmark hunting. I went out looking for the benchmark and wound up getting a history lesson on the early days of air travel in the US.

 

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That brings back memories of climbing Stone Mountain just east of Atlanta with my parents. There was a large arrow painted on top of the mountain that pointed to the Atlanta Airport (back before it became an international airport and now Hartsfield Jackson airport). I checked Earth Goggle (33 48 23.50 N 084 08 44.62 W), but I could not see the arrow. It’s probably “Gone with the Wind”. :unsure:

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I keep hoping to find one of these but haven't been lucky yet. From what I have seen they sometimes, but not always, were accompanied by a beacon, and sometimes, but not always, beacons had the arrows. My guess is that the one you found was a daytime marker and didn't have a beacon, because I think the tower would have been mentioned, at least in the 1941 recovery.

 

Many of the beacons are benchmarks (intersection stations). They are often named according to the route they served, e.g. CHICAGO NEW YORK AIRWAY BCN 56. You can find a lot of them by searching for "BCN" on GC.com. (actually " BCN"-(that is a space " " and then BCN) because anything 3 letters or less looks ONLY for an exact match). They are pretty rare though. I would venture to say that most have been torn down.

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thefourB's,

 

Excellent find! I've always wanted to find one of those concrete arrows, and you just stumbled onto it.

 

I don't suppose Google Earth/Maps has clear enough images in that area to make it out. Have you looked?

 

Also, I wonder about how long the arrow was. It's hard to tell from your pictures, but I always assumed they would have to be 50-75 feet long to be reliably seen from the air, but yours doesn't look that long.

 

Great bit of history.

 

-ArtMan-

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Also, I wonder about how long the arrow was. It's hard to tell from your pictures, but I always assumed they would have to be 50-75 feet long to be reliably seen from the air, but yours doesn't look that long.

-ArtMan-

..I actually have the dimensions of the arrow near KX2220 along w/ a bunch of nice low-vegetation shots - which gnbrotz sent me awhile back. He's also been to one in Adams County, PA as well. I'm having trouble manipulating the diagram file so I'll see if I can get him to chime in here & maybe he can post the original..

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The arrow was big enough that I could not get the entire thing into a picture - plus it was curved to follow the countour of the top of the ridge, so that also kept me from getting into the frame. Google Earth does not have high enough resolution in this area to see it, plus there are a lot of trees/vegetation grown up around the arrow.

 

Maybe Ernmark or gnbrotz will post the dimensions and pics they have so you can get a better idea of the size and how it looks with less stuff growing up around it.

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Here's a little info I can provide about the two concrete arrows I've seen in person:

 

Arrow #1 (Adams County, PA)

N39 54.415, W077 26.184

 

This arrow is made of thin slabs of concrete, reinforced with wire mesh. It appears to have been constructed off-site and brought in for placement. Stones have been piled up to create a level platform for the arrow. The slabs which make up the tip are broken, and the arrow is generally in fair to poor condition, but it still able to be clearly recognized and tell which way it pointed (~90° magnetic). There are two angled pieces of metal (one on each side) and an additional two holes (again, one on each side), which seem to be perfectly placed as the base of a beacon. There is no other evidence of a beacon or accompanying buildings and no evidence of how a beacon at this location would have been serviced.

 

Arrow #2 (border of Blair & Huntingdon counties)

N40 25.298, W078 10.092

 

This arrow is of a much more sturdy construction, and seems to have been poured on-site. It is several inches thick, quite soundly in place, and in excellent condition. Strangely, this arrow actually has a slight bend in it, which seems to be how it was constructed and is meant to be this way. Of the other photos I have seen from existing arrows across the country, I’ve never seen this or heard of it. The rear portion points ~99° magnetic, and the bend tips the front half to the right a bit, indicating ~105° magnetic. I don’t recall seeing any evidence of upgrade to a beacon, etc. around the site. PID KX2220, station “HICKS” is very near this arrow.

 

My diagram of the second arrow is a HUGE (in dimension) .jpg image, which loses much of it's quality when shrunk down. I'll gladly post it up to my webspace if someone can take it and perhaps produce a CAD or similar scale image of it in an easily viewable size. My pictures of the first arrow mentioned above are poor due to a combination of lighting issues, poor condition of the arrow and older sub-megapixel camera.

 

Here are a couple of shots from my trip to the arrow described by thefourB's

 

Slightly behind center, looking towards tip (roughly east):

huntingdonarrow1.jpg

 

Slightly behind center, looking towards fletching (roughly west):

huntingdonarrow2.jpg

 

This arrow is ~54' long and is 11' wide at it's widest point, though the 'shaft' is ~4' wide

 

I don't suppose Google Earth/Maps has clear enough images in that area to make it out. Have you looked?

 

Art, GoogleEarth/Maps has pretty poor coverage over rural areas, as I'm sure you know; but, I've found in my area that Ask.com has aerial coverage that is surprisingly good. Sadly, I'm unable to make out any indication of the arrow on their photos either, which kind of surprised me as I was easily spot an abandoned steam shovel in the woods near a geocache I found.

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..I posted a note at KX2220 & let GC resize it - "it doesn't do the best job®" ...but is readable:

6b12f98a-e9c7-43ae-8422-fe15f2b28f61.jpg

 

- E

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Holy Carp!!! What an absolutely cool find!!! *is extremely jealous*

 

Thanks for sharing all the pixs! I have never seen one of these before. I really enjoy all the extra history that comes from BMing.

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Not quite as cool as finding an actual one, but I did find this one while scouring some 1938 aerial shots of Chicago. It is pointing to what is now Midway airport which used to be Chicago Municipal airport.

 

aerialArrow.jpg

 

Brendan

Edited by Team Fawlty

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I have seen the one at the "Bloomington Overlook", one near the cache "Shinob Kibe" and one at the "Quail Creek West". All of these are in Southern Utah. I just found another one on Mormon Mesa in Nevada. I did a google search for "concrete arrow" and found a website by a geocacher, "Astounding". He has posted information including a drawing of what some of these looked like with the beacon and a small building. I placed a cache at the new one I found. It is called Straight Arrow.

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Here is a story of airway markers in Tulsa OK that someone told where I work:

 

"During the early days of aviation in Tulsa, on top of Reservoir Hill, which is located at Apache and North Denver, was a directional sign that aviators used to find Tulsa. With navigational aids at a minimum during this time period, a directional sign was an important part of the pilot’s situational awareness. The sign pointed southeast to McIntyre Airport, located at the southeast corner of Admiral and Sheridan, and was used by Charles Lindbergh when he visited the city of Tulsa on September 30, 1927. Also, on top of Reservoir Hill visible on the picture above and shown on the picture below, were the KVOO radio towers whose broadcasting strength early pilots used as directional aids as well...

 

As part of Vision 2025, the sign has been restored. It was moved about 300 feet from the location of the original crushed marble sign and now points in an easterly direction to Tulsa International Airport instead of in a southeasterly direction to the long gone McIntyre Airport."

 

Now it's me talking: I have an old and a new image of the marker but don't know where to post them.

 

Here is a link to it on Google Maps:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=tulsa,+ok&aq=&sll=36.078864,-95.82314&sspn=0.01018,0.022316&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Tulsa,+Oklahoma&ll=36.188198,-96.000193&spn=0.001271,0.002789&t=h&z=19

 

BasicPoke

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Now it's me talking: I have an old and a new image of the marker but don't know where to post them.

 

Here is a link to it on Google Maps:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=tulsa,+ok&aq=&sll=36.078864,-95.82314&sspn=0.01018,0.022316&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Tulsa,+Oklahoma&ll=36.188198,-96.000193&spn=0.001271,0.002789&t=h&z=19

 

BasicPoke

 

Post them to this Waymarking category along with your story. Readable from Above

 

Depending on your photos they could be posted in the Photos Then and Now category as well.

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Depending on your photos they could be posted in the Photos Then and Now category as well.

 

Hi BeanTeam,

 

I had never seen the Then and Now category. It is pretty interesting. Thanks for pointing it out. Is there any way to browse that category by state or coordinates?

 

Thanks

Edited by TillaMurphs

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Hi BeanTeam,

 

I had never seen the Then and Now category. It is pretty interesting. Thanks for pointing it out. Is there any way to browse that category by state or coordinates?

 

Thanks

 

Yes the search function is actually pretty useful. You can create your own searches and save them from coordinates or zip codes etc.

 

One the main page select the Waymark Search tab. below the search box is a link titled additional search options You can set many different saved searches here.

 

Another method and more what you asked is found on the particular category page.

 

Open the category. You can do this using the category search option on the main page.

 

I'll use benchmarks since this is the benchmark forum.

 

US Benchmarks

 

At the top of the page there is a option called Search Criteria: All Waymarks. Expand this option.

 

Select the Country and State in the drop down boxes and submit. This gives you a list of every waymark within a given state. In my example here are all of the benchmarks submitted in Oregon.

 

Here are the Photos Then and Now waymarks in Oregon at this time.

Edited by TheBeanTeam

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With the recent discussion on these I went to look for one. Not sure what I found.

Clicky link > TR1852

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Edited by TillaMurphs

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With the recent discussion on these I went to look for one. Not sure what I found.

Clicky link > TR1852

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

I don't think it was the 'airway beacon'.

How is a surveyor up in a Bilby tower going to sight on a concrete arrow in the ground?

My thought is that the arrows were sometimes installed as daytime assistance, but the beacons were really intended for nighttime navigation.

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With the recent discussion on these I went to look for one. Not sure what I found.

Clicky link > TR1852

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

I don't think it was the 'airway beacon'.

How is a surveyor up in a Bilby tower going to sight on a concrete arrow in the ground?

My thought is that the arrows were sometimes installed as daytime assistance, but the beacons were really intended for nighttime navigation.

 

I agree with AZcachemeister. Even though the datasheet doesn't actually specify what the intersection station is, a concrete marker on the ground doesn't really fit the normal definition of an intersection station, but there are always exceptions:

 

Intersection Stations (a Type of Horizontal Control)

An intersection station is a prominent landmark, such as a water tower, radio tower, church spire, mountain top, or any other type of object that can be observed from a distance. These kinds of "large object" station markers, known as intersection stations because of the way their coordinates are calculated are usually landmarks higher in the air than any surrounding objects, which allows them to be seen from many miles away in several directions. By observing one or more such points through a telescope, surveyors can determine positions on the surface of the Earth through the use of trigonometry.

 

I have actually been looking for some airway beacons intersection stations in LA as of late, and all of them were supposedly on top of towers.......as I assume TR1852 was too. A concrete airway "marker" is different from an airway "beacon".....even though they sound alike. I've always assumed that a beacon is a lighting fixture. We've been talking about some beacons in this forum (which is what got me interested in them):

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=282088

 

EDIT: Tillamurphs, I did some more research and found where Airway Beacon #9 TR1823 has been destroyed. However using that datasheet, you can see that even though it's initial report doesn't list the beacon being on a tower (just like the datasheet for Beacon #10 TR1852 from the same time frame)....you can see from it's subsequent reports, it was the beacon atop a tower:

 

TR1823_U.S. NATIONAL GRID SPATIAL ADDRESS: 10UEV3440904623(NAD 83)

TR1823

TR1823 HISTORY - Date Condition Report By

TR1823 HISTORY - 1941 MONUMENTED CGS

TR1823 HISTORY - 1947 GOOD CGS

TR1823 HISTORY - 1950 MARK NOT FOUND CGS

TR1823 HISTORY - 1950 DESTROYED CGS

TR1823

TR1823 STATION DESCRIPTION

TR1823

DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1941 (JCS)

STATION IS LOCATED ON THE W SIDE OF THE BELLINGHAM - FERNDALE ROAD APPROXIMATELY 4 MILES NW OF BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON.

TR1823

TR1823 STATION RECOVERY (1947)

TR1823

RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1947 (RGH)

DESCRIPTION ADEQUATE.

TR1823

TR1823 STATION RECOVERY (1950)

TR1823

TR1823'RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1950 (CWC)

THIS STATION, LISTED IN THE LIST OF GEOGRAPHIC POSITIONS NO. G-5410,SEATTLE TO BELLINGHAM, AS AIRWAY BEACON NO. 9 1941 WAS RECOVERED IN CONNECTION WITH PROJECT PH-26 (47) IN 1949. A RESUMPTION OF THIS WORK IN 1950 REVEALS THE FACT THAT THIS TOWER WAS BLOWN DOWN ON JANUARY 13, 1950 AND THE STATION DESTROYED. NO CONCRETE FOOTINGS REMAIN AND THE HOLES LEFT BY THE TOWER LEGS WILL SOON BE UNRECOGNIZABLE.

TR1823

TR1823 STATION RECOVERY (1950)

TR1823

TR1823'RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1950 (HJB)

THE BEACON TOWER WAS BLOWN OVER BY A STORM IN JANUARY 1950. THE AIRPORT OFFICIALS HAVE NOT DECIDED ON WHEN OR WHERE IT WILL AGAIN BE ERECTED. A NEW SITE IS BEING CONSIDERED.

 

Legacypac and 2sly4u may have laid a goose chicken egg on this one, looking at their logs. :rolleyes:

Edited by LSUFan

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Azcachemeister and LSUFan,

 

Thanks for straightening me out. Somewhere in my muddled mind I had thought that people had been referring to the concrete arrows as “beacons” even though they didn’t really seem like what a beacon should be. Then the previous “finds” on TR1852 derailed me even more.

 

LSUFan, your research of the other mark certainly clinches the deal that TR1852 should be a light on a tower. The nearest tower to the TR1852 location is about 1100 feet east by north and it appears to be an antenna tower instead of a light tower. Besides being too far away, it also looks much newer than 1940.

 

It would seen that TR1852 is destroyed.

 

Thanks for your input guys.

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Resurrecting this old thread to note that CityLab (an online extension of The Atlantic magazine) has a nicely illustrated article on these vintage navigation artifacts ... some of which are still in active use in Montana, according to author John Metcalf.

 

http://www.citylab.c...-arrows/385472/

 

Note especially the link to the "daunting but thorough web of flight routes," which is a product of work by longtime but now dormant (and sorely missed!) forum contributors RogBarn and Zhanna.

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Resurrecting this old thread to note that CityLab (an online extension of The Atlantic magazine) has a nicely illustrated article on these vintage navigation artifacts ... some of which are still in active use in Montana, according to author John Metcalf.

 

http://www.citylab.c...-arrows/385472/

 

Note especially the link to the "daunting but thorough web of flight routes," which is a product of work by longtime but now dormant (and sorely missed!) forum contributors RogBarn and Zhanna.

 

Awesome article - thanks for resurrecting the thread!

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ArtMan - that CityLab article is terrific. Thanks for posting it here!

 

Airway Beacon GR1900, located off the north side of I-15 just east of Moapa out northeast of Las Vegas, is adjacent to a concrete arrow. I visited the site back on 12/13/2007 and was stunned to find the concrete arrow intact at the site, as yet apparently undocumented by the area's well-known benchmark enthusiasts. There's now a geocache on-site aptly-named GC4RQH8 Beacon Hill Arrow which I may hunt on my next visit to Las Vegas. The concrete airway marker was in excellent condition seven years ago. The concrete center box in this photo is ten foot by ten foot, demonstrating how difficult it is to sense the large size of these markers from photographs without anything to scale them against. I posted photos of the arrow with my log on GR1900.

 

e7dc41fa-3333-4ac8-b28b-c5f14e8e22ec.jpg

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There are several web sites dedicated to finding and documenting these "Concrete Arrows". According to what I have found out so far is that they are in several states. I am from Oklahoma and so far there are four known arrows and possibly one other. Check our this web site or Google "Concrete Arrows". Good luck and have fun.

 

http://www.dreamsmithphotos.com/arrow/arrows.html

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