Jump to content

Any Hints on finding this one/these?


Recommended Posts

I Will be going out soon to find this never before logged (on GC) benchmark. HX3041


Having never looked for chisled stones before - I am wondering if there is any trick that the more experienced may have. Remember - I am new to all this - so the most simple of descriptions would be appreciated.


I know the location is adjusted - so that should help. What are my odds of finding these after 60 + years?


Lastly - I ran across a new term: "sled road" considering when it was written and its proximity to water - am I to assume this was a road used to bring logs down the hill before they were floated down river?


Thanks in advance, as always!



Link to post

I Will be going out soon to find this never before logged (on GC) benchmark. HX3041


Having never looked for chisled stones before - I am wondering if there is any trick that the more experienced may have. Remember - I am new to all this - so the most simple of descriptions would be appreciated.


I know the location is adjusted - so that should help. What are my odds of finding these after 60 + years?


Lastly - I ran across a new term: "sled road" considering when it was written and its proximity to water - am I to assume this was a road used to bring logs down the hill before they were floated down river?


Thanks in advance, as always!



If the area has been undisturbed, those two reference marks my be easier to find then the station mark. Then again there may be a wind farm there now so good luck.
Link to post

Note that in 1944 they set two bronze disks on iron pipes for reference marks. If the stones aren't sticking out of the ground, then maybe the disks are, or could be found with a metal detector.


I'd say your chances are very good unless this area has been developed and regraded.


Your guess about a logging trail is a good one, but I'm not from your area and don't know the terminology as well as a local.


Hints? Only the fairly obvious. Draw yourself a sketch before you go so it is easy to keep in mind the directions and distances from the old and "new" reference marks, and take a compass and tape measure so if you find one you can determine where to look for the others. Carry a probe of some kind with a handle to poke around where it seems likely (anything from a long screwdriver, a dandelion digger, to a camp fork).


When you get there according to your GPS, set it up to average a waypoint for several minutes. That will be more accurate than what you had when you walked up. Then note the distance and direction to the waypoint of the given coordinates.

Edited by Bill93
Link to post

Here are some links to ones I have found like that:


White Horse

Look at the pics at the bottom. I actually HAVE the stone from this one in my cubicle at work as it was replaced by a disk and was just sitting at the site.


Barry 1885

This was my first monument of this type. I looked around for about 20 minutes until I spotted it. The day was rainy and dark so it pretty much looked like one of hundreds of stones in the area.



I was amazed to find this one as it had one of the poorest descriptions I had ever seen. I walked up to the only protruding stone in the area and it turned out to be the monument.


Papa Bear is correct--the RMs should be the easiest to recover since they protrude 10 inches and can be found with a metal detector. Take the NGS datasheet because it has the box score showing the distance and direction to each reference mark.


The topo map shows a pipeline directly over the ridge, so it is possible the mark was destroyed when it was put in. Another issue may be getting GPS coverage under the trees. The last time I was in such heavy tree cover mine was so squirrelly I couldn't really trust it much. Once you get to the top of the ridge stop and take a look. The chances are very good that the station will be on the exact highest point of the ridge. Just by eyeballing the area you can most likely walk to within 10 feet of where it should be.


Plan for a hike uphill. It looks like you have 350-400 vertical feet of climb to do if you approach from the south. Take water.


Good luck! And once you get there, even if you don't find the station, look for evidence of it--maybe the post was pulled out when the pipeline was put in, or you might be able to find the old underground mark -A BOTTLE SET IN CEMENT ABOUT 2-1/2 FEET BELOW THE GROUND, which was removed in 1944 when a new underground mark was set. Chances are good they didn't bother to carry the block of concrete away with them, just like nobody bothered to take White Horse's original stone when they reset it. Finding an underground mark would be a major event in the benchmarking world.

Link to post

Thanks for the replies thus far! I think I have made several determinations thus far.


1) Though I will be going early in the a.m. to avoid some of the heat of the day - I will take plenty of water.


2) I will also have the GC and NGS sheets with me. Also, screwdriver and tape measure.


3) I will do my best to find the absolute highest point and will be patient with my GPS as it hones in on what should be the right spot!


4) I may be over my head on this one! I can't figure if the actual station mark i will be reporting on is above or below the ground. If it is above - there is something below it right? Do I have to remove the top and find the burried part to claim it as found? There are old marks and new ones - and I am just not sure if I will find all or none, and what will make for a successful adventure (though being in the woods on a beautiful morning I am sure will be great!). Would you all be most excited if you found the bottle in the cement? could I take it with me - if it wasn't to big - or leave it for another to find some day?


I am gonna go for it - but am pretty unsure of myself on this one.

Link to post

I can't figure if the actual station mark i will be reporting on is above or below the ground. If it is above - there is something below it right? Do I have to remove the top and find the burried part to claim it as found? There are old marks and new ones - and I am just not sure if I will find all or none, and what will make for a successful adventure (though being in the woods on a beautiful morning I am sure will be great!). Would you all be most excited if you found the bottle in the cement? could I take it with me - if it wasn't to big - or leave it for another to find some day?


The "station mark" is a surface mark (the stone with the inscription - read the 1944 log) and there is an underground mark. DO NOT MOVE THE SURFACE MARK!!! Doing this will destroy the geodetic location of the mark. The underground mark is (was) only used when the surface mark was destroyed (say by a farmer plowing his field) and the USCGS came in to reestablish it using the underground mark.


In the normal course of affairs we will never get to see an underground mark. I'm not sure they have used them since the 1940s. In this case the surface mark, although reset in 1944, is the original stone so it has the historical as well as geodetic value.


And you won't be in over your head. The underground mark is only 3 1/2 feet deep. <_<

Link to post

OOH!!! This looks like a fun one!!!!! (And don't forget the Azimuth mark...)

That pipeline could be a major problem... Though it does not show on Google Maps. Strange place to run a pipeline, over the top of the Knob.

NGS lists: MARKER: X = CHISELED CROSS. It also says:











This is a common underground marker, for the station above ground.

I wouldn't mess with the stone pole. It seems to be the station.

Have fun. Enjoy. Send post cards. Oops. Upload pictures!

Link to post

Wow, the Google aerial photos are great! I can almost see stills in the woods. After looking at the Google images I would probably approach the mark from the north. There is a road that goes to a house that is very near the mark (maybe 0.2 miles?) and would require only about 250 feet of a climb, and the woods look less thick from that direction too.


As for the pipelines, it appears that WV is a natural gas mecca, so that is probably what they are for. The part of the pipeline coming up the knob from the east and then turning north is old, as it is visible in the 1935 topo map of the area. Since HOLMES was found in 1944, and since 1935 another line joined that one from the west, THAT may be the pipeline that destroyed the mark. However, there is still a good chance it remains.


1) Good idea.


2) Take a compass too. I never rely on the compass in my Garmin GPS60C, even though it is supposed to be a magnetic compass. Every time I have counted on it it has pretty much failed me. It has behavioral problems. Make sure you have converted meters to feet too, or are prepared to do so on top of the mountain, so you can measure the distances from the reference marks. A hint--I usually try to pace the distances first, especially in the woods. Measuring can be difficult with trees and bushes in the way. Only when I fail in my pacing do I get out the tape. RM1 is 51.41 feet (15.670 m) from the station at 43 degrees 12 minutes TRUE north, so add your declination of 7.3 degrees to it. RM2 is 54.6 feet (16.641 m) at 246.34 degrees true north. Find either one and you can pace or tape back to the station area.

Take a small shovel and a small brush. I have a folding camp shovel for serious digging and a cheap plastic trowel for scraping dirt and moss off of rocks. Then I use the brush to clean up the surface to make sure I see what I think I am seeing.


3) Yep on both accounts. Unlike Bill93, I never let my GPSr average, and I usually pay the price by wandering about for a while!


4) The surface mark, as you know by now, is the one to find. It should be a great adventure. I love these marks--they have all been my "favorites". I imagine the first party that set the station and then spent days or even weeks there doing triangulation to nearby stations, living in tents and hunting for food, as well as the man who chiseled the marks in the rock, most likely shaped from a nearby stone and not carried to the location.

If you find the bottle, yes, take it! You can leave it for the next guy, but if you say you left it there you can watch as a bunch of us race to be "the next guy" and grab it. Who else here wants to own an underground mark? And as for it being too big, read my story about KW2987. The folks at work got a good laugh out of that little trip. The stone sits proudly in my office and will soon be part of the NGS's 200th anniversary display.


You should be able to find at least ONE of the many marks up there. There are two disks to search for, two old reference stones that existed in 1944, one reference stone that was found broken off in 1939, and one that isn't really mentioned. Those might be gone, or they might be lying there broken off (and ripe for the taking. If you get two, give me one?).


Good luck on the azimuth. I just spent over an hour looking at maps and measuring and I came up with the following coordinates, based on the direction from the datasheet and what looks like a path on the topo map: 38°25'5.79"N 81°35'58.10"W. So much has changed that it is very hard to follow the to reach description for the mark or azimuth.


Let us know how it goes.

Link to post

Hi frex3wv -


It's difficult to tell without 3D pictures, but it does look like you have found part or parts of 6-inch square stone post(s).


Since you have found 2 reference marks, the exact (to within an inch or so) location of the station can be found by measuring from them with these measurements from the box score:



The location of the station will be at the correct intersection of these distances.

Mathematically, there are 2 such intersections of the specified distances from RM1 and RM2. Use a general compass direction to find the correct intersecion which should be more or less SW of RM1 and NE of RM2.


Concentrate your search at that intersection, probing the ground for remains of the station post.


At this point, it's a not found, unless you have already found one of the things you pictured to be at the correct intersection.

Link to post

go here to read and see how things went. Please post bck here about what you think I found. THANKS!



I would go back and:

1) measure exact distances as BDT said. The arrows on the RM disks should narrow it down. You may have to clear some brush but you want to have your steel tape taut. get a friend to hold the other end, or if there is some soft stuff in those iron pipes holding the RM's stick a screwdriver in to hold the end of the tape at the RM and stretch that tape as tight as you can. Best to do two tapes at once. That's how I found Hook Mt 2 (LX4165). If you end up somewhere not at that rock, start probing.


2) If that's the right rock in the picture, scrape that moss away (sorry moss). That inscription should be there if you have the right rock. I've seen inscriptions quite a bit older than that.


Good luck. You'll get it.

Link to post

Thanks for the responses.


I DID measure - and ref. mark 1 was 58+ feet from what I believe to be the station mark.


The stone reference mark was 6 feet from the alleged station mark. another good indication I found the right stone.


I got rid of all the moss I could on all the stones - and there were no carvings visible - but we ARE talking over 100 years!.


As you can see though - with my gps on what I believe to be the station mark, I have readings down to 5 ft. THAT is pretty conclusive!

Edited by frex3wv
Link to post
I got rid of all the moss I could on all the stones - and there were no carvings visible - but we ARE talking over 100 years!.

you'd be surprised how durable stone chiseling can be. And besides it was reported to be in good shape in 1944.


Here a mark that is 107 years old, next to the Hudson River where you would get both salt water and ice erosion LX4183 "WEST"



(click for larger image)


And here's an inscription that is an astounding 234 years old (1773)! KU4062 "BOUNDARY LINE NJ NY"



(click for larger image)


You will see the word "LATITUDE" and beneath that "New Jersey" (the "sey" is hard to see). I enhanced the contrast with some baby powder. Others use cornstarch. Otherwise you would probably miss this.


As you can see though - with my gps on what I believe to be the station mark, I have readings down to 5 ft. THAT is pretty conclusive!

I would use the word "indicative" not "conclusive". Consumer level GPS units have a limit in accuracy of 10 meters and at best (with no trees, 7 or more satellites, and functioning WAAS) 3 m. So your real position could be many feet away. People love to argue about GPS accuracy and I don't want to go there, but suffice it to say that to really pin point a location you need a surveyor's grade unit.


Remember, you may have the right general location but the real station maybe a foot or two to one side or the other, an inch or two under ground.


I would reitterrate what I said above: try to get simultaneous measurements from both RMs and get it to sub-foot accuracy. The fact that you found both RMs is a major plus, and using them you may find this thing when you go back. The RMs are a much better means to find it than the GPS reading.


My instinct tells me the mark is there somewhere, inscription and all. (I'm just jealous it's out of my travel range :unsure: )

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC
Link to post

Alittle more info:


The stones I found all were simply lying on the ground - there was no below surface thing going on.


The 3 rocks pictured were the only rocks up there in that area ( i searched best I could with all the growth - especially because I wanted to find the old underground mark - which I never did - which makes me womder if they left it or packed it out).


What I believe to be a ref. mark was about 2 m from what I thought the station mark was - and that is keeping with the original description.


Without a second person - I doubt I could have done the measuring with any accuracy from the disks found - so I may have to hike back up there - maybe winter time would be best.

Link to post

What you seem to think is the station mark looks a little bit less than square. I don't know if it is within the standards of the day to call it square or not.


You have to find the lettering to be certain of the correct stone.


Your picture 16 looks like it has an arrow pointing to the lower right from the upper left. Could this be one of the stone reference marks?

Link to post

It may be my imagination but I see various things chiseled in those stones. On the first one (the square one, especially in pic. 9) I think there is an "S" in the upper right corner. I'd love to see a high resolution version of that photo. The rectangular one may indeed have an arrow across it.


I enlarged pic. 9 and enhanced the contrast and it really looks like an "S" there. It's about 1.5 " wide and 2 " high centered in the upper right of the stone.


Anyone else see that?


frex3wv: did you happen to measure that from the RM disks. You show in pic. 10, a measurement of 14'3" from something. What is that measured from? What direction?


Oops, that rule is either metric or tenths of a foot. The various numbers on it are confusing. Theres "12 FT" in red on the right of 14.3 and the lower scale bears no relation to the top. Then the little numbers on the top may be feet and inches. What's it all mean?

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC
Link to post

frex3wv -


You've got quite a project on your hands with this one!


Here is what I would suggest at this point.

  1. You've got to use the 2 reference marks and the 2 distances (and general direction) in the box score to find the location of the HOLMES RESET station even if there is no surface rock there. If you are by yourself, then get a rock, arrange your tape so that the 1 foot or 1 meter mark is in the center of a RM disk and put the rock on top of it to hold it. Then measure in the directoin of the arrow on the RM disk, remembering to add 1 foot or 1 meter as appropriate. (A nice kind of tape is the kind with a loop on the end and then you can put a wire stake in the loop for an approximate measurement, staking it down next to the RM disk.) Mark the ground at the correct distance from the first RM you use. Then measure from the other RM toward your first mark. It probably won't quite match up, but keep measuring back and forth until you have a mark on the ground (like a small rock) that is at the exact distance from both RMs as specified in the box score.
  2. Scrape away all the leaves and stuff, leaving bare ground where the HOLMES RESET location is, according to your taping.
  3. Probe this place with a wire probe, dandelion digger, or whatever, to see if there's some remains of the post. Remember that the post was originally 30 inches long! It was reset in 1944 "THE OLD SURFACE STONE WAS PLACED DIRECTLY OVER THE DISK. IT PROJECTS ABOUT 3 INCHES". It is likely that the top 3 inches or even more was broken off, but, several inches of the original 30 inches are likely still mounted vertically in the ground at the correct location! It is unlikely that the station stone was broken off exactly at ground level. The 1934 recovery says the N reference stone (all the reference stones were 30 inches long too, by the way) was broken off 2 inches below the surface. The 1939 recovery note says it was broken off 4 inches below ground. There may be an infill going on at this location. In any case, you may have to dig a few inches to find where the HOLMES RESET 30 inch stone was broken off. It will be 6 inches square, of course. (Remember to bring a trowel to dig with.)

Note that you should not try to dig all the way down 3 feet to the underground disk placed in 1944. If it were me, I'd give up after a foot deep or even less.


It is correct to leave your log as a Note until you go back. After you go back and do the above 3 things, then:

  • If you find the remains of the stone post in the correct location of HOLMES RESET according to your measurements and the remains are still mounted vertically in the ground, even if below surface, then you can log a Found It. Before you re-bury the mark, it might be good to put a piece of iron or steel on the remains of the stone post and state that in your NGS log so that a surveyor could use a detector to help recover the mark.
  • If you can't find the remains of HOLMES RESET still mounted in the ground as described above, then you should log Didn't Find It, even if you find the chiseled cross on a broken off part lying on the ground nearby.
  • I think that, since there is an underground mark, you can't really log Destroyed even if you find the chiseled cross on a stone nearby. I think this is the case, but if you're going to do all this search, then you should report your findings to Deb at the NGS.

If you're not exhausted after all this careful measuring and digging, you could try to find the remains of the 30-inch original reference posts too, just for fun. ;)

I assume they were mounted N, E, W, and S based on True North, not Magnetic North.

Link to post

one and all - thanks for all the post hunt remarks - if others haven't commented yet - please do so ifv you get a chance.


I have to say - like I mentioned before I went - I DO feel like I am in way over my head - as you all are so much more knowlegeable about all this stuff.


When I was up on that hill I felt pretty good about what I had found ( and I guess the discovery of the 1944 reset disks were a minimal success - and man where they in great shape - not weathered in the least - that was pretty cool!), but looking back on the effort - it IS clear I will have to hike this one again - eeesh! Anxious as i am to go back and figure this out - I still think fall might be better based on how much weed growth is up there. Mind you I did do alot of searching through it - but I am sure there were things I could have missed - like that original underground bottle that I hope they left due to the length of the hike back out.


I do have a few more things written down at home - so will post again this evening.

Link to post

I like to do things in the easiest way possible. I would suggest that you take along some strings or cords that are longer than the given distances for the reference marks. Stretch each one out along the arrow of the reference mark disks in the directions that the arrows point. Where the 2 strings cross is where I'd start probing. This spot should be matching very closely to what your GPSr says is the correct position. I use a long screwdriver for probing, since it has a good handle and makes it easy to "feel" what you're hitting.


As to finding the bottle in the concrete, our guess is that one of the surveyors would probably have taken such a prize home to add to their personal collection of rare benchmark types.


Be sure to take along a stiff nylon bristled brush to help clean off the rocks to reveal what is below the build-up. A small amount of cornstarch will enhance the picture quality of the markings making it easier to read them.


Waiting for the weeds to die off will definitely make it easier to search the area, it just means more ground cover to move when you actually find the correct stones.


Good picture of the turtle/tortoise.



Link to post

John - thanks for the response - I do need a way to clean off the stones after I measure better - as man y have suggested - can folks tell me cheap things they use/where to get them. How does the cornstarch process work/what are others onsite techniques for finding these chisle marks - and is there any etiquette I am missing about all this? (sorry so many questions - maybe one day - I will be able to answer other newbies on here - but I still have tons to learn from y'all - as you can see).

Link to post

It would be OK to use the an extended convergence of the reference marks' arrows to do some quick and lucky probing but if it comes to digging then I would suggest not basing your place to dig on either the extended convergence of arrows or your GPS receiver.


The alignment of string on arrows can lead to errors of a few degrees and at a distance of 15 meters that can amount to 4 or 5 feet of error. As we have seen before in the forum, the arrows' directions are not all that accurate. Even worse, the GPS receiver is only accurate to an area of 10 or 15 feet in diameter.


In either case, when confronted with the alternative of digging up 25 or 100 square feet of area or digging up something like 8 or 10 square inches of area, I would choose the latter and carefully tape the distances from the reference marks.


There are 2 points where the distances will intersect, of course. You will need to either use the directions of the arrows on the reference marks or a true-north adjusted compass to pick which intersection of the distances is where the station is supposed to be.

Link to post

The cornstarch method involves blowing or fanning the cornstarch covered area in hopes that the cornstarch will remain only in any indented marks and not the rest.


Another idea is to use a mirror or piece of white paper to try to reflect the sun to make a sidelighting that will put any indented marks in a shadow.

Link to post

Something that I would find very helpful is to make a sketch to scale of the area.


You have 7 known points: station, 2 RMs and 4 "reference rocks". It appears the North and South rock were lost by 1944, but put them in the sketch anyway.


Put the station in the middle and the 4 rocks (between 2.04 and 2.12 m) about 7 feet north, south east and west. Then put the 2 RMs in: RM 1 is 43 degrees (almost exactly NE) 51' 5" and RM2 at 246 deg (about 15 degrees north of SW) 54' 7".


Your picture will have the 5 inner marks forming a cross about 14 feet x 14 feet and the 2 RMs almost opposite each other but more than 7 times further out. Visualize the picture and when you get back there, get a general idea of where everything is. Make sure you can stand about the right place, face north and know off to your right is a rock, off to the left is another rock, in front of you there used to be a rock and way out towards the right is RM1. Turn around and do the same.


Now get your brush cutter and portable saw and clear a path between to the two RMs so your tape can go straight as an arrow. The distances from the 2 RMs are by far the most accurate information you can measure. With great care you can measure them to within a few inches. For degrees, forget it. If you can measure with a compass corrected for true north you will be lucky to get withing a few degrees.


Walk from RM1 to RM2 and turn slightly to the right near the middle. Do it in reverse. See if the rocks are 7 feet east and 7 feet west. If the rocks are there in the right places you should be able to stand between them. If they have moved, you obviously can't. Now get the tape and really measure carefully. Bring two tapes. Hold tape 1 at the 51'5" point and tape 2 at the 54'7" point and hold those two points together and stretch the tapes. You should be able to stand on the spot you get and see the east and the west stones.


Now probe, dig, probe dig. etc.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC
Link to post

I made a sketch of what I think the area looks like, the various marks and the distances to each.




The center square is of course HOLMES RESET. The outer four diamonds are the reference stones, if they exist. The description says they have diagonal cut lines with arrows pointing towards the station, so I am assuming they are set the way they are drawn. I put the distance to each reference stone and disk on the drawing, in meters and feet. The drawing is not to scale at all, but I tried to give the impression of the various distances and directions. The distances to RM1 and RM2 are short because I ran out of paper. The directions should be close enough to refer to and to get an idea how the area is laid out. Some folks here do a drawing like this. I have never done it before but when I am at a site I do it in my head, so the end result is the same. I just wanted to get one printed here so we could discuss it with a visual.


Also in the drawing is what I think the station and reference marks might look like. I am not sure where the lettering would be on the main station. On all marks from this era I have seen it has been on the side, but there is enough variation that it might be on top also.


I think there are a lot of good ideas here and I would use many of them. Here is how I would do it...


I always approach a tri-station with the intention of tripping right over the station. If my GPSr is behaving that can sometimes happen. More often, the station is under dirt or leaves so I have to rely on my cunning and wit.


Once I get to the general area I would get my bearings--where is north, what direction are the two RMs, etc? Then I would look around to see if anything looks obvious. For instance, where is the exact highest point of the ridge? Unless otherwise stated that is where I expect the mark to be, especially such old marks. When looking for HOLMES I would look for square stones. There were once 5 of them, and by the description I would hope for 3 or 4. I'd expect all 5 of the original marks to be 6 x 6 inches and to be fairly noticeable. As you have seen, that assumption might be wrong. Failing to find the stones, I would look for the RMs.


Once I found a reference mark I would immediately pace the distance back in the direction of the arrow to the station area, hoping that it will be more noticeable when I got there. My pace is a fairly reliable 2.5 feet, so I count on it. Failing that, I would tape the distance. Unlike others, I only carry one tape, so I spend a lot of time pinning the tape, running it, reeling it, and repeating that process over and over. When I got to the distance on the datasheet I would once again hope to see the station staring at me. When that didn't happen, I would get out the compass, compensate for the declination, and sight back towards the reference mark, shifting my location until the compass reads the proper angle. Again, I'd look for the station.


If I saw something I knew was the main mark I would begin looking for all the other marks in the area. If I still didn't find it I would do the same measurements at the second reference mark.


Any suspect stone would be mentally cataloged, either as a possible reference stone, or possibly the station. Once I taped the distance to both RMs I would expect to be within a couple of feet of the station. If I still hadn't found the station stone I would beef up my efforts to find one or more reference stones. Finding any of those would help me dig for the station mark.


Any suspect stone would have the moss scraped off the top of it. If I hadn't counted on moss I would be caught without anything good to clean it off with, but I carry a cheap plastic shovel that would do the trick, plus my usual cleaning brush. By holding the brush at the base of the bristles I could make them much more stiff and hopefully scrape moss off the stone(s). Any of the remaining reference stones should have remnants of their carvings, including, hopefully, the arrow. Once you find an arrow, I could tape from that stone to where the station mark is (was). The distance is center to center by the way.


After finding everything I could, I would look for broken bits and pieces--the original underground mark, the broken reference stone, anything that wasn't where it belonged might still be in the area. Few people would know what a rock with an arrow was for, much less want one for a doorstop, so chances are whatever once was there still is. To me that includes the underground mark. I just don't believe that a surveyor would want a huge dirty souvenir like that. It wouldn't be worth it. Nobody bothered to take home KV2987 WHITE HORSE when it was removed and I am sure they wouldn't have had to pack it out on their backs like I did--at least not 3 miles of packing. So there it sat, 3 feet from the new mark.


Your thought of waiting until winter is a good one. I have discovered that good hunting starts again in November here, when the weeds are totally dead and have started to fall over. It gets better and better through the winter, especially if we have a couple of good snows that bend the weeds over and pack them down. The best hunting for me has been in February through April, any day that the temperature is decent and the winds are low. Something that is impossible to find in August will be painfully visible in February when the undergrowth is gone. At that time all the green in your picture will be gone and you will be amazed how far you can see and what you can find in seconds, as opposed to poking and prodding for hours.


By the way, I would be willing to bet that the rock you measured 58+ feet from RM1 to is either the west reference stone or the south one. More likely the west one, since the 1944 recovery doesn't mention the south one. However, the description of the south stone fits the 1934 recovery in that it has the corners chipped off. If you think it is the west one, measure 2 meters east, if that doesn't work measure 2 meters north.


Finally, ALL these stones should be set into the ground. Hard. So they can't be moved. Any that move are either NOT the stones you are looking for, or are, and have been knocked loose. All of them will be 6 x 6 squares, or close to that.


The oblong rock you showed...ohhh wait! Is that stone loose? If so, it might be one of the marks knocked loose. Looking at your pics of it, the top would be to the right--the left side is uneven as if it has broken off. Which brings up one more "finally". Roll all stones you find over and look at all sides. If they are unnaturally squarish then they might be something you want to look at closely.


Now go get 'em! If you were ANY closer I would be heading down that way.

Link to post

Good suggestions Matt and great sketch.


The only thing I would say is my mental picture of the station is the letters and the cross were all on the top, like this


U	   S

C   G   S

or maybe

U	   S

C   G   S


I seem to recall seeing this sort of thing in a few photos of older stations over the last few years. That's why I was very interested in what looked like a big "S" in the upper right of picture 9. (No one else seemed too impressed by that.)

Link to post



I agree at least in part. After I made that post I found this, which confirms that the lettering is on the top of the stone. However, I would expect the US to be within the top V of the X, and the CGS to be in the bottom V. I could be wrong on that though.


Also take note of p 34 of the C&GS 1882 Annual (59/612) which tells of how HOLMES was first used when it was originally set.

Link to post

Still reading over everyone's posts (there is alot there - thanks!) and all I keep thinking is how I found no markings on these 3 rocks while I was up there. I even made a mental note that that was the case. The large rock I found had what looked to be markings - but I found that after I turned it over!


I know Papa thinks there IS a carving - I just don't see it - and certainly didn't while I was onsite. But if someone better able to see it - does - well then who am I to argue!


Alittle puzzled at the "30" part of the stone description - that means it was 30 inches anchored in the ground? Did they bring stones - or find what is laying around and chissel it till they are all uniform (for this station mark area anyway).


By the way - I looked at the few notes I wrote while up on the hill and that large rock measured 12x12. That is why I dismissed it as important - however - with so few rocks up there - it seems strange its there.


The 2 other stones I found - they were unnaturally shaped (square, etc).


It will be difficult not to visit there again for awhile - but I guess it will give me time to get all I need to pack in to do it right the second visit. Whooo - there is alot to learn. I'm trying though

Link to post

frex3wv -


Imagine a 6"x6" piece of wood that's 30 inches long, like part of a fencepost or a gatepost. Then imagine it being made of stone instead of wood. That's what they used for the station mark HOMES RESET and it 4 original reference stones. They'd dig a hole over 2 feet deep and put the stone in there, vertically and bury it so that only the top few inches remained. The main station of course was 3 feet down, so they buried it some, and then put the 30 inch stone above it, vertically, and buried that so that only a few inches were above the surface. Later on, say 1955, some lunatic (or some really bad winters, or some farm or logging equpment) breaks off all the stones at the surface and leaves them lying around.


I assume all the stones you found so far are loose on the ground.


If the top few inches of the main station stone is broken off, that's not totally destroyed. The top of the rest of the stone can be exposed by digging and still used for some kinds of survey work.

Link to post

I don't recall where you said the 12x12 inch rock was, but it is vaguely possible that it was put there after the HOLMES RESET was broken off and the remains of the station (like maybe 25 inches long 6"x6" mounted vertically) is directly under it, maybe under a couple inches of dirt.


The 6"x6"x30" stones were no doubt manufactured (quarried and dressed) somewhere far away (perhaps even England) and taken there by the survey party. Here is a survey stone that's bigger - 16 inches square and projecting 47 inches (probably a lot longer underground). Here is another stone that is one of a set of such stones 12" by 12" by 40" (only the top 25 inches is above the surface).

Link to post

John - thanks for the response - I do need a way to clean off the stones after I measure better - as man y have suggested - can folks tell me cheap things they use/where to get them. How does the cornstarch process work/what are others onsite techniques for finding these chisle marks - and is there any etiquette I am missing about all this? (sorry so many questions - maybe one day - I will be able to answer other newbies on here - but I still have tons to learn from y'all - as you can see).


Everyone has their way of doing things that work for them. Take the cornstarch for instance, I sprinkle some on and then gently wipe off the excess. A light pressure when wiping will press some of the cornstarch into the openings and reveal what is there.


I suggested using the strings as a prelude to measuring and not as a replacement. If you have a long probe then you can save yourself a lot of digging.


The first thing I would do upon arrival at the given coordinates is stop and look - really look - at what is in the immediate area. Look at the growth pattern of the plants, look at the rocks that are there, look at their texture, do they look like the other rocks that you saw on the way there?


If you spend the time looking at what is there and what should be there but isn't, you can eliminate many possibilities.


When it comes to measuring the distances for the reference mark disks, the first thing I'd do is use the GPSr if you're getting a decent signal from the sats. Go to RM1 and set a waypoint. Have your GPSr set to true north. Move off in the direction of the station mark. Do a goto for the waypoint you just set. Watch the GPSr and when it says you need to go 52 feet bearing 43° put a mark on the ground. Now go to RM2 and set a waypoint for it. Head towards the station mark and do a goto for it (RM2). When the GPSr says that you need to go 55 feet bearing 246° make another mark on the ground. These 2 mark should be close together. This is where you start probing with your Long Screwdriver. If it doesn't go into the ground very far after several tries, then it's time to start moving some dirt to see what is actually there. When probing keep each probe about 3 inches from the previous one and work in a systematic pattern, back and forth.


After finding the stone, a good hand/fingernail cleaning brush should work just fine for removing moss and dirt debris. Use a rag to wipe the stone off before using the cornstarch.


Patience is needed for these things and will save a lot of unnecessary labor.


Good luck,



Link to post

These may or may not be contemporary with this mark but here are a couple pictures of what the marks you're looking for might look somewhat like:

This one is a south meridian (s.m.) mark stamped in concrete. (It looks more like carved in stone to me.)



This one doesn't have a diagonal cross but is a reference mark arrow(head) carved in stone (with a quarter for scale).


Link to post

Some random thoughts and ramblings.


I totally agree with John and Shirley (2oldfarts)--stop and take a good hard look at the area and get your bearings. I almost always do it--sometimes right away like I should, sometimes after I get stuck and need to step back and look at the situation differently--but it always helps.


I pictured your hill as being rock strewn, so I must have been channeling Pennsylvania hilltops, which tend to look like this.


When I look for a station in a stone I have to look at hundreds of stones or figure out which are the better choices.


I doubt the stones were truly "dressed" stones. When I think dressed stone I think of a finely shaped stone, with sharp edges, for use in a building or monument. All the stones I have seen so far have been roughly shaped. Some may have been done at the station site by the looks of them (MONTOUR and WHITE HORSE most certainly were. They are very rough stones that are not even squared off. BARRY 1885 may or may not have been. It is much more square). From Elements of Precise Surveying and Geodesy by Mansfield Merriman:

The stations are marked by bolts set into the rock, or by

stone monuments set in the ground. In the latter case it is

customary to bury beneath the monument a bottle or crock

whose center marks the center of the station. When this is

done the knowledge of the bottle or crock should be con-

cealed from the people of the neighborhood, and it should be

covered with a large flat stone having a hole drilled in its

upper surface. The bottom of this flat stone should be about

six inches above the crock, its top about three feet below the

surface of the ground, and upon it the foot of the monument

may be set. The centers of the underground mark, of the

hole in the flat stone, and of the top of the monument should

be in the same vertical. Near the top of the monument

'* ' U. S. " or other appropriate letters should be cut. Detailed

instructions regarding the methods of marking stations may

be found in the Reports above cited.

When I looked at the 1882 report cited in the Merriman text I found the following:

The stone pillars or posts are from 4 to 6 inches square, and vary in length from 24 to 30 inches; the blocks or monuments from 8 to 24 inches square, and from 18 to 20 in depth, and in all cases sunk nearly level with the ground. The usual cross-lines to define the actual center are drawn on these as well as on the bolts, and the letters U. S. C. & G. S. in some cases cut upon the stone.
This came from a report called Field Work of the Triangulation by Richard D Cutts, originally done in 1868 and reprinted in this edition with modifications.


It just goes to show that you can expect just about anything when looking for tri-stations!

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...