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89SC

Question about chiseled square

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I thought I could get two together on this stop.

 

JX0258

1/1/1943 by CGS (MONUMENTED)

DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1943 2.6 MI W FROM LONG RUN. 2.6 MILES WEST ALONG THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD FROM THE STATION AT LONG RUN, DODDRIDGE COUNTY, 60 FEET WEST OF MILEPOST P 60-B 324, AT BRIDGE 18, IN THE TOP OF THE SOUTH WALL, 3.5 FEET WEST OF THE EAST END, 10.0 FEET SOUTH OF THE CENTERLINE OF THE TRACK, AND 1 FOOT LOWER THAN THE TRACK. A STANDARD DISK.

 

JX0257

1/1/1943 by NGS (GOOD)

DESCRIBED BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1943 2.6 MI W FROM LONG RUN. 2.6 MILES WEST ALONG THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD FROM THE STATION AT LONG RUN, DODDRIDGE COUNTY, 57 FEET WEST OF MILEPOST P 60-B 324, AT BRIDGE 18, ON THE TOP OF THE EAST END OF THE SOUTH WALL, 10.5 FEET SOUTH OF THE CENTERLINE OF THE TRACK, 3 FEET EAST OF BENCH MARK Y 80, AND 1 FOOT LOWER THAN THE TRACK. THE SURFACE WITHIN AN OUTLINED SQUARE ON CONCRETE HEADWALL.

 

According to the description, JX0257 is a chiseled square on top of the headwall 3' east of the JX0258 disc. JX0258 is 3.5' from the east end of the headwall. All I could find is a straight line in the concrete from the end of the headwall heading toward the disc. I didn't see an outline of a square. It was reported good in 1983. Here are some pictures:

 

Looking east:

mark1.jpg

 

Looking west:

mark2.jpg

 

Is this the mark? It was getting dark and I was reaching through an electric fence to clean off the surface and get pictures.

Edited by 89SC

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I don't think the line you indicated is the chiseled square (or part of it). I would have cleaned off the plant and old plant material, if possible. Electric fence... Ouch! Be careful! The square could be under that plant. Assuming that direction is east.

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East is toward the railbed and I cleaned that corner off and didn't find anything. I need to go back in better light and find a way across the fence. The railway was abandoned and is now a railtrail and has State Park signs on it. A farmer has run an electric fence across the bridge which keeps you from getting to the abutments.

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Any chance that the straight line is really rebar that has become exposed? If that is the case, the chiseled square may be long gone. since the surface would have weathered off.

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It looks like a cut made by a saw. It's a very clean cut. With the railroad being converted to railtrails, you win some and lose some. It's now legal to look for the marks but some have been destroyed or buried. On the other hand, I've found some on bridges that were logged as not found by the NGS because they were covered with a tie at the time and the ties have been removed.

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It has to be out near the edge, if the disk is 10.0 feet from the centerline, and the square is 10.5 feet from it. It might be right at the corner, or somewhere under the black cable.

 

At any rate, the long cut mark wouldn't be the chiseled square.

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I expected it to be on the corner since that's where I've found them before. The corner is weathered badly, it's probably no longer there. I'll check again when I'm out that way.

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A chiseled square is a quick and dirty method to create a mark in concrete. It's normally fairly small. About 1.5" square.

 

If the benchmark is the corect ion, then from the photo's it looks like the headwall was taken out and the square along with it.

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It's definately the Y 80 benchmark. It's in very good shape. The old railroad bridge is unusual. It's very small, more of a culvert. It doesn't have wingwalls, the concrete angles down from the top. Here's a picture from farther back:

 

Y80setting.jpg

 

I was going to go back out today but our "cloudy with a few showers" has turned into a downpour.

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It doesn't look like there is to much deterioration of the concrete because it looks like the disk is at the same elevation as the area where the chiseled square is supposed to be located. It could be under the leaves on the edge of the concrete. That looks like it's about 6 inches further north of the tracks.

 

Dave

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The square is 3 feet from the disk and 6 inches farther from the track. The 1940s description says it is on the EAST END of the SOUTH WALL, so I would guess it is along the side and not the corner, but I wouldn't rule out the corner.

Here is how I would approach it:

 

165daa83-5c81-4293-821e-a9bfa907767e.jpg

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Both are the same distance from the tracks:

 

JX0257

Designation: 812.0 USGS

Marker Type: chiseled square

Setting: massive structures

Stability: Probably hold position/elevation well.

 

1/1/1983 by NGS (GOOD)

RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1983 RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION, NEW DESCRIPTION FOLLOWS. 3.9 KM (2.4 MI) EAST ALONG THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD FROM THE RAILROAD STATION IN SMITHBURG TO THE MARK ON THE RIGHT, AT BRIDGE 18, IN TOP OF THE SOUTH WALL, 3.0 METERS (10.0 FT) SOUTH OF THE CENTER OF THE TRACKS, 0.91 METER (3.0 FT) EAST OF BENCH MARK Y 80. THE MARK IS 0.60 M BELOW RAILROAD.

 

JX0258

Designation: Y 80

Marker Type: bench mark disk

Setting: massive structures

Stability: Probably hold position/elevation well.

 

1/1/1983 by NGS (GOOD)

RECOVERY NOTE BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1983 RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION, NEW DESCRIPTION FOLLOWS. 3.9 KM (2.4 MI) EAST ALONG THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD FROM THE RAILROAD STATION IN SMITHBURG TO THE MARK ON THE RIGHT, AT BRIDGE 18, IN TOP OF THE SOUTH WALL, 3.0 METERS (10.0 FT) SOUTH OF THE CENTER OF THE TRACK. THE MARK IS 0.60 M BELOW RAILROAD.

The square is 3 feet from the disk and 6 inches farther from the track. The 1940s description says it is on the EAST END of the SOUTH WALL, so I would guess it is along the side and not the corner, but I wouldn't rule out the corner.

Here is how I would approach it:

 

165daa83-5c81-4293-821e-a9bfa907767e.jpg

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JX0258

1/1/1943 by CGS (MONUMENTED)

DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1943 2.6 MI W FROM LONG RUN. 2.6 MILES WEST ALONG THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD FROM THE STATION AT LONG RUN, DODDRIDGE COUNTY, 60 FEET WEST OF MILEPOST P 60-B 324, AT BRIDGE 18, IN THE TOP OF THE SOUTH WALL, 3.5 FEET WEST OF THE EAST END, 10.0 FEET SOUTH OF THE CENTERLINE OF THE TRACK, AND 1 FOOT LOWER THAN THE TRACK. A STANDARD DISK.

 

JX0257

1/1/1943 by NGS (GOOD)

DESCRIBED BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1943 2.6 MI W FROM LONG RUN. 2.6 MILES WEST ALONG THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD FROM THE STATION AT LONG RUN, DODDRIDGE COUNTY, 57 FEET WEST OF MILEPOST P 60-B 324, AT BRIDGE 18, ON THE TOP OF THE EAST END OF THE SOUTH WALL, 10.5 FEET SOUTH OF THE CENTERLINE OF THE TRACK, 3 FEET EAST OF BENCH MARK Y 80, AND 1 FOOT LOWER THAN THE TRACK. THE SURFACE WITHIN AN OUTLINED SQUARE ON CONCRETE HEADWALL.

 

In 1943 they were 6 inches different.

 

My finely detailed drawing was just a map of how I would approach hunting for the mark if I had to measure. In actual practice I would just look at the headwall for a chiseled square.

 

I retract my earlier statement about it being at the edge of the headwall--If Y 80 is 3.5 feet from the edge and the square is 3 feet from Y80, then the square is 6 inches in from the edge of the wall.

 

Using technology previous available only to CSI investigators I have an enhanced image of the mark. It is exactly centered in the orange box:

 

90e18a6e-bd9d-466f-9265-77c2a7064d7b.jpg

 

Actually, what I did was play with Irfanview's image enhancement capabilities, which are pretty limited, but when I reversed the image I thought I saw the chiseled square. Of course that may have been just my DESIRE to see it, but here is an animated GIF showing what I believe to be the chiseled square.

 

anim_dbe61912-726c-89b4-e155-22c2f2fc853f.gif

 

Once you look at the bottom pic, return to the first one and see if you can see what I saw. The only glitch is that the square is parallel to the deep saw line, which is pretty noticeably NOT parallel to the sides of the headwall!

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As described by Renegade, chiseled squares are used by surveyors to quickly, and distinctly, identify a leveling point. They are generally about the size of the foot of a leveling rod; about 1.5"-2" square. They are most often found on the edge of a concrete setting, with the edge of the concrete being one of the sides of the square. Of the squares I've set, used, or otherwise found, only one, GU0640, was in the middle of the concrete.

 

GU0640

95101577-S.jpg

Big Pic

 

GU1061

89731163-S.jpg

Big Pic

 

Chiseled square & cross on an irrigation well footing

94615676-S.jpg

Big Pic

 

- Kewaneh

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Gee that is some pretty slick work with the digital enhancement software (your wisecrack about the 'CSI' technique hit our funnybone here at work in the sign shop - we get asked all the time to make silk purse photo prints from worse than sow's ear condition original images - and clients say "I saw them just push a button on the computer on TV - don't you have that software?" LOL!). However, it still comes down to carefully reading the logs for those physical measurements & descriptions, doesn't it? Thanks for the good technique demonstration, mloser!

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Gee that is some pretty slick work with the digital enhancement software ...

When those images popped up on my screen, I thought I fried my graphics card...

- Kewaneh

Edited by Kewaneh & Shark

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Kewaneh,

I have seen more than one chiseled square that was inset in a concrete (or stone) abutment, but I admit they are rare and my first thought was that this one would be at the edge. The description says different though, so I would at least consider it being a full square in the concrete. But, I would never think that it HAD to be inset, and if I was looking for it I would comb the entire end of the headwall for it, most likely without even seriously reading the description unless I turned up empty handed.

 

Northwes,

I agree about CSI image inhancement--it is laughable the way they take a fuzzy photo and "enhance" it and magically turn up a clear image of a license plate, etc. But maybe that is only available to the government? (I also love how they never turn on the lights at a crime site, preferring instead to muck around in the dark with just their pen sized Mag-Lite. How they find anything that way is beyond me).

 

My photo editor of choice is Irfanview, a very basic graphic editing program, available free to anyone willing to go to www.irfanview.com. I have used it for years to do basic image tasks. I have found the image changing portion of it can help make some parts of images more viewable. I first used it when I created my company's first web site years and years ago and have rarely had need for anything more powerful since then (I no longer do web image work).

 

The animated GIF was done with an online tool (at Glickr.com, I think). All I did was make two different images, one with the yellow box and one without. The tool combined them and put a 1 second delay in between.

 

Are you a full-service sign shop? I was IT manager for a company that had its own sign shop and I loved to play with the stuff they had there. I even got half decent at cutting and weeding! They had 2 Gerber Edge printers and two cutters, also Gerbers and the sign guys would let me use them whenever I wanted. I primarily made things for my daughter's various soccer teams. To be honest that is the only thing I miss about working there! Can I stop by your shop and play?

Edited by mloser

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Cool stuff everyone! Especially the photo work. I cleaned that area off the best I could with what I had while reaching through the electric fence. Hopefully the weather will be better this weekend. I'll go back with a brush and some other things to clean the concrete off. I've got to get to the other side of the fence. There is no way the property owner owns that bridge. Around here, when a rail line is converted to a rail trail, the railroad still owns the property and can reclaim it if needed. This particular rail trail is the North Bend Rail Trail and is 72 miles long and maintained by the State. I'm printing out the benchmarks that were along that railway. I've got a list of 14 that I haven't found between where I live and that bridge. I've already logged a few of the closer ones.

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I've been waiting all week to get back to this one. I got to the site and crawled under the electric fence to get a better view. That and more daylight was all I needed to spot the square near the corner. The concrete isn't in very good shape near the corner but the square is still visible. It is 6" farther from the center of the tracks than the disk like it says in the 1943 listing instead of the same distance as stated in the 1983 recovery. I put some water in the square to make it more visible in the setting shot.

 

The square:

 

square2.jpg

 

The setting:

 

JX0257setting.jpg

 

I was a good day, I made 8 finds along the old railroad. I also found a hole in a rock where a disk used to be.

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I've been waiting all week to get back to this one. I got to the site and crawled under the electric fence to get a better view. That and more daylight was all I needed to spot the square near the corner. The concrete isn't in very good shape near the corner but the square is still visible. It is 6" farther from the center of the tracks than the disk like it says in the 1943 listing instead of the same distance as stated in the 1983 recovery. I put some water in the square to make it more visible in the setting shot.

 

The square:

 

square2.jpg

 

The setting:

 

JX0257setting.jpg

 

I was a good day, I made 8 finds along the old railroad. I also found a hole in a rock where a disk used to be.

Let me be the first to congratulate you on your discovery. My earlier post was not a comment on mloser's fine drawings, but that you might also check out the 1983 NEW DESCRIPTION and search in that location. When you're wrong, you're wrong. Looks like they were wrong in '83. Happy hunting all.

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I've been waiting all week to get back to this one. I got to the site and crawled under the electric fence to get a better view. That and more daylight was all I needed to spot the square near the corner. The concrete isn't in very good shape near the corner but the square is still visible. It is 6" farther from the center of the tracks than the disk like it says in the 1943 listing instead of the same distance as stated in the 1983 recovery. I put some water in the square to make it more visible in the setting shot.

 

I was a good day, I made 8 finds along the old railroad. I also found a hole in a rock where a disk used to be.

89SC: Excellent job. Don't you love it when you work hard, get lots of suggestions and come up with a winner (even if its an old chiseled square).

 

If you log it with the NGS, I would suggest you identify the corner "i.e. square is on the southeast corner of the south wall" (or whatever it is) and of course give it's condition. From the looks of it it would seem like a doubtful mark for establishing vertical control. Occasionally I have put in a statement like "Mark is heavily eroded. Nearby station Y 80, located on the same wall, should probably used in lieu of this mark."

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Yeah, I hate DNFs whether it's caching or hunting benchmarks. I had plenty of DNFs today. One lost because of severly deteriorated concrete, one where the bridge was replaced, one missing disk and 6 I just couldn't find. The marks on the bridges and tunnels are still there but the ones along the tracks are hard to find. There has been lots of erosion on the hillsides since the 40's. I logged the square with the NGS and put pretty much what you said.

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Congrats there 89SC!

 

You have been formally recognized as a seasoned benchmarker...

having found the Holy Grail, (otherwise known as a chiseled square).

 

Perhaps, one fine day, I may be blessed to find one myself.

 

~ Mitch ~

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It's actually my second chiseled square but the first one was much easier, JX2330:

 

MR123LB.jpg

 

An engineering firm went up the Monongahela River and marked the benchmarks with blue paint.

Edited by 89SC

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