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The Epping Base Net of the Eastern Oblique Arc

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A year or two ago, I decided to specialize in my benchmark hunting. Until then I was assiduously finding every NGS mark in my home area (New York City)

and then for a good part of the 3 seasons (= not Winter) I'd find time to head to New England for some hiking and mountain climbing. Some of thse treks

took me to the Canadian boundary or across state boundary lines. So while I was at it, I would log such survey markers that I might find on a mountain

top, or such boundary monuments that I should find on GC and NGS - that is if the markers of monuments happened to be in the databases (which was not

always the case.

 

Then I thought, why not specialize and combine, and spend what free time I had for my several hobbies on hikes and climbs specifically planned to find

the maximum number of interesting markers on my treks. So instead of Peakbagging at times, and benchmark hunting at times (with the occasional overlap)

I would do Peak-benchmark bagging. As I told the on-line hiking group I belong to, instead of chasing another peak list (I had already done the popular ones) I

would pursue "Bugs, Benchmarks and Boundaries" (the bugs come gratis :laughing:)

 

Then in the summer of last year, as I was planning a trip to Maine and New Brunswick as a vacation with my wife, I read Holograph's excellent Wiki on the Eastern

Oblique Arc, EOA for short. This described the monumental project done by the Coast Survey from about 1830 to about 1900 which surveyed the entire East

Coast to an unprecedented level of accuracy. And in so doing, helped establish the "Figure of the Earth" (the exact shape of the earth's spheroid in

North America) which laid the foundations of modern datums. Pretty great stuff, of which I was totally ignorant until then.

 

Here's Holograph's Wiki: EOA Wiki.

 

And ... (drum role) ... many of the survey markers from the 1830s to the 18570s and beyond are still sitting there, waiting for someone to find them. So I obliged.

 

This is the fifth of a series of my reports on this forum of the progress of this quest along the EOA. Some of you may recall the earlier threads, but

I've linked them here in case you want to go back and check them out. They basically outline my recoveries, and non-recoveries with background material,

maps and photos included.

My vacation intersects the Eastern Oblique Arc October 1, 2007

The Eastern Oblique Arc crosses Massachusetts April 25, 2008

The Eastern Oblique Arc meets the Borden Survey July 28, 2008

The Eastern Oblique Arc in Western Maine and New Hampshire August 20, 2008

 

The Epping Base Line and Base Net

 

c96fc1e3-8016-42b9-922e-51ec93ec951a.jpg

(Click on the map for an inteactive Google map)

 

Put most simply, when you do a triangulation, you set up your stations (usually on mountain tops) and measure angles to other stations. Then you

determine the accuracy (basically you do each measurement many times and take averages and determine average errors) and solve the triangles using

the rules of geometry (remember from high school, the sum of the 3 angles of a triangle is 180 degrees), Then after taking into account the curved surface

of the earth and other errors, you end up with a series on interconnected triangles which span the area of your survey. This was a lot of computation in

pre-computer days and sometimes took months or years. But there are two things missing: the orientation of the triangles (which way is north) and the

scale (how big are the triangles.

 

Careful observations of the north star and other astronomical observations gets your the first, but for the second (how big are the triangles) you need to

physically measure the exact length of a side of one or more triangles, and thus set the scale for the whole survey.

 

This was easier said than done. The longest they could hope to measure a line was about 5 or 6 miles. Since many of the triangles had sides that were

sometimes 50 or 60 miles long (look at the map at the top of the thread - the line from Mt Desert to Cooper is about 92.87 kilometers = 57.70 miles, and

the longest line in New England, Mount Pleasant to Ragged Mountain (Maine) is 135.16 kilometers = 83.98 miles!), any small measurement error would

get multiplied by a huge factor. So they measured the "Baseline" (as it was called) carefully. And I mean very, very carefully. They used metal bars, in

this case 6 meters long and aligned them along a carefully laid out route. They compensated for temperature and inclination and height above sea level.

When they could, they used a straight stretch of a railroad (as was done in Massachusetts) , or along a beach (as was done in Long Island, NY). But as

we know, in Maine there are no beaches and the railroads don't go straight , so they found an area that was long and relatively flat. The blueberry

barrens of Cherryfield, Maine (the "Blueberry capitol of the world"; so says the sign) fit the bill and that was where they laid out the line. The area

was known as the Epping Plains or the Epping Blueberry Barrens and hence the name of the baseline. The distance was measured over 8 days in

July 1857, and the accuracy of the 5.4 mile line was calculated to be on the order of 1 part in 500,000. The final corrected measurement from 1857 was

8715.9422 m with a probable error of 0.0158 m. Recent GPS measurements actually confirm this impressive accuracy.

 

The Base Line as laid out and graded across the Epping Plains (from CGS S.P. No. 7)

4a7ce6c4-e203-400a-9791-61b352336244.jpg

 

Of all the baselines measured in the 19th century (of which there were a couple of dozen) by the Coast Survey this is the only one which still exists -

that is to say which has both ends still in existence and in good condition. In all other cases over 150 years of "progress" has obliterated most traces

of these early survey marks. I found one end of the Massachusetts baseline (See here), the other end is long lost. Both ends of the Long Island Baseline

(on Fire Island) are long gone. Thankfully, Maine is one state in the East where progress has not run amok (not yet anyway).

 

The "Base Net" is the system of stations around the base Line (Tunk, Burke and Pigeon) which serve to bridge the gap between the relatively short base

line and the primary triangulation, which tends to have very long lines. The mathematics was simplified by using this intermediate step. Due to the

limted resources for computations, it would be impossible to simply solve the many equations for the primary network plus the base line. So they first

solved the equations for the base net (56 equations - using 10 place logarithms), and then considered the quadrilateral surrounding the base net

(Cooper-Howard-Mt Desert-Humpback) as fixed, and used it to set the scale for the rest of the primary net in the area. Then of course they had to match

that up with the next section which had it's own baseline (Massachusetts), and on and on. The calculations involved which would probably take the

average PC minutes (assuming you had lots of memory) took literally years when done manually.

 

A posed picture of the placement of the measuring apparatus. Perhaps this is the very photo Bache referred to in the quote below (from CGS S.P. No. 7)

61b1964a-c922-42ca-a290-353c5c886905.jpg

 

Here are the primary sources of what they did. Luckily these reports, some over 150 years old, are on-line courtesy of NOAA. It's extremely interesting

reading ("On Monday the work was, in part, interrupted by the arrangements for photographing the apparatus, on Tuesday by a fog and on Wednesday by

showers in the beginning of the day" - Bache in the CS Annual Report for 1857) and they were written by some of the greats of 19h century surveying. But they

are hefty and technical, so you have been warned.

 

Bibliography

 

CS Annual Report for 1857, Appendix 26 "Notes on the measurement of a base for the primary triangulation of the eastern section of the coast of the United States, on Epping Plains, Maine, by A. D. Bache, Superintendent United States Coast Survey"

 

CS Annual Report for 1864, Appendix 14 "Report on the method of reduction , and results of the connexion of the Epping Base Line with the primary triangulation in the Eastern States by Charles A. Schott, assistant, United States Coast Survey"

 

CS Annual Report for 1865, Appendix 21 "Results of the primary triangulation of the coast of New England, from the northeastern boundary to the vicinity of New York"

 

And finally the full report, putting it all together:

CGS Special Publication No. 7 (1902) "The Eastern Oblique Arc of The United States"

 

In the next note I will give summaries of my recoveries of these stations, and in the final note on my progress. The short story is that I'm substantially

finished in the EOA stations from Maine down to Massachusetts.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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The Epping Base Net - Recoveries

 

I'll divide the recoveries into two groups: the outer 4 stations, which interconnect to the rest of the EOA both to the northeast and southwest, and

the inner 5 stations which includes the ends of the base line and the 3 nearby peaks. Besides, I found (or in the case of Howard couldn't get to) the

outer stations a while back (2 last year, and 1 back in September) and I found the 5 inner station all on one busy day a couple of weeks ago.

 

The first 3 stations were visited in September of 2007 during a vacation trip my wife and I took to Maine and New Brunswick. The 4th (Humpback)

was visited this September when my daughter and I went up to climb Katahdin and stopped off on the way up to climb Lead Mountain (formerly known as

Humpback) in Hancock County.

 

Here's the map again to refresh your memory:

c96fc1e3-8016-42b9-922e-51ec93ec951a.jpg

(Click on the map for an interactive Google map)

 

PD1029 "HOWARD"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching log .. Google Map

 

The station is (was?) a copper bolt on the top of a very pointy nob on the west side of Machias Bay in Washington County, Maine. The access problem began

in the 1950s when the site was taken over for the Bucks Harbor Air Force Station, which built 4 radar domes on the top of the hill. The most northerly of

these was supposedly designed to sit centered on the old 1859 mark, but it was never determined 1) if the mark was destroyed or merely covered by the

construction, or 2) if the dome was actually centered over the station to geodetic accuracy.

 

The domes have been gone for years and there is now a newer dome of some sort on the hill (but not at the station's location) so I went there with hopes

of miraculously finding the old copper bolt amid the crumbling concrete of the old radar dome, but alas, the site is now used for some sort of low

security prison and there was no one around to ask permission to go wandering around. If I had some reasonable chance of finding something, I would

consider going back, making the requisite phone calls and see what I could find.

 

This is what it looks like now:

87c82a37-d41a-4c42-8b9d-7e27c95c45ed.jpg

 

 

PD1041 "COOPER=WESTERN RIDGE"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching log .. Google Map

 

I was disappointed in not getting to Howard, but spent the intervening days (before looking for this station) vacationing in New Brunswick with my wife.

When We got back to Maine I had another disappointment in having no luck finding station RYE 1867, about midway between the border

crossing in Calais and this station.

 

So we drove from Rye back to Route 1 and went down Maine Route 191 about 10 miles to Cooper Hill. My DeLorme gazetteer showed a short dirt road up the hill

labeled "Tower Road". Sounded good. When we got there, we found Tower Road was easily drivable and when I pulled in next to the lookout tower I could

actually see the mark without getting out of the car! What a contrast: Howard out of bounds and Rye with .6 miles of brambles and no mark; Cooper was a drive up

with the mark literally jumping out to greet you. Cooper is what as known in the trade as a "Gimme".

 

One slip up: I searched in vain for the two reference marks. The distances from the station were given on the datasheet, but no bearings or directions.

It wasn't till later that I realized that Cooper RM1 had it's own PID with directions, accurate latitude and longitude, everything (including directions

to find RM2)! And I had actually printed out that datasheet but neglected to look at it when I was up there! Duh!

 

Here's a couple of shots of this successful recovery:

 

Left: The tower - the little light colored spot is where the marker is located.

Right: The marker - the white circle painted around it may indicate the marker is still in use by surveyors.

3ede5bc1-c168-429e-85ab-ab530e67c170.jpg b738c7de-217c-45cf-9c1c-3fe2910e929d.jpg

(click for larger images)

 

Closeup of marker.

11d808a0-258c-4bf4-82a2-c5c5a76e7a4f.jpg

 

 

PE1778 "MOUNT DESERT RESET"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching logs .. Google Map

 

After finding cooper, we headed for Bar Harbor, where we would spend the last of our vacation days. We got in just in time for a drive to the top of

Cadillac Mountain (which is incidently, the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard, all counter claims notwidthstanding!). Hopefully we would find the

1856 station (alas with a reset disk set in 1931) AND see the sunset! We did and we did. This mark is also a "Gimme" and it being on such a tourist spot,

has a gazillion logs on GC. However since there are 2 reference Mark disks and a USGS disk in close proximity, some of those gazillion logs have

missidentified the station.

 

Of special interest is the fact that for 3 summers )1931, 1932, and 1933), an unidentified surveyor for the Maine Geodetic Survey, working with only a 6

inch transit put all of us with our Google Maps and GPSes and our Geocaching site and our NGS datasheets to shame. Read on ...

 

It was the Great Depression; Arcadia National Park, created 15 years earlier (mostly from the largess of the Rockerfellers and other wealthy families who

had summer estates on the island) was seeing the benefits of the WPA; the auto road to the summit of Cadillac Mountain would be completed in October; and

this surveyor came to investigate the old survey marker on Mount Desert Island.

 

Perhaps due to a dearth of new undertakings in that economically depressed time, he spent 3 summers on this mountain searching out and measuring as many

of the long forgotten drill holes as possible, finding all but one of them - all this to verify that the one central hole was the station from 1856. We

can imagine the summit in these pre-tourist, pre-auto road days as a barren place of rock ledges, lichen, moss and brush, visited only by the occasional

hiker. What he did boggles the mind, especially in light of today's overworked, understaffed situation. Here are exerpts from the logs from the 1930s

when this station was rediscovered, remarked and verified:

 

RECOVERY NOTE BY MAINE GEODETIC SURVEY 1931

...

THE STATION IS ON THE HIGHEST PART OF CADILLAC MOUNTAIN (FORMERLY CALLED GREEN MOUNTAIN), IN THE ACADIA NATIONAL PARK. A FINE AUTOMOBILE ROAD ON

THE MOUNTAIN WAS OPENED IN OCTOBER 1931, AND THIS ROAD PASSES SOME 500 FEET TO THE N OF THE STATION, MAKING IT EASY OF ACCESS. ON JULY 18, 1931,

I FOUND A DRILL HOLE WHICH APPEARED TO BE THE STATION MARK AND WHICH CHECKED FAIRLY WELL WITH THE RANGE HOLES. IT WAS COVERED WITH SEVERAL STONES

WHICH HAD APPARENTLY ONCE BEEN A CAIRN. ... ON SEPT. 1, 1931, I CEMENTED A STANDARD C. AND G.S. TRIANGULATION TABLET IN THE HOLE, AND SET TWO

STANDARD REFERENCE MARKS IN EXPOSED LEDGE, ... FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS SEE MY LETTER OF DEC. 7, 1931.

 

RECOVERY NOTE BY MAINE GEODETIC SURVEY 1932

...

WHEN I RE-MARKED THIS STATION IN 1931 THE ONLY REFERENCE MARKS OF WHICH I HAD KNOWLEDGE WERE THE THREE HOLES MENTIONED IN THE PRINTED DESCRIPTION.

LATER I OBTAINED A COPY OF A SKETCH IN THE ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION OF THE STATION, WHICH SHOWED RANGE HOLES ON LINE TO A NUMBER OF OTHER STATIONS, AND

IN 1932 I VISITED THE STATION AGAIN TO SEE IF I COULD FIND ANY OF THESE HOLES AND THUS GET AN ADDITIONAL CHECK ON MY IDENTIFICATION OF THE STATION

POINT. I FOUND 6 OUT OF 8 OF THE NEARER HOLES OF THE RANGES AND THESE CHECKED IN AZIMUTH TO WITHIN A FEW MINUTES OF ARC, WHICH WAS AS CLOSE AS I COULD

DETERMINE THE DIRECTIONS WITH THE MINIATURE TRANSIT WHICH I USED ... THE HOLES ON LINES TO RAGGED MOUNTAIN, BLUE HILL AND PEAKED MOUNTAIN, WHICH

ARE MENTIONED IN THE PRINTED DESCRIPTION, ARE NOT SHOWN ON THE SKETCH, BUT THEY CHECKED FAIRLY WELL, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE ONE SAID TO BE ON THE

LINE TO BLUE HILL, WHICH WAS ABOUT 3 DEG S OF THAT LINE. THIS HOLE (A SHALLOW ONE) IS, HOWEVER, ON OR CLOSE TO THE LINE TO MOUNT BLUE, WHICH IS A

STATION OF THE PRIMARY SCHEME, ALTHOUGH I CAN FIND NO RECORD THAT THE LINE WAS OBSERVED OVER, PROBABLY BECAUSE OF OBSTRUCTIONS. I FEEL THAT ON THE

WHOLE MY IDENTIFICATION OF THE STATION HAS BEEN CONFIRMED. ...

 

RECOVERY NOTE BY MAINE GEODETIC SURVEY 1933

...

DURING THE SUMMER OF 1933 I FOUND 6 MORE OF THE RANGE HOLES AT THIS STATION, MAKING WITH THE 10 PREVIOUSLY FOUND, 16 IN ALL. THESE INCLUDE THE 3 HOLES MENTIONED IN THE DESCRIPTION (BUT NOT SHOWN ON THE ORIGINAL SKETCH), AND ALL BUT ONE OF THE 14 HOLES SHOWN ON THE SKETCH IN THE ORIGINAL ESCRIPTION. THE ONE MISSING HOLE WAS PROBABLY DESTROYED BY THE BREAKING OFF OF A PIECE OF THE LEDGE. (THIS WAS THE NEARER HOLE ON THE LINE TO BURKE). ... ALTHOUGH THESE RANGE HOLES MAY BE OF NO IMPORTANCE, I HAVE MENTIONED THEM BECAUSE THEY FURNISH A CONVENIENT CHECK ON THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE STATION POINT, WHICH I RE-MARKED IN 1931.

...

I'll finish this up not with a photo of the station disk (it's like thoudands of others and besides, you can read the log if you really want to see it),

but something much better which my wife and I had the privilege of seeing shortly after ...

 

e89ae460-da04-4afe-bdef-9da211527418.jpg

 

 

PE1692 "HUMPBACK RESET"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching logs .. Google Map

 

This September my daughter came East and joined me for a hiking/mountain climbing trip to Baxter State Park in Maine. I wanted to show off one of

the East Coast's most spectacular natural areas. That trip was really great ("Katahdin was tougher than My Hood", quoth she).

 

On the way up from the Boston area, we spent a night in downeast Maine doing a little sightseeing (and to break up the long drive to Baxter). The next

morning we stopped to do the easy climb of Lead Mountain, since it was (sort of) on the way. It's aboiut a one hour hike (or less if you're fast) and has great

views from the top (unless it's foggy like the day we went). The driving directions and hiking description is given in the AMC's Maine Mountain Guide.

Email me if you want details.

 

The top of the mountain has the foundations of an old fire tower with a USGS disk underneath (which is station HUMPBACK). Our station is about 100 yards

to the south - where the views are better. So this modest hike will get you a "twofer", one of which is just 150 years old this year.

 

From 1913 to 1932, the station was thought to be a 1 1/2 inch drill hole. Finally in 1932, a surveyor from the Maine Geodetic Survey did some measuring

and checking and decided that they had found the wrong drill hole, and he found another one that matched up with the range holes. Could it be that it

was the same surveyor who did all the work finding holes on Cadillac Mountain over 3 summers. I'll bet it was.

 

This was verified in 1934 by one KGC of the CGS, and he identifies the MGS surveyor as "H.S. SHAW". I quote from the 1934 log

RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1934 (KGC)

...

THE 1 1/2-INCH DRILL HOLE RECOVERED BY MR. FRENCH IN 1913 IS NOT THE TRUE STATION. THE TRUE STATION WAS MARKED BY A 1/2-INCH DRILL HOLE WHICH

WAS FOUND AND IDENTIFIED BY H.S. SHAW. THE FOLLOWING TABLE SHOWS THE EVIDENCE BY WHICH THE TRUE STATION WAS IDENTIFIED. MR. SHAWS OBSERVATIONS WERE CONFIRMED BY A MEMBER OF OF THIS PARTY. STANDARD REFERENCE MARKS WERE PLACED IN THRE DRILL HOLES ON LINES TO STATIONS SAUNDERS AND PIGEON. THE RECORD DISTANCES AND INFROMATION IN REGUARD TO DRILL HOLES ON LINES TO OTHER STATION WERE OBTAINED FROM A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF THE ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION. THERE CAN BE LITTLE DOUBT THAT MR. SHAW HAS RECOVERED THE TRUE STATION.

...

Thank you Mr. Shaw for your work in discovering the truth both here and at Mount Desert!

 

Here's a few photos. Sorry there were no views.

 

Left: The area (the disk is behind that funny little tower). note the fog visbnle in the background.

Right: and here's that 1 1/2 inch hole found in 1913, later found to be the wrong hole.

88f6eb96-e68d-4822-8184-e6430b0dd7bc.jpg c56920a2-95a3-49bf-9b08-d9a2e4dc1116.jpg

(click for larger images)

 

The station disk

b2a740cd-0034-4033-8988-237efbb47224.jpg

 

The two reference marks were also found. Interestingly, one of them was set in a range hole to station Pigeon, which station I found on my

latest trip, just 3 weeks ago.

 

(The recoveries of the 5 "inner" stations are given in the next note)

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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The Epping Base Net - Recoveries

 

The 5 stations in this note were of the Base Line itself and the 3 stations nearby. And 4 out of 5 (all except Burke) were original copper bolts from

the 1850s! I was able to visit all 5 in one afternoon starting at Tunk where I arrived at 11:00 AM (after a 5 1/2 drive from the Boston area) and

finishing with West Base at about 5:30, just when it was getting dark. It was what is known as a looooong day!

 

Here's that Google Map again (in case you haven't memorized it by now :laughing: ):

 

c96fc1e3-8016-42b9-922e-51ec93ec951a.jpg

(Click on the map for an interactive Google map)

 

 

PE1695 "TUNK 1859"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching log .. Google Map

 

I climbed Tunk from the West following the directions given for geocache Tunk-Tenna Nano. The creator odf that cache has supplied waypoints for the turnoff from Route 182,

and for the end of the dirt road where you start your hike. I actually parked about a half mile before that point. The trail starts at a clearing at the

end of the dirt road. Email me for directions if you're interested. See also my GC log.

 

The station is easy to miss. It's just past a small communications shed recently built on the summit (the station is about 8 feet from the east corner

of the shed). There is a reference mark on the same ledge about 5' 6" south of the mark and the other reference mark is on the next ledge, about 90' away.

This second ledge is actually the highest point of the mountain.

 

Views from the summit are spectacular. Pick a clear day to go.

 

Left: The summit area with the station and 2 reference marks

Right: View from the summit

e75128f4-62ad-4409-b5fe-c6a0483e77ff.jpg d54edecc-610d-4d71-861d-6481bbc25a20.jpg

(click for larger images)

 

Closeup of the copper bolt. It's easy to miss unless you look right at it.

521972dd-9b6a-49c4-90c9-301e2cf5a21b.jpg

 

 

PD1167 "BURKE RESET"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching log .. Google Map

 

It's a very easy hike through the blueberry fields and to the top of this hill. I stopped at the farm house at the bottom (on the right, just where the

road turns to the left). I had a nice chat with the landowner, who is a pastor at a church in the next town. When I came back down, I gave him my copy

of the datasheet and the map I had printed out (the same map as the one at the top of this note). and he was absoluteluy delighted.

 

Left: The blueberry fields on the slope.

Right: View from the top. The blueberry fileds are visible in the mid ground.

b788b902-00a4-462d-81ce-28636e4ba2eb.jpg dbf5e2c9-b24f-462a-99c1-3ba0b222b169.jpg

(click for larger images)

 

The station disk. It was initially covered by moss.

ac8c10de-a2a8-43b7-9edb-61d5a1828bf5.jpg

(click for larger image)

 

PD1071 "PIGEON"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching logs .. Google Map

 

This is very easy to get to, but this this is actually scary and I'll tell you why: there is a new road with expensive looking summer homes (who would

want to live here in winter?) built along it. The last one, which was still under construction when I got there, is just over .1 miles from the summit.

I asked the builder, who was working on it with a small crew, if these houses were selling in the current economic climate. He said it was tough at the

moment. But I thought, gees, if things pick up in a year or two, the top of this hill will be a goner!

 

And such a top of the hill! Views up and down the coast for miles. The end of the neck of land is a National Wildlife refuge and most of the islands and

bays are undeveloped or have small fishing villages. The way life ought to be! Then I heard something wonderful from someone from the area: a local

preservation group, the Great Auk Land Trust, has already purchased 117 acres of the area including the summit, and 51 additional acres have been

made available for purchase - including more of the summit and an area encompassing the traditional trail on the east side (this is the route from the old

cemetary mentioned in the 1913 NGS log). The area is now the "Pigeon Hill Vista & Recreational Preserve". Great news! Now you don't have to rush down

there to get this mark.

 

Left: The summit area. I left it with the large rock over the bolt.

Right: View from the summit.

5109a00c-7965-4538-ae9b-485040c5483e.jpg daec12da-4258-4713-a325-b46b7544edb8.jpg

(click for larger images)

 

The copper bolt uncovered. It's in great shape.

fa79463c-7ee1-4a47-9d8d-8430536b3058.jpg

(click for larger image)

 

(The 2 Base line stations are described in next note)

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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(Continued from previous note)

 

PD1145 "EPPING EAST BASE"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching logs .. Google Map

 

I saved the ends of the Base line (first the east, and the the west) for last in my mad day of recoveries. If you look at my map you might think "Well,

that's dumb, the base line is rather close to Burke. Why drive way down to Pigeon and then back up to recover those?". Good point ... but my thinking

was I might have access issues at Pigeon and I wanted time to sort them out. Then if it was getting dark, I'd save the base line for the next morning

since both ends could be driven to. But in reality, Pigeon turned out to be a piece of cake, and I still had time for the base line before it got dark.

So I was done in one day and got an early start (as in 5:30 AM) the next morning on my long drive to Pittsburg, New Hampshire ("huh?" "Don't ask!").

So yeah, it was more mileage, but it all worked out. What .. Ever!

 

The cool thing about the two ends of the base line is that they were surveyed with high accuracy GPS and the east end is now a "Federal Base Network Control

Station" with a location accuracy of about half a centimeter. This category denotes the highest level of accuracy in the system.

 

The directions given in the most recent NGS log are right on and you can drive right to the marker which is a few feet off the side of the dirt road. The

station is a copper bolt set in the center of a 3' x 3' dressed granite block. Originally there were marble monuments mounted above the copper bolts on both

ends of the line, but they are long gone (and I believe at least one of them is in a museum).

 

Left: Looking across the road towards the monument (in front of the witness post and snowmobile sign)

Right: Looking across the blueberry fields to one of the reference marks

30ae60ca-44e2-40cb-ba71-3d57b7fa8087.jpg 3618115a-f6cf-49c1-91dc-1398f46ce625.jpg

 

Left: The granite block in front of a snowmobile direction sign.

Right: Closeup of the block.

6e89c5d5-121a-454d-b1f0-94ed454024d5.jpg 67c7eb93-e907-4dd5-9fb7-b9a9b3237b0f.jpg

(click for larger images)

 

Vintage photo of the original base line from CGS S.P. 7 (1902)

4a7ce6c4-e203-400a-9791-61b352336244.jpg

(click for larger image)

 

Looking west along what remains of the base line today (the dirt road to the right of the car)

84f51d61-7c73-495b-8770-8d2a9c5a88f7.jpg

(click for larger image)

 

 

PD1170 "EPPING WEST BASE"

 

Links: NGS datasheet .. Geocaching logs .. Google Map

 

Like the east base, this station was surveyed with high accuracy GPS and and it is now a "Cooperative Base Network Control Station" with a location accuracy

of about one and a half centimeters. This category is one level lower than that of the east base, but is still one of the highest levels of accuracy

in the network.

 

This station is "almost" a drive up. Simply take a right on Base Line Road from Route 193 about 7 miles north of the intersection with US Route 1 in

Cherryfield. The drive to the height of land (about .9 miles) and take the path on the rithe through a forested area and over some ledges to the station.

There are some reference markers on the ledges but with darkness falling I had no time to look for them. The station is a copper bolt (a bit banged up)

in the center of a 3' x 3' flat area carded in the side of the ledge. I had no problem whatsoever in finding the station, although the vegetation must

have grown since the GPS measurements were made, since the marker was not open to the sky.

 

Left: The ledge with the station carved from the rock

Right: The ledge with the copper bolt in the center of the dressed 3' x 3' area.

2859d260-e69b-499f-993c-648fa8d6ae6b.jpg e44f284e-b059-4f99-b14b-4aaf957dabb1.jpg

(click for larger images)

 

Notice in the second picture some cement along the back edge of the ledge rock. This is evidently a remnant of the attempt in 1964 to remount the original

marble monument. They eventually gave up, and the monument was moved to a museum.

 

Vintage photo of a measurement being made in 1857. Obviously posed.

61b1964a-c922-42ca-a290-353c5c886905.jpg

(click for larger image)

 

Notice the terrain in the 1857 photo is much like it is today.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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The Eastern Oblique Arc - How am I doing?

 

In a little over a year I've made 5 trips to search for stations on the EOA. Of course I searched for numerous other stations on those same trips.

 

Here's the summary by state:

Connecticut ... 5 stations, 5 not visited

Rhode Island .. 1 station, 1 found

Massachusetts . 9 stations, 5 found, 1 destroyed, 1 DNF, 2 not visited (both reported lost)

New Hampshire . 4 stations, 2 found, 1 DNF, 1 not visited

Maine ........ 20 stations, 14 found, 2 destroyed, 2 DNF, 2 not visited (both reported lost)

Canada ........ 3 stations, 1 found, 2 not visited (1 reported lost)

 

Totals ....... 42 stations, 23 found, 3 destroyed, 4 DNF, 12 not visited

Here's a map of the whole section. Pushpins: Green = found, Red = DNF or destroyed, grey = not visited

EOA%20New%20England.jpg

(Click for interactive Google map)

 

When you bring up the Google map, it may extend outsize you browser window. Just drag it a little and you can see the portions outside the window. I

suggest you bring up the map and spend a minute of two clicking on this station or that. Each one has a thumbnail of the station, the status, history,

and links to both the GC and NGS entry for the station.

 

Let's look at the list and see what we have:

 

Not visited: 12 stations.

Connecticut: 5 stations are in Connecticut which I haven't ventured into yet. There are good possibilities there to get some or all of them. (Note

that there are a few more stations in Connecticut which are connected to the Fire Island Base Line (in New York) which I haven't yet added to my map.)

Massachusetts: 2 stations - Great Meadow was buried under 4 feet or more of dirt when a new fire tower was built in 1936. In may exist and

we would dig for it if the National Guard which owns the site doesn't mind ;) . Massachusetts South Base was lost when the tracks were widened.

Not much chance I'd dig for that one ;) !

New Hampshire: 1 station: Washington - the station may be there somewhere but has not been found since the 1950s. It may be under some

rocks, but it's a hard area to work at.

Maine: 2 stations - Howard was covered by a radar dome in the 1950s. It may exist. Prince Regent Redoubt, in Eastport was reported

lost in 1910.

Canada: 2 stations: Grand Manan is a drill hole on a cliff on an Island about 15 miles off the coast of Maine. It would be quite an

undertaking with little chance of success. St. David was reported lost in 1887.

 

Not Founds (DNF): 4 stations.

 

Blue Hill (MA) is under a concrete flag pole base :laughing: . Unkonoonuc (NH) is a drill hole in bedrock about 8 inches underground. I searched

for about an hour but it may still be there. I may go back. Sebattus (ME) has a building built over it :rolleyes: . I think it may still exist since

the building has no foundation. Rye (ME) is probably there. I just have to go back and look some more in the thorns bushes and poison ivy.

 

Blue Hill and Sebattus were my biggest disappointments. Knowing that these two original marks (Blue Hill from 1845, Sebattus from 1853) had survived intact

for so long, only to have someone plonk something down on top of them in the last few years (probably without even knowing what was there), kills me. Ah

well, hopefully in some future year these structures will crumble or be removed, and some future benchmark hunter will find these long lost markers.

 

Out of sight but not out of mind. Left: Blue Hill, right: Sebattus.

DNF%201%20Blue%20Hill.jpg DNF2%20Sebattus.jpg

 

Destroyed: 3 stations.

 

Wachusett (MA) was moved during the construction of a hotel on the summit in 1895 and became Wachusett 2. Independence (ME) was destroyed

by the Maine DOT in 1970. Calais Observatory (ME) was on a granite post which is known to have been removed.

 

But the original 1833 Wachusett copper bolt survives (this was a Borden station), even though its geodetic position is lost. It was moved twice

(first by construction of a hotel in 1895, and then it was hit by a car in 1936), so it became "Wachusett 2", then "Wachusett 2 Reset". It's current

position is thought to be about 1 foot from the original position.

 

1833 bolt on Wachusett (moved in 1895 and became Wachusett 2)

02%20Wachusett.jpg

 

Founds: 23 stations

 

Of the 23 stations, 8 (Beaconpole, Copecut, Agamenticus, Mt Blue, Harris, Mount Desert, Humpback and Burke) are resets, meaning the original drill hole

or copper bolt was replaced by a disk at the same location. That means that for 15 stations, the original drill hole or bolt was found. After

150 to 170 years that's pretty darned good! :)

 

A note on Mt Pleasant: the station was established in 1853, but soon thereafter a hotel was built on the summit which cut off the line of site to Mt Blue,

another primary station. So a new mark was established about 17 meters from the old station. Both of these stations were believed to have been used in

the original surveys. The new mark probably should have been designated as an eccentric, but instead it was named "Mt Pleasant New" and has it's own PID.

See PF1145 for the old and PF1147 for the new station. Both are first order stations. After two trips to the summit, I found them both. The New station

is now just a drill hole; its copper bolt is gone.

 

Here are the Resets:

Resets.JPG

 

So what's with beaconpole (the first reset above)? Beaconpole may look more like a bolt, but it is actually the center portion of a disk which has been chipped

away. The triangle with the dot in it are intact, so it's still what I would call in "good condition", at least from a surveyors standpoint.

 

 

And here are the original markers - copper bolts, drill holes, etc.:

Copper%20plugs%20and%20holes.jpg

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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PapaBear,

 

Your dedication, documentation and research puts many surveyors to shame.

 

Another well documented and very historical project.

 

Thanks for sharing.

Kurt

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OK, a stunning report, like always. So what are you doing for us this week?

This week I spent as much time writing this report as I spent in Maine the week before last. :) Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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Have you considered having this report published somewhere? I think it would be a great write up for a surveyor’s magazine.

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First of all, I'd like to echo the sentiments of everyone else here...

Awesome!

 

Secondly, I'd propose that we make this a geocaching group effort to recover as many of these stations as possible.

(We'll leave the grand narrative to PapaBear, ok?)

 

One station of particular interest of mine is High Knob 1865. (A possible Eastern Oblique Arc Station).

It was last recovered in 1884. Three search parties attempted to locate the station in 1957 without success.

However, they set a new mark (High Knob 2) 11.665 ft northeast of the original. So if I find the 1957 station,

I have a good chance to locate the 1865 mark.

 

Access to this station is protected by a gated community, which owns the entire north face of the mountain.

I made contact with the homeowner's association and was given permission to search the area. They're very

interested in the history behind this mark, as it would make a fine article for their monthly newsletter.

Unfortunately I arrived unprepared, (thinking this would be an easy find), clad in shorts and

facing a dense foliage consisting of mostly briars. I'll be making another attempt on the next warm day.

 

Is there enough interest in the group to extend PapaBear's work to the Gulf of Mexico?

 

~ Mitch ~

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Thanks everyone for the comments.

 

Several of you have asked me "Are you going to do the entire EOA?". I think not, but I will certainly go back and try to fill in the holes in the northeast. I'd like to get to the point where I either find every mark, or assure myself that it is gone or inaccessible.

 

I also expect to move down through Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and perhaps beyond - but not too far beyond. Once you get past Washington DC the trips get too long. Right now the trips are mighty long - my trip to Maine and NH a few weeks ago totaled close to 1400 miles (when you include round trip bus to the Boston area - the rest, about 1000 miles, was on a rental). That's for 5 marks in Maine and 3 in NH (of which 2 were DNFs). I am comfortable going after the "Few and far between" (clearly I'm not chasing every last mark along my route - that would have taken me 3 times as long), but there are limits. Would I fly to New Orleans to look for 15 markers, 14 of which are probably under water?

 

The idea that members of this group might be interested in some of these old historic markers in their own areas sounds good to me. If you live in a state on the Eastern Seaboard, why not volunteer to bag all the EOA stations in your state that are still there. To me that's more interesting than finding another 1959 bench mark on another county courthouse.

 

Harry Dolphin, if you want New Jersey, I'll cede it to you. :D You probably already have some of them.

 

Seventhings - I'm sure you could pick up a few in Pennsylvania and Delaware between finding Mason Dixon monuments. You and Harry would have to fight it out over southwest Jersey.

 

I'm glad Difficult Run is going after High Knob 1865. Sounds like a worthy quest. But Mitch, why not follow up by going after the other marks in Virginia? There's got to be many along the eastern range of the Appalachians that have survived. And the ones in the mountains are more likely to be original markers rather than 1930s resets.

 

And NGS Surveyor has taken aim on Turkey Point. So George, how about the other stations around the Chesapeake and over to D.C.? The Kent Island Base Line would attract me if I was from the area. Although Kent South Base is reported washed away in 1888, there might be some mile stones or other artifacts to find, plus the North Base is supposedly still there.

 

Anyone care to volunteer to take on a state? Sign up right here. Holograph's excellent site (The Eastern Oblique Arc) is a great place to start.

 

And then there's the Transcontinental Triangulation (39th patrallel) - a whole 'nother project.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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I've started doing some research on those Eastern Oblique Arc stations.

Here's what I found in a book entitled "This was Tyson's Corner, Virginia - Facts and Photos",

by Connie & Mayo Stuntz, which gives an interesting account of how Peach Grove was established.

 

"Peach Grove" was the name of an pre-civil war farm near Tyson's Corner, owned at the time by

Edmund Flagg. He kept a diary which chronicled the establishment of this early triangulation station.

 

5 Oct. 1869: "Up to see Ryle [tenant on Stockade Hill]... ascend stairs of Capt. B's

observatory - grand view - Court House & Capitol."

 

6 Oct.: "Up to stockade... & new observatory & men at work - K comes up Pike - call on

Capt. & Mrs. Botella[?] & inspect camp."

 

7 Oct.: "Frame for tent on observation going up."

 

18 Oct.: "Thru the woods to stockade... ascend tower - Capt. taking observations -

Heliotrope at hill 200 miles in Md. - Canster's [?] Place near G'town - the Capitol

13 miles off - Stockade 520 above sea..."

 

20 Oct.: "Go to stockade and see Ryle and Rotchford plowing in rye - measure posts of

stockade 11 ft. - ascend tower - chat Capt. B - read NY Times - see heliotrope [a kind

of heliograph used in surveying and signaling] at Md. Hts., 40 miles."

 

24 Oct.: "Meet Mr. Pearson of Vienna & another gent at tower & chat.

The stockade was in corn in 1826 last & lay fallow & in timber 40 years."

 

6 Nov.: "Off to see Capt. Boutella about maps - inspect maps of Fairfax Co.

Capt. wants to leave 56 sq. ft. at station."

 

3 Dec. 1869: "Draft letter to Boutella & copy his let. about Signal Station."

 

----------------------

 

In the 7 May 1874 edition of the National Republican is found a description of the Coast Survey Station as of 1874:

Near the stockade... stands a substantial tower some 40 feet in height, erected a few years since

by officers of the Coast Survey, from which to take observations. The site was selected as having

the loftiest altitude between tide-water and the mountains, and is 150 [feet] higher than the statue

of Liberty on the dome of the Capitol which figure, with the powerful glass of the Coast Survey,

could be clearly discovered from the platform of the tower, and this platform is nearly 600 feet

above the level of the sea. The view unfolded from this place is more than a hundred miles in circuit,

embracing the Bull Run mountains and all intervening scenes on the west, the Maryland Heights and

the Sugar Loaf on the north, and the hills which circle the Potomac on the east, with all the

beautiful prairies which spread themselves out like a panorama on both sides of the river.

On the south and toward Washington and Alexandria, the glass sweeps but little besides forests.

 

----------------------

 

In 1912, J. Harry Shannon, known as "The Rambler," published an article in

The Sunday Star, describing the crumbling remains of the 1869 observation tower.

 

"Some of the stockade posts are still upright, many are prostrate and more have

disappeared. Part of the signal tower or watch tower remains, but not in its

original height. These signal towers... were built in the fashion of a [wooden]

superstructure of an oil well... with a ladder reaching from platform to platform."

 

I'll go after some of these other stations in Virginia as time and weather permits.

~ Mitch ~

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I've started doing some research on those Eastern Oblique Arc stations.

Here's what I found in a book entitled "This was Tyson's Corner, Virginia - Facts and Photos",

by Connie & Mayo Stuntz, which gives an interesting account of how Peach Grove was established.

 

"Peach Grove" was the name of an pre-civil war farm near Tyson's Corner, owned at the time by

Edmund Flagg. He kept a diary which chronicled the establishment of this early triangulation station.

 

...

 

6 Oct.: "Up to stockade... & new observatory & men at work - K comes up Pike - call on

Capt. & Mrs. Botella[?] & inspect camp."

 

...

 

20 Oct.: "Go to stockade and see Ryle and Rotchford plowing in rye - measure posts of

stockade 11 ft. - ascend tower - chat Capt. B - read NY Times - see heliotrope [a kind

of heliograph used in surveying and signaling] at Md. Hts., 40 miles."

...

I'll go after some of these other stations in Virginia as time and weather permits.

~ Mitch ~

Good work Mitch. I love those old sources. And it's amazing, more and more of this stuff is on line with Google Books and similar projects, together will all the archival documents NOAA is putting up. We can find stuff now-a-days that folks would never have found just 10 years ago. I love that line about the guy reading the NY Times while some equipment was being set up and farmers where "plowing rye" nearby. Wonder if that was for some "Moonshine". That neighborhood has sure changed in 140 years.

 

"Capt. Boutella" must be none other than Charles O. Boutelle, who was an assistant to Simeon Borden (Who did the Massachusetts survey in the 1830s) and then went on to work for Bache in the Coast Survey. Boutelle was the very man who laid out the Epping Base Line in 1856.

 

And Peach Graove is alive and well (see HV4830), reset with a disk in 1954. It looks like it may be behind a fence at this point in time. Perhaps a phone call or two will get you in there to do a recovery.

 

Keep up the good work. If I ever get down that neck of the woods I'll look you up.

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I'll do MD and DE. DE had only two stations and one of them is at the bottom of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal!

Speaking of reading newspapers, I used to read the newspaper while sitting on the triangle boards at the top of a Bilby tower while waiting for the observer to call for my light!

 

GeorgeL

NGS

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I might as well do PA. I think I can get to BETHEL 1839 on Thanksgiving weekend. I had not bothered with it to date because it has been found recently. Two others (YARD and WILLOW GROVE) have been officially destroyed, but I will try to see what WILLOW GROVE has to offer, since RM1 seems to remain. I will also try to get to Newtown at some point.

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I might as well do PA. I think I can get to BETHEL 1839 on Thanksgiving weekend. I had not bothered with it to date because it has been found recently. Two others (YARD and WILLOW GROVE) have been officially destroyed, but I will try to see what WILLOW GROVE has to offer, since RM1 seems to remain. I will also try to get to Newtown at some point.

Good news Matt.

I always think an officially destroyed mark deserves at least a look. I've found a few occasionally that are marked destroyed when according to the log they probably aren't. Great Meadow 1836 comes to mind. Its buried under 4 - 6 feet of dirt. So? That doesn't make it destroyed. Just dig a hole 4 - 6 feet deep (slight complication - it's on a National Guard base :) ).

 

OTOH, a number stations I've looked into ARE destroyed but are not so marked. Wachusett is a good example. It got moved, they made Wachusett 2 from the same monument but forgot to declare the original destroyed. Of course that was in 1895 a little before they had the database up and running. :cute:

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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Harry Dolphin, if you want New Jersey, I'll cede it to you. :laughing: You probably already have some of them.

 

Only one: Mount Holly Reset. Send me the list, or url, and I'll take a gander at them. Would be an interesting project.

I suspect that development has taken its toll. And I don't hit South Jersey very often, but I'd be interested in looking at the list.

Edited by Harry Dolphin

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I always think an officially destroyed mark deserves at least a look.

 

Papa,

I TOTALLY agree, especially in this instance since the marks are special. I am pretty sure YARD is destroyed--I have looked at it on aerial photos and the water tank described on the datasheet is huge and sits squarely on the spot the mark occupied. I have also driven by the area, but haven't approached the mark yet--it is surrounded by houses and a fence, so there is no easy access other than asking someone if I can cut through their yard (which I am willing to do, but haven't yet had the opportunity). I need to drive to WILLOW GROVE though and take a look to see what is up there. Hopefully the weekend after Thanksgiving will give me the chance when I take my daughter back to college in Phila.

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WEASEL has definitely been destroyed. Quarried away many years ago.

I've looked twice for Springfield Reset. It seems to be buried a foot or more under the side of a hiking trail in Watchung Reservation. It should be findable if I can get there before the ground freezes. Two others seem to be in the back yards of McMansions. Permission would probably be required.

Hmm... Challenging!

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Something I've been thinking about for a while since my last Maine trip, and the Monadnock investigation, is to extend the interactive maps I have of the EOA down the coast. These are the maps I've been showing in this and other threads.

 

It's not too much of a task. Basically I have to get all the data sheets for the stations, and then stick them into GSAK. I already do this for areas I have been traveling to. generally I can get a county into GSAK in about 5 minutes - I use Foxtrot Xray's data sheet -> GPX converter, plus a few GSAK macros I wrote for myself - so I've got the work flow pretty streamlined. The only additional "manual" step is putting in the data for the triangulation lines. One line of data per line (basically, a data line my map program reads which says draw a line THIS color from THIS point to THAT point) but even that is pretty easy. The rest of the stuff the map program needs is straight out of GSAK.

 

So my plan is to make a version that doesn't just document MY finds (or DNFs), but rather documents any of the GCers here who are working on the porject. For that matter, if someone on the site has found a mark recently quite aside from this discussion, I could document that as well. For example I'm sure and number of GC logs were made for Monadnock or Mount Desert, long before I got there. That way it can be a little like Holograph's reports on our recoveries, we can see our own progress plus any one else's progress. I could then throw a copy of the map up here from time to time as things progress. It might also encourage folks to go after an area with a lot of unvisited marks.

 

Sort of like this one from this thread:

EOA%20New%20England.jpg

 

I'd have to figure a way to make it easy to jump from one section to another, but that shouldn't be too big a deal. As it is you can drag and zoom, which is fine for local shifts, but it might be a little onerous to drag it all the way from Maine to Georgia.

 

In the long run it would be nice to have a map showing every station. And it would be either a green push pin (one of us found it) or yellow (still a DNF) or red (definitely gone forever).

 

So keep thinking what you can do, and before the snow hits the ground, get out there and track down a few of these.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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I'm made some progress in documenting the stations of the EOA. I have put all the stations down to North Carolina into GSAK, and put them onto my custom Google Map. I have gone through the NGS data sheets and marked the ones that are destroyed (whether marked as such in the NGS data base or not) and I have also gone through the Geocaching.com logs and marked the ones which are found or not found. To qualify as a found I looked for a photo which clearly shows the station - this eliminated a few questionable logs.

 

And lastly I've added a feature to my custom Map to make it easy to jump to one section or another.

 

Here's the over all map as far as I've done so far:

EOA%2001%20Northern%20Section.jpg

Click for live map

 

Here's what happens if you bring up the map. It shows all the triangulation lines from Maine down to North Carolina. The measurement was originally done in sections which were separately adjusted, and scaled from the base lines. Then the sections were matched up as the survey progressed down the coast. I've divided things into the same sections as were done in the original survey.

 

You will notice 4 of the sections on the map have green lines. These are the "base nets" which means they have a base line measured on the ground and some surrounding stations which were adjusted as a unit, and then matched up to the adjoining sections.

 

You can enlarge any section, which will show all the stations and their "Found / Not Found / Destroyed" status, by either using the selector in the upper left, or by clicking on the map itself. Ten sections are done. There's about 8 or 10 more left to do.

 

Here's a sample:

 

Map of the mid-Atlantic section

EOA%2007%20Fire%20Island%20to%20Kent%20Island%20Base%20Net.jpg

Click for live map

 

This is the exact same map you would get if you brought up the overall map and clicked on "Mid-Atlantic" in the selector (or if you clicked on the appropriate part of the map). It consists of 24 stations that stretch from the NY/Connecticut line down through northern New Jersey and then along the New Jersey/Pennsylvania line down to Delaware and Maryland.

 

BTW: I've tested the Google Maps on a bunch of different browsers. They all work fine but IE is noticeably slower on jumping to a new section of the map. Firefox, Chrome and Safari are all reasonably quick.

 

What you see is:

1) Each station and an adjoining label giving its designation

2) Color of pushpin: GRAY = Not Visited, GREEN = Found, ORANGE = Not Found and RED = Destroyed. "Found / Not Found" refers to logs on GC as mentioned above.

3) If you click on a station, you will get a small information balloon giving status, dates and links to both the NGS data sheet and the GC log. There is also a "Map" link which brings up a map of just that station, and shows the reference marks if any.

 

As you can see by looking at this map, a few members of this forum have been active there. Keep up the good work! I'm just waiting for Harry Dolphin to go back and bag Springfield. When he does, with a monumentation date of 1817, that will be the oldest first order station in the US (18 years older than Buttermilk)!

 

Here's what I'm going to do next when I get a little time.

 

1) Get the rest of the stations into GSAK and onto the custom map.

2) Start a new thread.

3) Document what stations are found on GC and by whom.

4) Point out likely stations just waiting for someone to find.

5) Solicit input from fellow members as to what they might be interested in searching for or what they have done recently.

 

Feedback is encouraged, for both errors and typos in the information and features or bugs in the custom map software.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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As you can see by looking at this map, a few members of this forum have been active there. Keep up the good work! I'm just waiting for Harry Dolphin to go back and bag Springfield. When he does, with a monumentation date of 1817, that will be the oldest first order station in the US (18 years older than Buttermilk)!

 

 

When you visit Buttermilk, you can see the original 3" drill hole in ledge which was set in 1833 (since filled in with iron pipe in concrete). The monument at Springfield is a 1934 reset. I really don't think one could find any trace of the original earthenware cone, as it sounds like the reset included a sub-surface mark as well as the one found in 1999.

 

7370b7b0-a11e-40a9-891b-b89a1a0bbf56.jpg

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As you can see by looking at this map, a few members of this forum have been active there. Keep up the good work! I'm just waiting for Harry Dolphin to go back and bag Springfield. When he does, with a monumentation date of 1817, that will be the oldest first order station in the US (18 years older than Buttermilk)!

 

 

When you visit Buttermilk, you can see the original 3" drill hole in ledge which was set in 1833 (since filled in with iron pipe in concrete). The monument at Springfield is a 1934 reset. I really don't think one could find any trace of the original earthenware cone, as it sounds like the reset included a sub-surface mark as well as the one found in 1999.

 

...

What you say is absolutely true, but it's hard to know where to draw a line.

 

There are Lots of Resets out there, although most often they are disks set in original drill holes that at one time had a copper bolt. And when you come down to it, Buttermilk is also a Reset. The mark observed on is now a 3/4" iron rod with a punch hole which was first mentioned in the 1932 log (99 years after the station was set). The iron rod underwent various changes over the years - at first it stuck out 1 " and now it's flush.

 

Added for clarity:

And what would you think if the documentation stated that only the surface mark for Springfield was reset in 1934. The underground mark would be there but never seen. Or what if a disk had been set at Buttermilk which managed to cover the hole (I know - disks aren't that big, but follow the argument). Of course it's nice when you can see the original mark. Buttermilk is nice since there is no underground mark and the surface mark is not covered over, so everything is obvious.

 

94dfdc94-1e9d-4eeb-ab99-6f68f8c785ca.jpg

 

Actually I'm on your side. We bagged Buttermilk, and it has a plaque. So we can say "The oldest First Order station (not including those set by Simeon Borden), whose original monument is still visible". ;)Edit: see MZ1702, a 1st order station set by Borden in 1832 with the original monument intact.

 

Or maybe "The oldest First Order station with a plaque". Of course the plaque says "The oldest triangulation station in America" . That is clearly a stretch.

 

But still, finding an 1817 station which maintains the original geodetic position is pretty nifty. Go for it Harry! I'd be willing to split the prize money :)

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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[but still, finding an 1817 station which maintains the original geodetic position is pretty nifty. Go for it Harry! I'd be willing to split the prize money ;)

 

Ah, yes. Digging on the side of the trail in the County Reservation. Hmmm... Dolphin and bear doing surveying with a tape measure? Measure from the RMs to the missing carsonite post, and the triple trunk tree, which is not a cherry, and from there to the station. Definitely a challenge. Might have to wait until spring, when the ground is not frozen. We shall see...

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Last Sunday, on a rainy, windy afternoon, I located KV3662 WILLOW GROVE 1839. It wasn't an exciting recovery by any means. The original mark was replaced with a disk in 1978, so there is no physical history left at the station. It has also been found fairly recently, one reason I had not hurried to get to it.

The mystery surrounding this station is finding RM 3. There is no description and a 30 minute search turned up nothing. I emailed DaveD to see if he had any documentation about it so I may have to return if he does.

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Last Sunday, on a rainy, windy afternoon, I located KV3662 WILLOW GROVE 1839. It wasn't an exciting recovery by any means. The original mark was replaced with a disk in 1978, so there is no physical history left at the station. It has also been found fairly recently, one reason I had not hurried to get to it.

The mystery surrounding this station is finding RM 3. There is no description and a 30 minute search turned up nothing. I emailed DaveD to see if he had any documentation about it so I may have to return if he does.

Good work Matt

 

Interesting history. In 1869 there is a rotted pole in the ground but no sign of the underground mark (a cone). It also seems the 1869 party had more data than we have. They searched for Chestnut trees which aren't mentioned in the brief log from 1839 that is on the data sheet and mention a displaced cone. And they used the word "scion" for young chestnut shoots sprouting from the old roots. I had never heard the word used that way.

 

Then in 1946 it's all lost. Then in 1983 it's in good condition with a disk set in 1978 but no log for 1978. Somewhere along the way it has become a GPS station (see the top of the data sheet) and then suddenly in 2005 it's destroyed - very weird.

 

Maybe DaveD can find the missing report from 1978, and the reason for marking it destroyed in 2005 - that would be more important for this mark's provenance than the missing RM.

 

And doesn't that picture on the sign look just like all the pictures of Hassler? Even the scarf is always the same. Maybe there is actually only one picture of him in existence (perhaps the one in S.P. 7) and it gets reproduced in every book about him.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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I've been crawling through these "special publications", trying to decipher the myriad of information contained therein.

My head hurts... but I'm not complaining. :)

 

I noticed a few stations that didn't make the grade and wondering if they are considered secondary.

Paris Reset - (GC) / Paris Reset - (NGS)

"1927 Log - STATION WAS MARKED BY A CIRCULAR PILE OF ROCKS, AND IS PROBABLY THE INTERSECTION STATION PARIS, OF THE EASTERN OBLIQUE ARC"

 

High Knob - 1865 VA (GC) / High Knob - 1865 VA (NGS)

As I pointed out in another thread, the station description was co-mingled with:

High Knob - 1865 MD (GC) / High Knob - 1865 MD (NGS)

 

Regarding Maryland Heights S

Maryland Heights S - (GC) / Maryland Heights S - (NGS)

Should this be replaced with Maryland Height Reset - (GC) or Maryland Heights Reset - (NGS)?

What about PIVOT GUN, which is south of these two stations?

"No descriptive text available" - Hmmm.

I'm betting there's a drill hole there, and if so, can this station be brought back to life?

 

So many questions :D

~ Mitch ~

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Papa-Bear,

 

I totally agree that the mark's history is unique. It seems there was no permanent surface mark set in 1839, just an underground cone and a signal pole, or maybe NO underground mark and JUST a signal pole, judging by the 1869 recovery. Then, as you note, no sign was found in 1946, and it magically reappears in 1983, having been set in 1978 but with no distances to the reference marks, and RM 3 not found due to lack of description. The 1984 recovery party found RM3, but was not nice enough to describe it! It brings doubt to the whole station in many ways.

 

Still, it is a very usable mark, unlike so many we find on the tops of mountains, which seem to be only for our own hobby interest any more. WILLOW GROVE sits in an open soccer field, and though it has some tree and house interference to the north and west, it may be a decent GPS station. It is certainly very accessible. I would like to see it back in the database.

 

I have emailed Dave asking if he knows anything about the reference mark as well as the destroyed status. I am fairly certain that the destroyed status was an error--there is a recovery in 2005 that says, simply, "RM1 ONLY" and I believe that somehow translated to a full destroyed status. I have also emailed Deb with that information. Once I hear back from them I will submit a new recovery. I spent well over an hour at that mark measuring distances to various objects, including the two reference marks (and it wasn't easy to measure to RM2, since it was a distance of 136 feet or so and I only have a 100 foot tape, plus I had to measure THROUGH a chain link fence. I would never submit that measurement as definitive!). Add the rain, wind, and an umbrella to the mix and I was a sorry looking puppy at the end of my time there.

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...

What about PIVOT GUN, which is south of these two stations?

"No descriptive text available" - Hmmm.

I'm betting there's a drill hole there, and if so, can this station be brought back to life?

 

So many questions :D

~ Mitch ~

You can definitely bring a NonPub station if it has "D" status (No Description) back to life. You simply provide the description. But finding a definitive description may be a problem.

 

I have resurrected a few of these (I call them Lazarus Logs) by doing some research in old documents. That's how I got Pine Tree Monument and

Watatick State Line published. And the nice (unexpected) byproduct of the latter, is it turns out to be the oldest station in New Hampshire! Edit:I just noticed, it's now the "Least Recently Recovered Station" in the US (175 years since last recovery which was the monumentation) according to Holograph's site. Not bad for a Lazarus Log! (of course this is slightly bogus since it was non published, but I'll take it.)

 

As for the EOA, I am considering providing a description for Lippencott 1837 by giving the information on the occupation of the station given in S.P. 7, page 141, but I haven't gotten around to that. I usually say something like

Station was not visited at this time.

 

The following information is from Special Publication No. xxx "Blah blah" (1918):

 

Blah blah .....

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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Harry Dolphin (and others), Before digging again for SPRINGFIELD, see the 2-page newspaper clipping at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3080263040/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3079426829/ .

 

The clipping, entitled “From the Bureau of Geology” and dated Spring 1985, describes the unsuccessful searches for two of Hassler’s 1817 marks, SPRINGFIELD and CRANETOWN. The searchers included Ralph Post of NGS and Jeff Olsen, then of NJGCS, now of NGS. Despite considerable detective work and considerable field work (which included running traverses), they were not able to find either mark. CRANETOWN appears to be under a portion of a house. The section of the article on SPRINGFIELD indicates that there were two different SPRINGFIELDs! An NGS database search for the observations for station SPRINGFIELD RESET show no 1817 observations. The on-line description does indicate that SPRINGFIELD RESET was originally set in 1817, but that may be a mistake.

 

I believe the other 1817 stations have also been thoroughly searched for. The only remaining 1817 station that I am aware of is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. The on-site historian told me that the top, metal portion of the lighthouse was rebuilt in the 1850’s because of extension corrosion, so even it is not the exact object that Hassler pointed on. For a photo of the lighthouse, see: http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/founda...come.html#intro .

 

I also have a newspaper clipping describing the successful search for the old, original station DISBORO in New Jersey, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3080262964/ . The cones were replaced with disks in 1982, see the NGS description at: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_mark.prl?PidBox=KV5314 .

 

In PA, station WILLOW GROVE was found by Ralph Poust in 1978, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3079426885/ . The cone was broken, but still shiny on the outside. The NGS description is at: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_mark.prl?PidBox=KV3662 . The recovery notes do not mention 1978, but the 1983 recovery note mentions the “1978” stamping.

 

Sorry for the two poor scans, the copies I was working from were very dark.

 

For a photo of an old earthenware cone, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3077585617/

 

The 1978 work at WILLOW GROVE might be in the folder with other NJ work. I have sent an email asking about this.

 

GeorgeL

NGS

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An NGS database search for the observations for station SPRINGFIELD RESET show no 1817 observations. The on-line description does indicate that SPRINGFIELD RESET was originally set in 1817, but that may be a mistake.

...

GeorgeL

NGS

Thanks George, those are great references. But we all know that no matter who and how long some marks was searched for and not found, we might be the one to find it!

 

As for the 1817 marks occupied later, I noticed that as well. But I think it may not be a mistake. As we have discussed, the early Borden marks in Massachusetts set in the 1830s were re-occupied later by the USCS in the 1840s, but retain their original monumentation dates. The ones's I've looked at include MY3791 - WACHUSETT (1833), LW4436 - MANOMET (1835), LW2112 - GREAT MEADOW 1836 (1836), and LW2119 - COPECUT (1837). Those were all used in the EOA and were reoccupied in 1844 and 1845 by the USCS and ironically it was C. O. Boutelle who did the work for Bache (Hassler having died in 1843) since he had previously worked for Borden on those same stations about a decade earlier. And I've read a report by Boutelle on why MY4858 - THOMPSON was set in 1846 and used instead of MY4950 - RAILCUT (an 1834 Borden station). He calculated that Manomet would not be visible from RAILCUT, so the went to nearby Mount Thompson (now known as Mount Anne) , slightly higher and only a mile or 2 from RAILCUT to get the sight lines they needed.

 

I assume they didn't use Borden's original observations for a few possible reasons: 1) They couldn't find them, 2) They needed to reoccupy the sites anyway to observe on additional stations; 3) the original observations were not sufficiently precise or documented.

 

So it may have been the same for Hassler's 1817 stations. They found the stations and used them but had to remeasure to new stations anyway so they did not include the 1817 observations.

 

But when the data sheets were put together, the older records must have been around to give the original monumentation date, which was not necessarily the occupation date for the USCS surveys.

 

Which brings up the issue we have discussed: when you say how old a station is, do you use the date it was originally set, or when it was occupied and perhaps adjusted to a new value, higher order, etc. On GC we generally just look at the monumentation date, since the other more technical information tends not to appear on the data sheets.

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PB,

 

I remember those "Lazarus" discussions and in fact have submitted KW2650 as a Lazarus station. I went to the trouble of downloading the entire non-pub list and processing it so I could see it in Google Earth, then loaded them to my GPSr. I am so hard up for local stations I have started looking for ones that basically don't exist! I found KW2650 easily because it is an existing USGS station and I had the USGS description. I am waiting for it to magically un-destroy.

 

My concern with WILLOW GROVE is that there is useful information in the 1978 setting information that should be part of the NGS record, and if we can find that I can use it as part of my recovery, or even return to the station and take better measurements, then submit a recovery. I also wanted Deb to be aware of the situation--she may remove the destroyed status just based on the 2005 recovery text.

 

George,

Thanks for chiming in! It looks like the mark was legit, even though some of the historic documentation seemed to say differently. I wonder what happened to the cone! Hopefully NJGS will come through with the 1978 information and we can make a better datasheet from it.

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Harry Dolphin (and others), Before digging again for SPRINGFIELD, see the 2-page newspaper clipping at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3080263040/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3079426829/ .

GeorgeL

NGS

 

Dolphin is nothing, if not obstinant! Springfield Reset may not qualify for the Epping Base Net, but we will find it! Unfortunately, the references are to the missing witness post, and the triple trunk tree that we see (which is NOT a cherry) may not be old enough. Digging a foot deep hole, four feet across in a county reservation, right next to a trail. Hmm! We have found many of the reference marks, and rivets. Just a matter of digging. ;)

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Harry Dolphin (and others), Before digging again for SPRINGFIELD, see the 2-page newspaper clipping at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3080263040/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262796@N06/3079426829/ .

GeorgeL

NGS

 

Dolphin is nothing, if not obstinant! Springfield Reset may not qualify for the Epping Base Net, but we will find it! Unfortunately, the references are to the missing witness post, and the triple trunk tree that we see (which is NOT a cherry) may not be old enough. Digging a foot deep hole, four feet across in a county reservation, right next to a trail. Hmm! We have found many of the reference marks, and rivets. Just a matter of digging. :D

I like to think Harry has a fighting chance to recover Springfield. After all it was recovered in 1984 by the NGS (CLN) (maybe George knows who CLN is?) and then 1999 by PORT AUTHORITY OF NY + NJ 1999 (SSZ).

 

The initials SSZ are quite familiar to me. This guy must be a benchmark hunter who happens to work for the Port Authority. I first noticed the initials as the first recovery of PALISADES (in 2000) since the construction of the George Washington Bridge. Then I noticed he had recovered 456, a chiseled square in the Brooklyn Navy Yard thought to be the oldest bench mark in NYC (circa 1850) - they wouldn't let me in. Then when I looked into BUTTERMILK prior to Holtie's and my trip there last year, there were those initials "SSZ" in 2000. He scooped us all George, no? And when I went to find BOGART, the origin of the Staten Island coordinate system and supposedly destroyed in 1966, there they were again "SSZ", from 2000.

 

SSZ always seemed to have gotten to historic marks before me, and working for the Port Authority sure can't hurt in getting access. But hey, at least I beat him to PINE TREE MONUMENT :laughing: Good thing the Port Authority doesn't extend their reach up to the NH border. I'd like to meet him some day, sounds like a neat guy.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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There is a Scott Zelenak who posts over on rpls.com and is a surveyor who works for the NY Port Authority. - jlw

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"CLN"is now retired. He was the head of the 'mark maintenance' people that NGS had all over the country (now they have different duties and are called 'state advisors'). I think that each mark "duster" as they were nicknamed, used CLN's initials because he was the chief-of-party. So, the records for some of these recoveries in the 1970's and 1980's MAY be in NGS's New Jersey file. I have asked about this and will post when I hear something.

 

GeorgeL

NGS

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"No descriptive text available" - Hmmm.

I'm betting there's a drill hole there, and if so, can this station be brought back to life?

...

You can definitely bring a NonPub station if it has "D" status (No Description) back to life. You simply provide the description. But finding a definitive description may be a problem.

...

As for the EOA, I am considering providing a description for Lippencott 1837 by giving the information on the occupation of the station given in S.P. 7, page 141. ...

I just discovered that several of my recent NGS logs have been uploaded, including an EOA Lazarus Log, which I alluded to above.

 

Here's the log for Lippencott, formerly non-published: JU3242 LIPPINCOTT 1837. The nice part is now you have fully adjusted lat and long which may help with a recovery. Of course we don't know what's there. A drill hole? A cone buried 4 feet underground?

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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Up here on vacation visiting some friends who are locals. We spent a few days looking for the benchmarks on the baseline.

 

I have a question about the "copper bolt" which I'm told use to be the mount for the marble tablet. You don't mention the two survey seals that are on the ledge.

 

I don't have a get deal of experience benchmark hunting and also didn't see anything to indicate these in regards to coordinates or posting.

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Up here on vacation visiting some friends who are locals. We spent a few days looking for the benchmarks on the baseline.

 

I have a question about the "copper bolt" which I'm told use to be the mount for the marble tablet. You don't mention the two survey seals that are on the ledge.

 

I don't have a get deal of experience benchmark hunting and also didn't see anything to indicate these in regards to coordinates or posting.

Hi rgesch

 

Welcome to the hobby.

 

I'm not sure exactly what your question is, but an explanation on what is and what was there may help.

 

When the survey was originally done, a granite block was buried at the east end and another block was placed on top of it. In it's very center a drill hole was made and a copper bolt inserted. This bolt survives to this day. At the west end, a flat spot was carved from the ridge rock and a similar bolt was placed in it's center. This also survives.

 

These two bolts were used by the surveyors to mark the two ends of the base line. Then afterwards, a marble post was set on each end on top of these bolts. These were somewhat decorative, and were repeatedly vandalized and now are gone (although I think one is in a local museum). The loss of these posts however doesn't mean the geodetic position was lost, since it was the underlying bolt that actually marked the point.

 

There are also numerous reference monuments and mile markers along the line, but the two end points are the stations. Quite possibly the two seals you mention were the reference disks for the West Base. When I was there last year, it was getting dark and I didn't have a chance to look for them. Reference marks are put there to help you find the station and I usually do look for them all, but the station is the primary point.

 

These were recently surveyed using high accuracy GPS and the original bas line measurement was verified to within inches of it's original 1857 measurement.

 

Here's the East End block and bolt:

 

67c7eb93-e907-4dd5-9fb7-b9a9b3237b0f.jpg

click for larger image

 

More detail and photos can be found in my log: East Base log

 

And here's the West End rock and bolt. You'll notice some cement along the back side of the spot. I believe this is a remnant of the cement that was used to mount the marble column when it was repaired in 1964.

 

e44f284e-b059-4f99-b14b-4aaf957dabb1.jpg

click for larger image

 

More detail and photos can be found in my log: West Base log

 

Hope you enjoyed your visit. That's a beautiful area.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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