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True Meridian Markers

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Your benchmark kv1386 is quite interesting. Great photos! Not a student of navigation but one who is curious, can someone explain why the meridian at this location is not located at W75.00.000.Were the original calculations off that much or is this a datum thing or am I just off base here? thanks MICKYD

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A little more digging and it seems a True Meridian can be established anywhere. Relatively high accuracy can be obtained by tracking the shadow of a verticle rod with respect to time of day. Also observation of Polaris.


They were typically established near the county government facilities (Courthouse etc.) as a public reference to a known true north south line.


May have found another nearby, but, only one end is documented.

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Circum is correct, a meridian can be established anywhere. The preferred method is astronomical observation and Polaris or other stars can be used. These are unusual monuments and I suspect they may occur only in the northeast. They are probably very old and Im glad to see them honored in this way.

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Finally found some information about the True Meridian markers in Flemington, NJ KV1386 and KV1388. Thanks to the archives of the Hunterdon County Democrat (a local newspaper which dates from the time of the markers), I have found two articles on the monuments.


The first, from May 6, 1884, discusses the establishment of the markers. The second, from November 2, 1939 goes into detail about the markers use and background.


Copies can be downloaded as Adobe Acrobat files (.psf) from Meridian Articles. The file is large, 2.4 MB, so be patient on slow connections.

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Very interesting find, circum.


According to 1884 and 1939 newspaper articles he posts, all New Jersey counties were required by an 1963 law to establish meridian markers such as this one. Assuming they were, in fact, created, I wonder if any of the others still exist.


One thing I find notable is that, according to their NGS datasheets, these two station are not located with any significant precision relative to the datum, even though their position with respect to each other is well-established.


KV1386.The horizontal coordinates were scaled from a topographic map and have

KV1386.an estimated accuracy of +/- 6 seconds

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I did a search on the NGS page of any stations that have a station name beginning with "MERIDIAN". I had to do each state separately because of the way they have the search set up. I came up with 103 hits, including 4 sets that I think fit the meridan stones being discussed here. Sorry, I don't have time to include the URLs here.


LW4252, LW4251 and LW4184 - MA/NANTUCKET

LW4005, LW4007 and LW4012 - MA/BARNSTABLE

NA0879 and NA0878 - NY/OTSEGO

NA1600 and NA1599 - NY/MADISON


Both sets in Massachustts had the middle and north stones moved at some point to get them true and the Barnstable ones sound like they're still not quite in line.


If anyone wants the entire list of 103, I could post it, but it won't be until next week after TG.

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The folks at the Hunterdon Democrat were kind enough to get me a digital image from the original print...



Also, saw a compass, like the one pictured, on E-Bay recently for over $2000. Even obsloete instruments are expensive.


Earler in the thread I mentioned KV1178 and KV1400 which are a similar set of markers in Somerville, NJ. Hopefully, Rog's list will turn up some more!

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Originally posted by Circum:

Hopefully, Rog's list will turn up some more!


Do you want the entire list of 103? I can post it but I don't think it will be very useful. Most of the have a station name beginning with Meridian because of something other than it is a meridian stone (e.g. Meridian, MS).

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