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The debate: Sugarloaf Mountain


foxtrot_xray
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In this case, datasheets, historical documents, and in-person observations seem to be a little conflicting. A few members here have reported on the affected marks with some question as to what was found. I went with mloser a couple weeks ago to look at the area, having no previous experience with these marks to see what I thought.

 

Here are my thoughts.

 

Background:

There are tree stations at the top of this mountain:

[JV4593] SUGAR LOAF ERDL [gc|ngs]

[JV4592] SUGAR LOAF S 1865 [gc|ngs]

[JV4590] SUGAR LOAF RESET [gc|ngs]

 

First, the two stations under scrutiny are "S" and "RESET". "ERDL" has nothing confusing about it in regards to the other two.

 

The Issue:

The main point of contention here is the location of "S". According to the newer datasheets, the coordinates for "S" are roughly 10.6 meters at 286.5 degrees from "RESET". This is confirmed by the PID BOX on "RESET":

JV4590| JV4592 SUGAR LOAF S 1865                    10.625 METERS 28633     |
JV4592* NAD 83(1993)-  39 15 44.70217(N)    077 23 36.41479(W)     ADJUSTED

Even by using my benchmark overlay and the "measure" tool in Google Earth, you get darn accurate results to the above numbers.

 

Compound that with the lack of local description for the "S" mark except in relation to "a boulder" and the "RESET" mark:

 JV4592'DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1865 (JAS)
JV4592'A DRILL HOLE IN BOULDER MARKS THE STATION.
[...]
JV4592'THE ANGLE AT SUGAR LOAF STATION WITH PRIMARY STATION MARYLAND
JV4592'HEIGHTS AND PRIMARY STATION SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN IS 106 DEG 33 MIN
JV4592'00.83 SEC.  THE STATION OF 1864 IS SW FROM THE PRIMARY STATION
JV4592'TWENTY-FIVE FEET AND ONE INCH (25.083 FEET).

However, as should be obvious no matter how you look at it, 25.083 feet does not equal 10.625 meters. Without any other local references (which boulder? Any trees nearby? And other landmarks nearby?) it leaves it all up to one measurement, which isn't consistent.

 

As mlord has done some research, so did I. I found the following in a report available at books.google.com:

House documents, otherwise publ. as Executive documents: 13th congress, 2d

Triangulation of the Potomac River, Ya.—The local triangulation made of the Upper Potomac, by Assistant J. A. Sullivan in 1864 has been connected with the primary work at Sugar Loaf Mountain, on which the station first occupied was found to be nearly coincident with the point subsequently determined in the progress of the general geodetic operations.. Early in July, Mr. Sullivan went to his station of 1864, and carefully determined its position relative to two primary points, which were occupied a few years ago by Assistant Boutelle, one on that mountain and the other on Maryland Heights. After measuring the horizontal angle, Assistant Sullivan ascertained the exact distance (a little over twenty-five feet) between his station of 1864 and the primary triangulation point on Sugar Loaf Mountain. His subsequent service in the field has been mentioned under Section II.

 

So the short of it is:

Where is the 1985 station? 10 meters WNW, or 25 feet NW from "RESET"?

 

In-person Observation:

We went up to the top of the mountain, and got some measurements. We measured 25.3 to 25.5 feet between the unknown drill hole and "RESET" by a tape line. We then measured out 10.65 meters from "RESET", and swung in an arc WNW of "RESET", in case our compasses weren't exact. We did find boulders, but none were large enough to support a drill hole without cracking. Measuring from "RESET" to the 'unknown' drill hole gave us a distance very close to 25.08 feet, especially when taking in tape sag into place. (Since we weren't using levels, and also didn't have plumbs to make sure we were directly over the two drill holes, that's some additional error there.)

 

Personal Conclusion:

I am 85% sure that there was never a drill hole 10.6 meters WNW of "RESET", and that the old documents stating 25.08 feet are correct. This means that the adjusted coordinates for "S" are incorrect, as is the PID BOX for "RESET". (The two may be connected (meaning that, if for some reason coordinates were updated for "S", would the PID BOX automatically be updated? I don't know - that'd be a question for George or DaveD.) I doubt this would affect the Eastern Oblique Arc, but THAT would be a question for PapaBear. :)

 

Of course, that being the case, it begs to ask - where did the 10.6 meters come from? Or 'incorrect' coordinates? Did something not get translated correctly when switching datums? Or get copied down from notes into the NGS's database incorrectly?

 

Unrelated Questions:

A couple other things and oddities came up, not *directly* related to the above question:

  • A few feet from "RESET" is a chiseled triangle. Due to weathering, it's really hard to determine if anything was in the triangle. It's located almost directly south of "RESET", between two of its reference marks. No mention of this in any datasheet, tho it IS old. It is NOT 25 feet or 10 meters from "RESET"
  • In the "RESET" description, other than the PID BOX, there's no mention of an Azimuth mark, until 1951, where reference to one suddenly appears. On top of that, it's simply described as:
    THE PROPERTY OWNER HAS CENTERED THE AZIMUTH MARK WITH A 3/4-INCH DRILL HOLE 6 INCHES DEEP AND THE TAPED DISTANCE FROM STATION TO MARK IS 212.29 FEET.
    Personally, I thought this was odd, since there's no reference to an AZ mark before, and suddenly property owners are drilling holes in them.
  • "ERDL" has one record - monumented - on it's datasheet, however the disk is stamped "RESET 1957-1994". Someone reset the disk, and didn't update the datasheet. Tsk tsk.
  • "RESET" is named so for a reason, according to the first recovery in 1892:
    IN 1892 THE DRILL HOLE IN THE LEDGE MARKING THE STATION CENTER WAS FOUND, BUT ALL OTHER MARKS HAD BEEN DESTROYED. A BRASS BOLT 1 INCH IN DIAMETER AND 5 INCHES LONG WAS SET IN THE DRILL HOLE
    This tells me that this "RESET" datasheet isn't the original station that was there. What "all other marks"? Perhaps the triangle was part of this pre-"RESET"?
  • One other thing, that I can't seem to remember at the moment. :(

 

That's my summary. Thoughts are welcome. :D

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Since I was the one with Foxtrot I guess I should be the first to comment, but he pretty much summed up our day on the mountain. He and I spent about 3 hours up there, or at least it FELT like 3 hours. It was at least 2. We measured and measured. I even carried a 1 inch PVC pipe with me so we could get a level measurement from the suspected "S" mark to the 1892 mark, which came up as 25.3 feet, as he mentions. On my previous visit to Sugar Loaf I had a 10 year old hold the dumb end of the tape for me at the hole in the boulder while I tried to eyeball the distance to the 1892 mark--the difference in elevations is about 5 feet. I came up with 25(ish) feet at that time and was pretty happy with the result.

 

Like he said, we searched at the location indicated by our GPS units for the "S" mark and found nothing at all, and not even anything suitable for the placement of a mark. The whole area was small boulders with no real flat area to carve a hole. I won't say it couldn't be done, as Ernmark and I were also stumped by the supposed location of another Sullivan mark at Maryland Heights, which, if it was where the coordinates indicated, was in a very unlikely location in the crotch of a ledge. I have seen stranger locations (three visits to Port Clinton 1880 have turned up nothing but a lot of head scratching that the mark would have been set in a crack in the boulder that is 6 inches wide and 2 feet deep, or HOW it could have been set--there is no room to manipulate a drill and hammer at all).

 

The suspected "S" mark, on top of a large boulder, is definitely a man-made thing. Someone took the time to flatten out a spot on the boulder and then to drill a hole into that flat spot. The hole appears to have been chiseled instead of drilled because it is very irregular in shape and is even a bit undercut at spots. It is also HUGE for a tri-station drill hole, probably 1 1/2 inches in "diameter", if I can use that word. It is located at the back of the boulder (back being the place away from the 1892 mark) and to the side of the boulder, not centered or even at a place that could be considered on top. I searched the top of the boulder for small chisel marks where a tripod could have been located but didn't see anything obvious. My thinking was based on this image 41235729-3dce-4d68-905a-6189893333a1.jpg of the setup at Topton. You can clearly see where they made a chisel mark for the near tripod leg to sit in, and I found the indentation in the rock. I stood over the mark and tried to imagine how they would have set up on top of it and came up empty. I just couldn't see how a tripod could have been put over the hole without a lot of extra work. Is it possible that the hole would have only been used for a flag/signal/heliotrope?

 

The other marks we found up there confuse me as much as they did Foxtrot. We found all but one reference mark for Sugar Loaf reset--the mysterious SUGAR LOAF RM with an angle but no distance. It almost made me wonder if Sugar Loaf Reset is in the same location as the original Sugar Loaf (1865?). Without the original description we may never know, but is it possible that Sugar Loaf is the chiseled triangle we all found, and Sugar Loaf Reset is in one of the reference marks (a drill hole)?

 

So now, while I used to be positive that the oddly shaped hole in the big boulder was Sugar Loaf S, I now have a bit of doubt about everything on top of that mountain.

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Thoughts are welcome. :D

 

1. 1892 arrow #3/1927 RM 2 drill hole & disk recess is being logged as the station for both JV4590 and JV04592.

 

2. Could the hole now identified a SUGAR LOAF S 1865 have held what Hayseed 40 logged on 17 Jan 04? "Found this marker near a removed disk on Sugarloaf. It's a brass triangle in round hole." Or is this mark now hiding under leaf litter.

 

3. Was the triangular brass bar used during a specific time period? The only one I have is from 1869.

 

1eebe321-ccfa-42bd-9f30-77c1381fd0f7.jpg

 

SG0262

 

4. Is there a new PID in the works for the RESET SUGAR LOAF ERDL? kayakbird

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1. 1892 arrow #3/1927 RM 2 drill hole & disk recess is being logged as the station for both JV4590 and JV04592.

Yeah - I noticed that there are a lot of incorrect logs for all three stations up there. That's why I'm not paying them too much attention, actually, instead kept notes in the post above to hard documents. :)

 

2. Could the hole now identified a SUGAR LOAF S 1865 have held what Hayseed 40 logged on 17 Jan 04? "Found this marker near a removed disk on Sugarloaf. It's a brass triangle in round hole." Or is this mark now hiding under leaf litter.

Huh. It.. COULD have. However, if it did, whomever removed it did a good job of also removing the cement to hold the triangle in place. (The "S" drill-hole was very much cleaned out down to inner rock walls, no sign of any cement having ever been in there. I will admit, while we were there, we didn't see ANY brass "triangle" in a hole. We did not, however, do much digging, so if it was in a lower spot, it may still be there. I may have to run back up and do a quick check for this. It's possible that he was referring to "RESET" which is a brass bolt - note that the bolt isn't necessarily "round". :)

 

3. Was the triangular brass bar used during a specific time period? The only one I have is from 1869.

4. Is there a new PID in the works for the RESET SUGAR LOAF ERDL? kayakbird

These two, I don't know. I sent both GeorgeL and DaveD a link here in case they had any thoughts, maybe they will chime in. If not, Holograph may be able to do a search on all datasheets to find all references to a triangle? :)

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Blackdog Trackers posted pics of Sugar Loaf S in 2004 so I doubt that the hole held a bar. I suspect he saw the Sugar Loaf Reset and thought it was a triangle. He mentioned that it was near a removed disk, and that had to be one of the Sugar Loaf Reset RMs. Maybe we SHOULD have dug more!

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A good one to burn up a few hours of a long winter night.

 

First sentence seem to be from 1865 to RESET 1892 NOTE: Bold date add ins are my attempt to maintain order.

 

JV4592 DESIGNATION - SUGAR LOAF S 1865

 

JV4592'THE ANGLE AT SUGAR LOAF STATION [1865] WITH PRIMARY STATION MARYLAND

JV4592'HEIGHTS AND PRIMARY STATION SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN [RESET 1892] IS 106 DEG 33 MIN

 

bearing is the reciprocal of the call:

 

JV4592 SUGAR LOAF S 1865 10.625 METERS 28633

 

However, the town of Maryland Heights is out to the NW.

 

2nd is from RESET 1892 to NONPID 1864

 

JV4592'00.83 SEC. THE STATION OF 1864 IS SW FROM THE PRIMARY STATION {RESET 1892}

JV4592'TWENTY-FIVE FEET AND ONE INCH (25.083 FEET).

JV4592'

JV4592'THE STATION OF 1864 IS NEARLY ON LINE TO BULL RUN MOUNTAIN FROM

JV4592'THE PRIMARY STATION {RESET 1892} ON SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN.

 

Is there a Bull Run Mountain? I found two Hogbacks to the southwest.

 

Erroneous RECOVERY notes - did they even see the BRASS BOLT?

 

JV4590 STATION RECOVERY (1934)

JV4590

JV4590'RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1934 (HHH)

JV4590'THE TRIANGULATION STATION MARKER HAS BEEN BROKEN OFF SO THAT

JV4590'ONLY THE BRASS STEM REMAINS IN THE HOLE.

 

1927 RECOVERY notes do not mention the 1865 mark

 

JV4590'THE SULLIVAN MARK MENTIONED IN THE 1927 RECOVERY NOTE REFERS

JV4590'TO THE STATION SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN, ESTABLISHED BY J.A. SULLIVAN

JV4590'IN 1865.

 

Anyway, my rough hand drawn map based on this interpretation puts RESET 1892 at 12 o'clock,

1864 bears SW {7:30} 25 ft 1 in and the 1865 Sullivan station bears

286 degree 33 min 00.83 sec {9:30} 10.625 Meters.

 

The only SWAG conclusion that I have come up with is yes, the 1892 RESET is in the same hole as

the original 'PRIMARY STATION SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN, maybe set in 1864. The reason for the second 1864 hole

that is in the calls is mystery - maybe a first recon that had to be shifted to clear all sight lines.

 

kayakbird

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In general, my thinking is that there was a station set in 1864, then Sullivan showed up and set one in 1865, perhaps not knowing about the 1864 one. In 1892 the 1864 one was found and the chiseled arrow RMs set. In 1927 the disks were set in the 1864/1892 hole. Somewhere one or more errors seem to have crept into the datasheets. It could be that one of the marks isn't the one we think it is and there is a third hole out there somewhere (we did a pretty good job of looking but we could have missed something for sure), or it could be that a description is off--it seems "S" is described as being in two different directions and two separate distances from Sugar Loaf 1892. Is it the same mark or is there another?

 

I would be happy to take another trip up the hill. It isn't an arduous hike and the more minds the better. This time I could even remember my regular compass--the one on my GPSr was just not behaving well.

 

Edited for grammatical issues.

Edited by mloser
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Snow bound in Lewistown, Mont so I expanded my radial search out to 20 miles from

the Sugar Loaf complex and found these 18 miles northwest.

 

JV4626 DESIGNATION - MARYLAND HEIGHTS S [1865]

 

JV4626* NAD 83(1993)- 39 20 10.03226(N) 077 43 08.27952(W) ADJUSTED

 

and

 

JV4628 DESIGNATION - MARYLAND HEIGHTS RESET [1927/1933/1957]

 

JV4628* NAD 83(1993)- 39 20 27.75147(N) 077 42 59.04177(W) ADJUSTED

 

JV4628'DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1887 {original 1864?} [logged disk photo's have 1869 date}

 

f8ab10ff-7ac0-41e8-a794-c1e74c6f2e9d.jpg

 

JV4628

 

1957 description does not indicate if the original underground copper bolt was found and held.

 

JV4628_SETTING: 80 = SET IN A BOULDER

JV4628_SP_SET: IN A DRILL HOLE IN ROCK LEDGE

 

JV4628'THE STATION WAS MARKED AS FOLLOWS--UNDERGROUND MARK IS A CROSS

JV4628'CUT IN THE HEAD OF A COPPER BOLT SET IN A LARGE ROCK 2 FEET BELOW

 

it does give a call to

 

JV4628| CK8065 SUGAR LOAF AZ MK 1081448.1 |

 

MARYLAND HEIGHTS S [1865] gives a bearing to an AZ, but none of the lines cross in a likely spot

 

JV4626| CK7840 MARYLAND HEIGHTS AZ MK 1022501.1 |

 

JV4628| CK7840 MARYLAND HEIGHTS AZ MK 1081448.5 |

JV4628| CK7846 MARYLAND HEIGHTS AZ MK 2 1125708.9 |

 

JV4628| CK7845 MARYLAND HEIGHTS AZ MK RESET 1184840.5 |

 

Never did learn enough CAD to try to make a nice plot out of all this info! kayakbird

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2. Could the hole now identified a SUGAR LOAF S 1865 have held what Hayseed 40 logged on 17 Jan 04? "Found this marker near a removed disk on Sugarloaf. It's a brass triangle in round hole." Or is this mark now hiding under leaf litter.

 

4. Is there a new PID in the works for the RESET SUGAR LOAF ERDL? kayakbird

Re: #2; I could never figure out what Hayseed40 said he found. I saw no "brass triangle in round hole" anywhere up there.

Re: #4; I wrote to Deb at NGS about the RESET SUGAR LOAF ERDL and provided a photo of the RESET disk in the location. She replied that it was not JV4593; no surprise to me. I suspect however that the now-existing disk was cemented in or very near the original hole of JV4593, however, since it is not the same disk as described for JV4593, the present disk is not a find of JV4593. Deb made no statement about making a PID for the RESET disk. No doubt the "L shaped boulder" was a lot more L-shaped before lots of people walked around there, exposing more of the rock.

 

Blackdog Trackers posted pics of Sugar Loaf S in 2004 so I doubt that the hole held a bar. I suspect he saw the Sugar Loaf Reset and thought it was a triangle. He mentioned that it was near a removed disk, and that had to be one of the Sugar Loaf Reset RMs. Maybe we SHOULD have dug more!

The 'Sugar Loaf S' mark hole certainly looked like a triangle to me when I was there. You can see that in the picture I took in the log for JV4590 in the picture called "Mystery mark 2".

I did no digging up on Sugarloaf Mountain. All marks were obvious without digging since they were all well above dirt level or on large bare rock surfaces.

I'm pretty conservative about calling a find, and since all the data from the datasheets is not solidly conclusive about where JV4592 is, I did not claim a find that the obvious hole near the top of the 8-foot tall rock is actually JV4592.

 

The "brass triangle in round hole" is still a mystery. The only triangles I saw were "Mystery mark 1", a large lichen-filled carved triangle on flat rock, and the triangular hole (maybe it just looked triangular because of a particular depth of water in it that day) on top of the 8-foot tall boulder.

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