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frex3wv

Meridian Marks

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Well well, as if scaled NGS marks aren't hard enough to find, and USGS marks even harder, along came the Meridian marks topic (an offshoot of the USGS thread.)

 

While looking for USGS marks, along came the mention of Meridian marks.

 

Here is what DaveD had to say:

 

"Meridian marks were set by both USC&GS and USGS. The marks were usually set in pairs a couple of hundred feet apart. In many cases they were set on or near the grounds of a county courthouse. The primary function of these marks was to provide an authoritative location where surveyors could come and compare their compasses against a known magnetic bearing (azimuth). Typically the USC&GS/USGS field team would determine the magnetic bearing between the two monuments then perform an astronomic observation, in most cases a solar (sun shot) to determine the "geodetic" or "true" bearing of the line. Surveyors could then set their compass on one station, backsight the other and determine what, if any offset they needed to apply to their instruments. In some communities it was required that surveyors perform this function annually. These stations also served as reference sites for the determination and monitoring of the change in magnetic variation. For many years USC&GS and USGS produced maps of local and regional magnetic variation. As the use of transits and later theodolites replaced the use of the compass for surveys the need for these stations for that application faded away. Today they are a true relic of surveying history."

 

It looks like the description of these marks are even MORE vague then USGS descriptions! It also looks like even within a few years (I have been looking at late 1880's early 1990's) they change.

 

While Dave D. mentioned a grouping of 2 marks not too far apart, here in my area - a grouping of 3 with a mile or more in distance has been noticed.

 

Let the discussion begin!

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About five years ago, the North Carolina Geodetic Survey became curious to see how many of the State's meridan markers remained. A challenge went out to professional surveyors and other interested parties, including benchmark hunters. I found the first set in Mocksville, NC. One of the meridian stones was a reference mark for a modern triangulation station. Using that clue, I found the other stone about 100 feet away. Then, in Raeford, a reference on a USGS topo map hinted that the southern meridian could be found in a cemetery--having been relocated from the courthouse. A field trip proved that the reference was, indeed, the stone. The northern stone was found with the top broken off.

 

One interesting hunt was in Burnsville, NC, where the stones were said to be in a cemetery on the south side of town. My wife and I made an exhaustive search, but found nothing. Then I consulted the original notes from the survey party and discovered the stone could not possibly be south of town because of the bearings to known landmarks. It had to be north of town. As we drove to a cafe for lunch, I spotted a directional sign to the "Historic Burnsville Cemetery". After lunch, we followed the signs and discovered the southern magnetic station. The northern station was not found.

 

Meanwhile, professionals were finding meridians in their areas, including Asheville in Western NC, and some in the far eastern section of the state. One amusing find occured when the Register of Deeds in Lincolnton crawled under some bushes by the courthouse during her lunch hour and discovered the Lincoln County meridians.

 

The search continued for a couple of years, with benchmark hunters making the majority of the finds. In Roxboro, the Person County stones were said to have been relocated from the courthouse to a large cemetery. It was too big and there were too few clues to go on, so I contacted a group of folks who make a hobby of inventoring headstones. They said, yes, they had seen two stones with USGS-NCGS on them. They went out and took GPS readings, which allowed me to visit the site and complete the documentation.

 

We had a lot of great experiences. Some successes were the result of digging in courthouse records and doing other kinds of research. And some were just dumb luck--such as in Union County where the stones had been moved from the courthouse grounds, but no one remembered where they went. One day, a benchmark hunter was driving along a rural road and spotted the unique shape of a meridian stone in the front yard of a house. A check of the chain of title showed the property once was owned by the county surveyor. In Chapel Hill, a meridian was found by looking at the 1930 Sanborne Fire Map and plotting the bearings to old church steeples, as recorded by the orignal survey party.

 

In a few cases, the stones still remained at the county courthouse--in Columbus NC, Taylorsville, Ruferfordton, and several others. When stones had been relocated, the most frequent place they ended up was in a cemetery, followed closely by the grounds of a county home. All of the monument pairs were approximately 100 feet apart, and those which had been moved had been repositioned in a true North-South line. Other than the Burnsville stones being north of town instead of south, I found only one other error. In Swain County, the descriptions were reversed; i.e., to find the northern monument in a cemetery, I had to use the headstone references for the southern monument, and vice versa.

 

Sadly, about half of the stones in our 100 counties were never located--partly because after several years, some of us had put over a thousand miles on our cars and had spent as much time on the project as employers and spouses would allow. [Grin.] But it was a great experience, and NCGS was impressed by what a group of benchmark hunters with no professional surveying experience could do. It wasn't too long afterward that I got a call from Gary Thompson and Roger Barnes saying, "You know, there are some old 1885 monuments that we're looking for along the NC-VA state line......"

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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--such as in Union County where the stones had been moved from the courthouse grounds, but no one remembered where they went. One day, a benchmark hunter was driving along a rural road and spotted the unique shape of a meridian stone in the front yard of a house.

 

 

Can anyone post a picture of one of these. Knowing what one looks like might help incase I just stumble upon one.

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frex3wv & all,

 

Here's the Meridian Mark thread - but I do remember some neat pictures of some somewhere else.

 

Would nautical miles make a difference in your quest? Two measurement lines on Google Earth would be pretty easy. MEL

Edited by kayakbird

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Moved some of this from the USGS thread as it more rightly belongs here.

 

(from other thread) If anyone knows how to do this - I need the coordinates (in same format for use in GPS) exactly one mile north and one mile south of: N 38° 21.229 W 081° 37.582

 

John wrote back on other thread: Coordinates for 1 mile north are 38° 22.159' & 81° 37.509'.

For 1 mile south they are 38° 20.352' & 81° 37.558'.

 

The description I am going by from 1902 says “is about 1 mile north” “is about 1 mile south on the side of a hill”

 

It concludes: “The county surveyor knows the locations of these monuments.”

 

Any thoughts anyone?

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I think I've found three sets (or two-and-a-half). "Located near the county courthouse' is usually the give-away.

KV1338 & KV1386Flemington, Hunterdon, NJ.

kv1400 & KV1178, Somerville, Somersetm NJ.

And the half... LY1068 Is the South Meridian stone in Honesdale, Wayne County, PA. The north meridian stone there, if it still exists,is not listed at NGS.

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I only know of 3 marks in Michigan that specifically seem to be placed to mark the Michigan Meridian.

 

The meridian mark is mentioned in the datasheet of this benchmark and marks the North end of the Michigan Meridian:

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=rj0028

 

These two marks are set on the meridian at or near where the Michigan Baseline and Michigan Meridian meet:

http://www.Waymarking.com/waymarks/WMA4FT_Michigan_Meridian_Baseline_State_Park

http://www.Waymarking.com/waymarks/WMA4VH_Michigan_Prime_Meridian_Benchmark

(The Southern one marks where the baseline from the West meets the Meridian while the Northern one marks where the baseline from the East meets the Meridian.)

 

There are plenty of other marks along the Meridian (thanks to the PLSS) but I don't know of any specifically placed to mark the Michigan Meridian.

 

There seem to be Meridian Marks in the Waymarking database too. (Though a lot of the ones I saw on my first search were foreign.)

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Moved some of this from the USGS thread as it more rightly belongs here.

 

(from other thread) If anyone knows how to do this - I need the coordinates (in same format for use in GPS) exactly one mile north and one mile south of: N 38° 21.229 W 081° 37.582

 

John wrote back on other thread: Coordinates for 1 mile north are 38° 22.159' & 81° 37.509'.

For 1 mile south they are 38° 20.352' & 81° 37.558'.

 

The description I am going by from 1902 says "is about 1 mile north" "is about 1 mile south on the side of a hill"

 

It concludes: "The county surveyor knows the locations of these monuments."

 

Any thoughts anyone?

 

The coordinates I posted are exactly 1 mile each direction (not about 1 mile). You would then need to use the description for final location of the marks.

 

John

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John: Yes I know - and to be honest I didn't really notice the "about" term till after. I was suprised when i re-read a description i had read time and again and then noticed it (and wow - so vague for a surveyor!) Thanks for your coordinates, I am sure somehow they are a helpful part of this puzzle - but to date - still stumped!

 

Kayak: I can later today when I get home but I don't think it will offer any insight. What are your thoughts?

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>>>>>>>>>>>>

Kayak: I can later today when I get home but I don't think it will offer any insight. What are your thoughts?

>>>>>>

 

Why not full disclosure when you are requesting information on this forum?

 

Frequently someone can 'read between the lines' of a vague description. My thoughts (hinted at above)is that maybe they were aiming at a point one minute [= one nautical mile] north and south.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautical_mile

 

kayakbird

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frex3WV,

Check with the county Surveyor's Office for an update on the location. By phone, the web, or better yet, in person.

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Kayak:

 

Certainly happy to post the the whole description - will do so from home later when I have it in front of me. I hope someone can read between the lines because I am having no luck.

 

Xyzee: I have tried that. Here in this county the surveyor doesn't have an "office" etc so it is a challenge tracking him down. The folks in the map room have no idea about it. I have emailed the county surveyor in hopes he will let me have access to any and all notes from the late 1800's/early 1900/s but no reply as of yet!

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DaveD posted these coordinates in the USGS thread: Coordinates for 1 mile north are -- 38 22.099 / 81 37.582

Coordinates for 1 mile south are -- 38 20.359 / 81 37.582

Computed using NGS utility FORWARD.

 

So I found a different description of the marks (note south is 1/1/2 miles while another publication said 1 mile)

 

Here it is: "Three stone posts determine the meridian. One is a sandstone set 75.25 feet south of station in lawn of Mr. Savage's house; one is set on a hill about 1 mile north on land belonging to Jefferson Savage; and one is on the side of a hill about 1/1/2 miles south. Each post has a copper bolt in the center of top."

 

There is another I will post later - but not much difference. The Jefferson Savage home MAY be on Elmore Ave in Charleston.

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DaveD posted these coordinates in the USGS thread: Coordinates for 1 mile north are -- 38 22.099 / 81 37.582

Coordinates for 1 mile south are -- 38 20.359 / 81 37.582

Computed using NGS utility FORWARD.

 

So I found a different description of the marks (note south is 1/1/2 miles while another publication said 1 mile)

 

Here it is: "Three stone posts determine the meridian. One is a sandstone set 75.25 feet south of station in lawn of Mr. Savage's house; one is set on a hill about 1 mile north on land belonging to Jefferson Savage; and one is on the side of a hill about 1/1/2 miles south. Each post has a copper bolt in the center of top."

 

There is another I will post later - but not much difference. The Jefferson Savage home MAY be on Elmore Ave in Charleston.

 

If you go to the middle stone you can do a projection with your GPSr for the other 2 stones. That should put you very close to where you need to be and then follow the descriptions.

 

You have been to the first stone, right, so you have accurate coordinates to work from?

 

John

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DaveD posted these coordinates in the USGS thread: Coordinates for 1 mile north are -- 38 22.099 / 81 37.582

Coordinates for 1 mile south are -- 38 20.359 / 81 37.582

Computed using NGS utility FORWARD.

 

So I found a different description of the marks (note south is 1/1/2 miles while another publication said 1 mile)

 

Here it is: "Three stone posts determine the meridian. One is a sandstone set 75.25 feet south of station in lawn of Mr. Savage's house; one is set on a hill about 1 mile north on land belonging to Jefferson Savage; and one is on the side of a hill about 1/1/2 miles south. Each post has a copper bolt in the center of top."

 

There is another I will post later - but not much difference. The Jefferson Savage home MAY be on Elmore Ave in Charleston.

 

If you go to the middle stone you can do a projection with your GPSr for the other 2 stones. That should put you very close to where you need to be and then follow the descriptions.

 

You have been to the first stone, right, so you have accurate coordinates to work from?

 

John

 

Remember that the mark you will be looking for is on the meridian line and therefore the longitude you get at the center stone will apply to the other two stones that you seek. When you get to the coordinates projected for the other stone, you will only need to look straight north or straight south to find them. They will be along the longitude coordinates determined at the center stone. Should be an easy find, since they will be along the meridian line. Unless of course they are gone!

 

John

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Here is the middle stone's coordinates again - N 38° 21.229 W 081° 37.582

 

John can you break down how to do what you are saying alittle more for me as I am not very good at this stuff.

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From those coordinates the north marker should be at N 38 22.099, W 81 37.582 and the south marker should be at N 38 19.924, W 81 37.582. Calculated using GeoCalc 0.9.50.

 

Google Earth puts the north marker between the two houses at 221 & 225 Garrison Avenue and the south marker behind the house at 1857 Loudon Heights Circle.

 

Is that the center marker in the center of the picture?

 

HTH

MiridanMark.JPG

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Yes - the mark is in the center of the pic. I Checked for the original mark set earlier but it appears gone(hence the one you see in view that was set to be permanent.) I anm looking for marks that would look exactly like this one.

 

I plan to search for the south mark on Saturday since the area you have it in is undeveloped.

Edited by frex3wv

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The north one may be there too. The area behind the houses seems undeveloped and higher than where Google Earth puts the mark. I assume it must be high to be seen from the center mark.

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68: Utilizing your coordinates as a starting spot when I get on sight - how big an area would you suggest searching? Is there any reason to think we are missing something and could be really looking in the wrong spots?

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I don't think I would take the distances to the North and South marks too literally. I believe that when they were set, the marks would have been intervisible, so the North mark was probably close to the top of the hill near where Camden Drive makes a corner. The South mark is described as being on the side of the hill, so it was probably somewhere between Loudon Heights Circle and the coords provided by 68-eldo. Given the amount of development in these two locations, the likelihood that the marks still exist could be pretty slim. But, if you're going to look, follow John's suggestion and try to keep the Longitude reading on your GPS as close to the center mark's Longitude as possible.

Good Luck!

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Holtie:

 

Can you tell me "how" to do this: "try to keep the Longitude reading on your GPS as close to the center mark's Longitude as possible."

what am I looking for/at on the GPS?

 

These marks were set in - I think - 1898 (give or take) - so based on that - is your analysis still the same? I just wonder how careful they would have been with all 3 marks - since they had a specific goal in mind with the instruments of the day.

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If I understand what the Meridian Marks were used for was to calibrate their instruments for north south measurements. That means that the marks are on a north south line, they all have the same longitude. Notice the three coordinates for the marks all have the same west coordinate.

N 38 22.099, W 81 37.582

N 38 21.229, W 81 37.582

N 38 19.924, W 81 37.582

 

Since you have found the center mark, you know the longitude for all the marks. Your search should not deviate more that a little bit from that line.

 

Keep in mind that the marks are visible to each other so look in places that would be visible to the center mark. With the vague distance the North mark may be closer to N 38 22.413 W 81 37.582 which is on top of a hill on the meridian. That would make it more visible form the center mark. The south mark is listed as being on the side of a hill so it is not on the peak. So look on the north side of the hill but stay on the meridian (W 81 37.582).

 

Do not rely on the aerial photos in Google Earth or Google Maps. They are pretty good but may not be exactly right as there maybe some distortion and that will send you off target.

 

Hope all this helps.

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Thanks 68 and everyone. Will be searching for the south stone today around 1:30.

 

Will report back tonight.

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First - THANKS to all who posted above about my specific search.

 

Sorry but no real news to report. 1) I went to hunt for the south mark - there was no good place to get into the woods. AND... it was very lush and overgrown already so my guess is I wouldn't have had much success. Will figure out getting to it one day. 2) North stone - drove around up there - very developed. No luck.

Not giving up - just shelving for awhile to try for others...............

 

Thanks again everyone!

 

So... now the thread is back to Meridian Marks in general!

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