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jeff35080

118 Year-old Benchmark

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My oldest find until today was one from 1867. Today I found one that was originally set in 1866. In 1939 the CGS placed the stem of a bronze disk into the original hole that was drilled in 1866. The hike was gruelling, but the find made it worth it! Here's my log:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/mark/log.aspx?LU...36-de2af3c04360

 

Persons whom have never searched for these old marks really don't know what they are missing! Benchmarks rock!

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This was one of only a couple that I have done that required digging. I was quite pleased to actually find it underneath a foot a dirt after doing all my measurements. It was a really cool experience. It took a little while fighting all the vines, weeds and brush in the area to get my measurements right, but it was really worth it.

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This was one of only a couple that I have done that required digging. I was quite pleased to actually find it underneath a foot a dirt after doing all my measurements. It was a really cool experience. It took a little while fighting all the vines, weeds and brush in the area to get my measurements right, but it was really worth it.

Cool, man! I've never got into benchmarking, but I would be excited about that one for sure!

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I've never got into benchmarking, but I would be excited about that one for sure!

 

C'mon and join us evergreenhiker! Although many benchmarks are 'run of the mill' you'll get a great appreciation about all the work that is required just for to be able to determine where we are and what is where. Every now and then you'll find a cool one like I did today. I love benchmarks because they take me to places I never thought I would go and they teach me about the history of our great nation. We would love to have you join us in our quest to find these, often forgotten, pieces of history. Happy benchmarking/geocaching!

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Congrats on a great find. The BM's that you really have to work for are the best one's of all. I usually go for the BM's that are off the beaten trail. I'll grab one near the road on my way by but the one's far off the road are the most satisfying.

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Nice Find! :tongue:

 

I can't wait for the weekend of the 4th. We have a hike set up with the kids and a couple of their friends to go after a BM set in 1870. I'm confident that we will find it, weather permitting. My Father spotted it a couple of years ago and is going to lead the way. At the very least we have a family+ outing, at the best a great historical adventure.

 

MC

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In 1939 the CGS placed the stem of a bronze disk into the original hole that was drilled in 1866.

Oh, that explains it! I can't believe my eyes when I saw the stamped numbers for the year on the disk. Don't we all know that the disks were first used for monumenting in the waning years of XIXth century?

Unfortunately in our state, the surveys in 1919 and in the 30s re-set a lot of original BMs from the Transcontinental Survey area ( e.g. WASATCH vs. present-day WASATCH 2, LP0404 OQUIRRH vs. present-day NELSON, LO0870 LONE PEAK NEEDLE vs. present-day LONE, etc.)

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did you lift the disk and verify that the drillhole was there and in original condition?

 

As much as I was tempted to do so, I didn't. This is gonna sound silly, but actually seeing the disk was kinda like being in a cemetery. It was a solemn place and not somewhere to 'play'. I did imagine what it was like when the original hole was drilled and what a trek it must have been to reach the second highest point in the state over one-hundred years ago. I imagine that those that made the trek enjoyed the view as much as I did.

 

I was also honored that the Alabama Public Television system gave me permission to access their property and the person responsible for allowing access was extremely interested in the fact that such an old survey marker was on their property. I hope to work with APT to do a show about this particular mark.

 

Do any of you get the same feeling I get when visiting an old mark? The feeling that you are visiting a true piece of the history of our country. Visiting such a location makes you forget the everyday things we now face and takes me back to a simpler time when our country was becoming the great republic that it now is.

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The feeling is more of awe and amazement when you consider what was here at the time they placed these markers. No roads to speak of, no helicopters to get the men and equipment to the top of the ridge or mtn. It took 2 weeks to get from point A to point B then and we do that distance in about an hour now.

 

We have a great deal of respect for the dedication and ability those men showed.

 

John

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Awesome History

 

Like Tavern Rock,Reovered 200 years and 1 day after the famous Lewis and Clark went by the same place.

I do not know the words to state the elation of the facts.

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Well, the age of your benchmark truly is impressive. Congratulations!

 

It kind of takes a little of the wind out of my sails, as I just found my oldest benchmark yet.

 

There are only two pipecaps in my region that I'm aware of. They were both stamped "Mississippi River Commission 1891"

 

I found one in the middle of winter, in the snow, and after climbing and sliding around a perilous and VERY steep cliff to reach it. Once I'd found it though, it was only the pipe, the cap was long gone.

 

So the other day, I found another pipecap that must have been set at the same time. I excitedly set out to find it, this time on a great summer day.

 

I managed to find it, and EUREKA! the pipecap was still attached and intact.

 

The NGS data sheet reported that the Power Squadron had reported this one as "not found" in 2003, so it was doubly enjoyable to find it.

 

You can view my log and pictures of this pipecap at MG0644/Marias Ossier

 

The data sheet also lists this one as having been "monumented" in 1931.

 

Many of the benchmarks I've found in the area were placed in 1931 as well.

 

Does this mean that the pipecap itself was actually placed in 1931? Or was it placed earlier, in 1891 as the cap says, and simply officially recorded in 1931?

 

Any guesses would be appreciated.

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Does this mean that the pipecap itself was actually placed in 1931? Or was it placed earlier, in 1891 as the cap says, and simply officially recorded in 1931?

 

Any guesses would be appreciated.

CacheBar,

 

I believe that you are correct, those caps were set in the 1890's, but were not reported until 1931. I have found some Missouri River Commission caps out here in Montana and I found the following information:MORC These caps were all placed for the mapping of the Missouri river from St. Louis to the Three Forks, MT. The maps state that the Triangulation control was completed in I believe 1885 and the mapping states around 1890 and the control triangles show up quite clearly on the old maps.

 

I would think you could find this same information about the Mississippi River Commission. These old pipe caps are very great to find, and are the oldest that I have found in Montana. They are about 5 inches and very heavy. Here was my first find, also with a cap, I found a pipe first time myself without the cap(pretty dissappointing):CROCON

 

Good luck finding more,

CallawayMT

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Thanks for the helpful and useful information CallawayMT. I found the simularity between the pipecaps we've found very interesting. I will do further reasearch on the Mississippi River Commission and will post if I find anything of further interest.

 

And thanks Jeff for your kind remarks. I appreciate them. ;) I don't have any friends that share this hobby, and when I try to discuss it with others, they quickly get that glazed over look and I realize they're not quite getting it. So it's nice to have encouragement from others who have the "bug".

 

Here's a close up picture of the 1891 pipecap.

mg0664pipecap.jpg

Edited by CacheBar

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Happy to report my first XIX century find of the season, an 1897 copper bolt on top of a beautiful 10,000 ft mountain. Hunted for it before, but got skunked by the snow. This bolt isn't like the older ones I found last year. Those were quarter-inch in diameter and had a crosshair on top but no other markings. The one we found yesterday was quite a bit more massive, and it had enough space for 4 miniscule letters USGS.

e0b726d9-f205-40cc-902b-4845bb29fe5e.jpg

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Sure a 118 yr old mark is old, but by my math, 2004-1866=138. Even more impressive.

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I managed to find a page with the history of the Mississippi River Commission (whew, 5 double letters in two words!)

 

It can be found at this Corps of Engineers site.

 

This Mississippi River Commission set out to survey the entire length of the Mississippi after a couple of severe floods in 1849 and 1850. One of the supporters of this measure was Representative James A. Garfield, who later became president. Another future president of the U.S, Benjamin Harrison, was appointed to the first commission when it was established in 1879.

 

I'll have to do a more extensive search and see if I can find any more of these 113 year old pipecaps.

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Sure a 118 yr old mark is old, but by my math, 2004-1866=138. Even more impressive.

 

Ooops :D I meant to say 1886 B)B)

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Thanks CallawayMT for directing me to this thread. I looked thru my finds and have come up with a partial list of MORC and other survey marks near St. Louis, MO.

Some MORC survey marks:

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

JC1008 pipe cap, monumented = UNK, in Chamois, MO, GOOD

JC0585 bolt, monumented = UNK, in Washington, MO, GOOD

JD0439 pipe cap, monumented = UNK, in Boonville, MO, Cap gone--pipe OK

JC0512 pipe cap, monumented = UNK, in Chesterfield, MO, GOOD

 

?Mississippi River Commission OR Missouri River Commission?

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

JD2637 pipe cap, monumented =1949, in Boonville, MO, FAIR--triangle missing

(pipe cap says Missouri, description says Mississippi)

 

Illinois River Survey:

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

* >KC0554 3 CAP 39 02 47. /090 33 31. D* NOT in GeoCaching database--only in NGS database--NO description

JC0574 pipe cap, monumented =1903, near Pere Marquett S.P., IL, GOOD

KC0146 pipe cap, monumented =1903, Eldred, IL -- GOOD

 

USE pipe cap:

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

HB1790 pipe cap, monumented =1931, Ft. Kaskaskia S.P., IL, GOOD

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In the database, I've seen a couple of other wooden stake stations and I think even a nail in the ground. There's also the nails in tree roots, a point on a X with no marking, etc.

 

I guess we could call them transitory marks. (Pun intended.) :P

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There are quite a few around my work that were wooden stubs with copper tacks. Most of them have been replaced, some a number of times. One went from wooden stub to buried bottle to vitrified tile and finally to a disk.

 

One thing about the wooden stubs that were placed around here is that they were made of redwood which is notably resilient and long lasting in nature. However, they stand little chance against graders and bulldozers.

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Here is the oldest, most interesting, and longest decription for a benchmark I have ever seen. Some of the reports are really confusing and contradictory, and I was unable to find the reference marks. The old well was still there, and was really neat. The first report from 1855 is really interesting, it says they made an earthen cone then put a stake with a nail in it. They then made drill holes in rocks and filled them with sulfur, I can't figure out what the purpose of the sulfur was for. While reading the whole report it was like being in a time machine and traveling through time at the same spot. At one point they mention going up with a horse and buggy. It was one of the coolest experiences I ever had, I climbed to the top of the fire tower and just sat reading the reports over and over again trying to visualize what the world was like back then. If anyone has not gone benchmark hunting they should really try it.

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Coolclay,

 

You made a great point of interest in the imagining what the world was like back then. It was not easy work and this particular station reveals that really well. In 1855, imagine the difficulty experienced in drilling holes in rock... By Hand! The first methods for commercially refining steel from iron were discovered in 1855. The drill they used was very unlikely to be steel. The earthen cone is consistent with the find of a different soil type found when the station was re dug. They did not say earthenware cone, but I had a sense that later surveyors were looking for signs of the pottery which was not there. To be honest, many of the types of Mathematical equations being used in geodesy were still being developed and refined in 1855. The Clarke Ellipsoid, since superseded, which became part of many of these equations was still 11 years away. Many of the instruments used to measure all this were still in development as well, yet they were the best ones in existence. Even in 1929, automobiles were not exactly up for this kind of terrain and a horse and buggy may have been the best vehicle to transport the many heavy things to the top of a hill. Did Concrete come in redimix bags then? No Kidding!

 

Sulfur is a dry powdery element at environmental temperatures which is lemon yellow in color and is not soluble in water. It packs well and so it is a great way to help define a drill hole as a marker especially when you consider 1855 as a bit pre industrial. You have a bag of this stuff handy and you have a bright yellow frame of reference that should stay put a good long time provided there is not too much disturbance in the area, and the theory proved itself well. The alternative is to allow the drill hole to fill with dirt, and they would have... A harder thing to find in that state.

 

This station is a great story of how technology and methods change and improve an exacting science, as well as the perspectives that different professionals can bring to a given set of circumstances. Thanks for sharing that!

 

Rob

Edited by evenfall

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Here is the oldest, most interesting, and longest decription for a benchmark I have ever seen. Some of the reports are really confusing and contradictory, and I was unable to find the reference marks.  The old well was still there, and was really neat. The first report from 1855 is really interesting, it says they made an earthen cone then put a stake with a nail in it. They then made drill holes in rocks and filled them with sulfur, I can't figure out what the purpose of the sulfur was for.  While reading the whole report it was like being in a time machine and traveling through time at the same spot. At one point they mention going up with a horse and buggy.  It was one of the coolest experiences I ever had, I climbed to the top of the fire tower and just sat reading the reports over and over again trying to visualize what the world was like back then. If anyone has not gone benchmark hunting they should really try it.

 

Wow! Congratulations on a Fantastic 'old' find!

 

We know how you felt ..... The feeling you get is the reason that we keep hunting those oldies.

 

Take a look at our most memorable one.

 

Kanab South Cairn

 

As you can tell by our post ... we were a little excited. :blink:

 

Shirley & John

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Wow guys, that is a very interesting and impressive stone monument, it is too bad the description is not very descriptive about when it was built and things, or do you think the stack of stones was actually built in 1871. I can see why you were so excited.

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Regarding the comment about feeling reverence when visiting certain marks:

 

I get "attached" to my finds. Thus I was sad when I read this week about a North Carolina church that was destroyed by fire. EZ2914 makes numerous references to the building in the description. My wife and I visited this spot early in our benchmark hunting days.

 

Paul

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Find a website for Indiana like the one for Jersey True Meridian Markers (if any exist) and I'm out the door and on my way.

 

 

MRH:

 

Have you explored this site for interactive maps, etc?

 

-Paul-

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Something to think about,

 

1869 was a time when we did not know as much about geomagnetism as we now do.

 

If you had a calibrated compass alignment area in your yard it could be as simple as 2 4x4's set at points truly north and south in your yard, You could call it a meridian because it is a line, if extended that truly points at the poles of the earth. You would not need to know what the declination for your area is to calibrate your compass, instead you would just go out to your "true Meridian" and orient your compass to north. You would immediately see your declination, and you would take note of that so you would not get off course because of declination. While we call these calibration devices a "True Meridian" they don't have to be aligned to lines on any map or fall on lines of full latitude.

 

Today we know a lot more about Geomagnetism and we have other ways of aligning ourselves to North. North being the standardized direction for survey azimuths. http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/geomag/geomag.shtml is a site we can use to calibrate our compass to a true north azimuth, given any geomagnetic declination no matter where in the country we are, and without the use of an established meridian.

 

For surveying, it was found that performing survey with a compass is a difficult thing to maintain, as declination is not stable. Not for any location when taken over time. Things we do with compass today, would become inaccurate not long after. It begged a question all too often, "how can descriptions for things remain stable if declination is not stable", further, since declination is only correct in a specific place, moving very far from that specific place created errors. It simply is not consistent enough to use for exacting work. Today, PLSS work is based off polar azimuths or geodetic azimuths, rather than magnetic for obvious reasons, and it is likely the reason that the rest of the NJ court houses never bothered to finish their meridians. They became a moot methodology as we found better ways of doing things with higher quality methods and instrumentation.

 

Going forth, it is easy to see why many states that became states later on, did not adopt this practice.

 

This is a great Link for looking over all the reasoning behind this. Follow the links at the bottom of the page for more interesting reading.

 

Enjoy!

 

Rob

Edited by evenfall

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And, then again, some ancient benchmarks are relatively easy to find.

KV4020, Highwood 2 1867, described in 1903 (or am I just presuming that it was originally set in 1867?) It's very easy to find, even though no one else has logged it. And the views of Manhattan across the river are spectacular! :huh:

7434f5c7-489a-465b-9fcd-38c16a878750.jpg

Harry

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This one dates back to 1871 and was a reference stone to KEWEENAW S BASE U.S.L.S. 1871 and then a BM in 1948. You have to read the description for RL0149 to discover this.

 

64592_700.jpg

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The oldest monument/benchmark I can find is the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Mass. It was listed in 1846! It actually has 8 benchmarks around the base of the monument set by the US Park Service at later dates. Cant figure out the reasoning for that. Possibly for reference marks because it is the highest point around. I am going to find and post it this weekend.

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Bilbo,

 

I climbed to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument in early April 2001 on a trip to Boston... Boy was THAT a long spiral like stairway...

 

Half way up a hoard of teens entered the monument on a mad dash to the top... I thought I was in pretty good shape with all the time I spend in the field... So I kicked it in and, and... 3 of them beat me to the top... (at the top I felt like I was going to die as I looked out over the bay... Looking down through the hole in the floor that is the center of the monument for an easy way down... Ugh)

 

I remember looking at those stations on the ground as well. It is amazing to consider what once happened on that 2 block stretch of Boston, as it is entirely surrounded by houses now.

 

If you are near Bunker Hill, Or N. Boston for that matter, Go see the USS Constitution, Old Ironsides, It is just down the hill moored in the bay at the old ship yards and is a real treasure. Well worth a tour.

 

Happy Holidays,

 

Rob

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there are no benchmarks that are older than 100 in my area according to the Benchmark search engine here at Groundspeak.

Where exactly is this search engine?

 

Rachel

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