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Details for Benchmark: KW3169

N 40° 56.499 W 076° 48.991 (NAD 83)

Altitude: 0

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is UNKNOWN and location is ADJUSTED. (more info)

Location:
In NORTHUMBERLAND county, PA View Original Datasheet
Designation:
MONTOUR
Marker Type:
NGS Benchmark
Setting:
setting not listed - see description
Stability:

Must Read!

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What a cool find! But I get ahead of myself... let me start at the beginning...

I had downloaded the Northumberland County benchmarks for printing and future use, and on a whim searched for any marks set in the 1800s. I found only one--this one, set in 1885 and found again in 1886. I looked at it on Mapquest and it appeared that a road went right to it, running along the ridge of the mountain. So on a beautiful spring day I headed 80 miles north to see what I could find.

Well, that "road" turned out to be a bulldozed path that had been run for electric poles, and turned into a mud pit about 1/4 mile in. So I parked and started hiking the 1.07 mile up the path to the station. It wasn't a bad hike, but wasn't too fun either, since the path was covered in rocks. I kept seeing a gravel path cross my straight one. Looked like I could have driven up after all (this turned out to be the case, as I found out later).

I finally decided to follow the gravel road, since it was smoother, and got to the area where this station was located. I had no idea what to expect as the description is very vague "STATION IS MARKED BY STONE AND TRIPOD" made me think I would be looking for a stone monument of some sort, perhaps like BARRY 1885, which I had found earlier and had a dressed stone marker imbedded in the ground. I was pretty sure that the tripod had been wood and would be long gone.

I only had my GPSr to go on, as there were no descriptions of anything in the area. As I approached the place my GPSr said it would be I saw a lone stone sticking out of the ground. The area had some loose stones around but when I saw this one I noticed it had what looked like diagonal chisel marks across the top. Still, it was not a dressed stone at all--it was oddly shapes and, although the top was flat, it was chipped and not square at all. I cleaned out the diagonal marks and decided they had been man made though, and although I had my doubts, I figured I had found the mark. I felt a bit rushed as the area I was in was CLEARLY marked NO TRESPASSING. One time a truck went by but the person didn't see me. I even waved at him, hoping to get permission to search (I hate to hunt sneakily, but there was NO way I was NOT going to after walking over a mile up the slope!).

After finding WATSON, which is only a couple hundred feet away, I was heading back down the mountain when another truck went by. They stopped and I told them I was looking for survey marks. They said "Oh, WATSON", and I said "Yes, but there is another one here, did you know?" I intrigued them and they returned to this station with me. Now, armed with the company of the property owners (although it turned out we were on neighboring property by about 50 feet), We dug away at the side of the marker, hoping for something besides just the questionable top carvings. Sure enough, one of the guys said "There is US!" and he was right. Clearly and poorly chiseled in the side of the rock were the letters U and S, as well as what looked like a crooked smile. I know the letters were intentional, but am not sure the "smile" isn't just a natural feature.

I then proceeded to show them WATSON's two reference marks, which they didn't know about, and they took me back down the hill.

[Photos:]
photoKW3169 (MONTOUR), Northumberland County, PA Stone
The top of the stone. In this pic the chisel marks are not very noticable.
photoKW3168 (MONTOUR), Northumberland County, PA Stone
With the diagonals marked.
photoKW3169 (MONTOUR), Northumberland County, PA US
The side of the stone, with US on it.
photoKW3169 (MONTOUR), Northumberland County, PA US
The US marked in red.
photoKW3169 (MONTOUR), Northumberland County, PA Loc
The stone, sitting in the middle of the woods.

Documented History (by the NGS)

01/01/1885 by CGS (MONUMENTED)
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1885 (OHT) STATION IS ON THE MONTOUR RIDGE, ABOUT 3-1/2 MILES N OF THE TOWN OF NORTHUMBERLAND. FROM THE LATTER PLACE FOLLOW THE ROAD WHICH GOES PAST WATSONS FARM, AND WHICH CROSSES THE RIDGE ABOUT 3 MILES E OF THE WEST BRANCH (OF THE SUSQUEHANNA). ABOUT 1/8 MILE BEYOND THE SUMMIT OF THE ROAD, A WOOD ROAD LEADS OFF TOWARDS THE W, FOLLOWING THE TREND OF THE RIDGE. THIS ROAD IS VERY ROUGH, FOLLOW IT FOR ABOUT A MILE AND A HALF TO THE HIGHEST PART OF THE RIDGE. ITS SUMMIT IS RATHER FLAT AND ABOUT 1/4 MILE LONG. IT IS HEAVILY WOODED. LINES MUST BE OPENED OR A 50-FOOT SCAFFOLD ERECTED. ANGLES AND BEARINGS WERE TAKEN FROM A PINE TREE STANDING NEAR THE NORTHEASTERN EDGE OF THE SUMMIT. HEIGHT OF STATION BY BAROMETER ABOVE RAILROAD TRACK AT NORTHUMBERLAND, 927 FEET.
01/01/1886 by CGS (SEE DESCRIPTION)
RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1886 (MM) STATION IS MARKED BY STONE AND TRIPOD. IT WAS MARKED BY MR. RICHARDS OF LEHIGH UNIVERSITY, ONE OF PROF. MERRIMANS HELIOTROPERS. MAGNETIC BEARINGS FROM TITTMANS NOTES- NORTH MT. N 35 DEG E ABOUT 28 MILES. RICKETTS N 53 DEG 30 MIN E ABOUT 34 MILES. CATAWISSA N 97 DEG 30 MIN E ABOUT 19 MILES. BARRY S 50 E ABOUT 23 MILES. LITTLE MAHANOY (S) ABOUT 13 MILES. LOYALSOCK N 10 W ABOUT 20 MILES.

Control Text

  • The horizontal coordinates were established by classical geodetic methods and adjusted by the National Geodetic Survey in July 1986.
  • The Laplace correction was computed from DEFLEC99 derived deflections.
  • The geoid height was determined by GEOID99.

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