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Details for Benchmark: RK0171

N 46° 19.433 W 087° 24.283 (NAD 83)

Altitude: 1163.81

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is POSTED and location is SCALED. (more info)

Location:
In MARQUETTE county, MI View Original Datasheet
Designation:
E 22
Marker Type:
bench mark disk
Setting:
set into the top of a round concrete monument
Stability:
May hold, but of type commonly subject to surface motion.

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FOUND IT! But the station is destroyed. After dropping my wife and daughter off at the county fair nearby and bringing my son to a friend's house at the former air base, I decided to stop by for round two with this mark.

This time, I remeasured from the center line of old CR 553 and set the metal detector to exclude iron, and went to work. Got lots of nothing, then a target about two feet northeast of "ground zero." When the mark was set, it was flush with the ground, but I also knew a rail line had been torn up, so anything could have happened. I did some probing, and found a solid object a bit further down than I would have expected...maybe the mark?

Did some digging, and saw what appeared to be a concrete post. Dug it out some more, and saw that I was correct...the post was there, but no disk. There was hope, however. The post was broken severely along the center, where the stem would have been. Because of this, I believed it to have been destroyed after being struck by a piece of equipment, rather than a treasure seeker. I dug a little further, hoping to uncover the disk. There was nothing metallic left in the post, and I hoped the metal detector had hit on the disk, rather than the piece of copper wire I found in the hole.

After some additional searching, I found the stem first, then the disk in the pile of dirt I had removed. After about three hours of serious searching on two visits, along with a preliminary reconnaissance visit to scout the area, victory is mine! I removed the pieces of the disk, but the concrete monument remains if anyone would like to dig it up. It is near the coordinates I posted, about 12 feet northwest of where I averaged the coordinates. 2.5 feet east of a 2x4 driven a short way into the ground, about 1 foot below ground level.

Interestingly, I found that on my first visit, I had dug something up about a foot away from the post--I think one of the screw-in climbing steps from a pole. Probably in fact, the one described in the datasheet.

[This entry was edited by andylphoto on Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 11:09:25 AM.]

[Photos:]
photoRK0171 Area
This is a different view from my last log, looking south southeast, from old 553. It shows the original location of the stake I planted, and the location of the station.
photoAlmost RK0171
I found the concrete monument first, minus the disk.
photoRK0171
I found the stem first, then the disk in the pile of dirt I had removed.
N 46° 19.474 W 087° 24.339

This mark may or may not still exist, but I am going to disagree with N8XAE on the location. County Road 553 was rerouted at least twice for the creation and expansion of K.I. Sawyer AFB. In 1958, the base was in its infancy, and the road would not have been rerouted around the runway yet, according to my research. The location given as "Plains" is in the area of the published coordinates. A 1952 series USGS map shows the route of CR 553 prior to the first reroute, which moved the road to the west to clear the "Christmas Tree" bomber alert area to the southwest of the runway. The C&NW railway was also rerouted for the same reason, and at around the same time.

Amazingly, there are still remnants of both the original CR 553 AND the CNW railway in this area. While both were rerouted, this particular location was not used for anything over the years. A new entrance to the base constructed in the 80s (if memory serves) was run just south of this location. A new rail spur constructed in the late 90s to serve a lumber mill was constructed just north of this location.

The description is somewhat vague as to the exact reference points, and in measuring, I probably made one error. I measured from the apparent center line of the main track. I found several ties remained embedded in the ground just south of the road crossing and measured northeast from the center. However, I measured from the apparent edge of the pavement, and probably should have measured from the CL of CR 553. I left a 2x4 stake embedded at the coordinates given, based on my measurement. However, the true location may be about 12 feet closer to the road. My waypoint is averaged for the location of the stake I left in the search area.

I searched in the general area with a metal detector for about 2 hours, finding a number of relics, including two RR spikes, a couple of climbing brackets from a pole, three nails and several other pieces of useless junk left over from railroading in days gone by. Before returning, I will need to set up the custom mode on my metal detector to look for benchmark disks and exclude junk. :)

I also saw several nice flyovers from the Sawyer Airshow that was being held the same day at the former base, now Sawyer International Airport. Had several very nice passes from an F-16 fighter, and several more from a B-2 Stealth Bomber. My next visit probably won't have so much entertainment. But if I find the mark...

[Photos:]
photoRK0171 Area
View is generally southwest, showing old (the really old) 553 at the right and the search area on the left. The disrupted area in the pavement is the location where two tracks crossed the roadway: The main track and a siding to the east of the main track.
photoCR 553 Map
This is a scan from a 1952 USGS map, showing the alignment of the CNW railroad and the original CR 553.
photoB-2 Stealth Bomber
I had a good deal of entertainment. Unfortunately I neglected to bring an SLR, and only had the point & shoot. This was also in the car while the F-16 was flying overhead.
N 46° 19.044 W 087° 24.341

Based solely on the description given, the coordinates I've given here (datum WGS84) will bring you much closer. At least 1/2 mile closer as I discovered. Upon finding the rough area, I think, a small slab of concrete, 8" by 24" with a bolt in one end and a broken off piece of metal in the other was discovered. I don't think this is it. A metal detector will probably help here.

Documented History (by the NGS)

01/01/1917 by CGS (MONUMENTED)
01/01/1958 by NGS (GOOD)
DESCRIBED BY NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY 1958 AT PLAINS. AT PLAINS, MARQUETTE COUNTY, 30 YARDS NORTHWEST OF THE CHICAGO AND NORTH WESTERN RAILWAWY STATION SIGN, 22 FEET SOUTHEAST OF COUNTY ROAD 553 CROSSING THE TRACK, 46 FEET NORTHEAST OF THE CENTERLINE OF THE TRACK, AND 7.3 FEET NORTH OF A POLE. A STANDARD DISK, STAMPED ELEV 1163.357 FT. E 22 1917 AND SET IN THE TOP OF A CONCRETE POST FLUSH WITH THE GROUND.

Control Text

  • The horizontal coordinates were scaled from a topographic map and have an estimated accuracy of +/- 6 seconds.
  • The orthometric height was determined by differential leveling and adjusted by the National Geodetic Survey in 1992. * This is a POSTED BENCH MARK height. Code E indicates a distribution rate of 4.1 thru 8.0 mm/km.
  • The geoid height was determined by GEOID99.
  • The dynamic height is computed by dividing the NAVD 88 geopotential number by the normal gravity value computed on the Geodetic Reference System of 1980 (GRS 80) ellipsoid at 45 degrees latitude (g = 980.6199 gals.).
  • The modeled gravity was interpolated from observed gravity values.

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