Monday, November 30, 2015

Garver Helps Mark the Bicentennial of Louisiana Purchase Land Survey

In recognition of the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase Land Survey, a group of government-funded agencies held celebrations at four locations in Arkansas's Louisiana Purchase State Park. Students and visitors attending the celebrations watched living historians portray surveying practices used in the 1815 survey, among other things. The new Base Line Trail and visitor's access/parking lot were also dedicated during the two-day event.


Joseph Brown and Prospect Robbins had the task of being the first to survey land west of the Mississippi River in October 1815. The Initial Point of the Fifth Principal Meridian is situated where the Base Line intersected the Meridian on November 10 of that year. This grid origin enabled numbering of townships and ranges in land boundaries in six states and as far north as the Canadian border. 

“These scraggly men of science lived for months in the wilderness under primitive conditions in fall and winter weather while recording detailed measurements and environmental reports,” said Garver Senior Project Manager Bill Ruck, who volunteered at the bicentennial. “Brown and Robbins were obligated to deal with the convergence of the meridians as they squared up a round world.”

Sponsors of the bicentennial included the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the U.S. Forestry Service, the Arkansas Society of Professional Surveyors, the School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Arkansas State Parks, and the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Committee on which Ruck has served since 1999.

The committee recently announced intentions to place an 18-foot-tall monument to Brown and Robbins that will stand in downtown Little Rock once funding for fabrication is secured.


Technology has changed since the days of the Louisiana Purchase, but surveying is still as important. Find out what Garver’s Survey Team can do for you by visiting our website today.

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