Meridian - Baseline Intial Points
The 1875 Land Ordinance organized the system of surveying land in regular square six-mile units called townships and square one-mile subunits called sections. Surveyor General Edward Tiffin set the Michigan Meridian (north-south line) using the 1807 Treaty of Detroit land cessions. On September 29, 1815, Benjamin Hough began surveying north from Fort Defiance, Ohio. Alexander Holmes began surveying the meridian from a point 78 miles west of Detroit. Wet land caused him to turn east then north before starting the base line east. He quit that fall, but Hough completed the meridian and marked the initial point 1816. Tiffin suspended surveying in 1816 as believed the land was "poor" and unfit the military purposes and not "worth the expense of surveying it."
Michigan Territory Governor Lewis Cass directed surveys near Detroit to resume in 1817. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1821 increased industry and settlement, contributing to the need for further land surveys. In 1824 Joseph Wampler reran the last twelve miles of the meridian north to intersect the base line he had extended west about eighteen miles. For unknown reasons, he marked a second initial point 935.88 feet south of the first mark. Since land had already been surveyed and sold using the first point, surveyors used both initial points:
Erected 2015 by Michigan Histrocial Commission. (Marker Number 737.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
Location. 42° 25.385′ N, 84° 21.404′ W. Marker is near Pleasant Lake, Michigan, in Jackson County. Marker can be reached from Meridian Road 0.8 miles north of N. Territorial Rd., on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. The initial point markers are located in the Meridian-Baseline State Park. This a round trip of approximately 1.5 miles along compacted gavel trail. Marker is in this post office area: Pleasant Lake MI 49272, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. This Boulder (approx. 2.5 miles away); The Jackson Area (approx. 11.6 miles away); First State Prison (approx. 11.8 miles away); St. John's Church (approx. 11.9 miles away); Camp Blair Jacksonburg Public Square (approx. 12.4 miles away); First Congregational Church (approx. 12.4 miles away); Horace Ismon / Ismon Building (approx. 12.4 miles away).
More about this marker. The historical marker is located at the west the Meridian-Baseline State Park parking area at the trailhead to the initial point markers.
Regarding Meridian - Baseline Intial Points. 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the setting of the surveying lines for Michigan. In 1785 a public land survey proposed by Thomas Jefferson was an efficient method for the establishment of land boundaries and even today affects all land owners. Every parcel of land within the state of Michigan is surveyed from these initial points. In 1807, the west boundary of the Treaty of Detroit was selected as the line for the Michigan Principal Meridian; the southernmost (and beginning point) of the meridian was set in 1815 at Fort Defiance, Ohio and the northernmost (and final) point was set in 1840 in Sault Ste. Marie.
Categories. • Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Science & Medicine • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 13, 2015, by Dave Wilcox of Grass Lake, Michigan. This page has been viewed 218 times since then and 40 times this year. Last updated on October 15, 2015, by Dave Wilcox of Grass Lake, Michigan. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 13, 2015, by Dave Wilcox of Grass Lake, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.