Initial Points

CLUI photo
Mount Diablo, Initial Point for Northern California and Nevada.

INITIAL POINTS: Anchors of America’s Grid

A look at the historic surveying infrastructure of the USA, and how literal monuments of place have evolved into expressive cornerstones of space. This exhibit depicts and describes the 37 Iinitial Points of the Public Land Survey System, the rectilinear grid that covers more than two thirds of the landscape of the USA. These surveying points, located in places such as swamps, under manhole covers in roads, and on top of mountains, are the physical locations that tied this grid to the ground. Looking at them in a contemporary context explores the process and importance of the endeavor of surveying, and reveals a latent cadastral history of the nation, as it expanded westward.

2012 CLUI Research Project in association with the Institute of Marking and Measuring with contributions by the National Museum of Surveying and the Principal Meridian Project.

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CLUI photo

EXPLORE THE INITIAL POINTS