Sixth Principal Meridian

The Sixth Principal Meridian, like the Fifth Principal Meridian a few hundred miles east, is a north/south line used to survey several states, within an area mostly acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The meridian was established in 1855 in order to survey the newly created territories of Nebraska and Kansas. Surveyors started where the 40th degree of latitude met the Missouri River, and headed west to establish the baseline. After 108 miles they stopped, as instructed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, due to “apprehensions of hostile interruptions from the Indians.”  So the Initial Point was set there, and the meridian established north and south. The baseline was eventually extended west, and became the state line between Nebraska and Kansas.

2291 CLUI photo.The Initial Point has been heavily monumented, mostly in 1986 and 1987 by a group known as the Professional Surveyors of the 6th Principal Meridian, consisting of surveyors from the states affected directly by the meridian. The canted plaque on the left mentions the names of a few hundred surveyors singled out for distinctive recognition. The vertical text panel on the right describes the history of the site. The monument in the middle with the spire is pentagonal in shape, each facet engraved with the name and seal of one of the five states surveyed mostly, or partly from this point: Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota.


2293 CLUI photo.The original surveyors stone, which had been broken and buried for many years, was rediscovered in 1986. The Professional Surveyors of the 6th Principal Meridian reburied it at the exact location of the original Initial Point, 66 feet west of the interpretive monuments. A 24-foot square concrete pad was poured around the stone, which was left accessible through a cavity in the middle of the pad, accessed by a manhole cover.


2292 CLUI photo.Underneath the commemorative manhole cover, a couple of feet down, is the orginal red sandstone surveyors rock from 1856, now embedded with a BLM surveying disc.


2348 The area surveyed by this point covers all of Kansas and Nebraska, most of Colorado and Wyoming, and some of South Dakota.