Rendezvous on the Line

November 25, 2002
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A pictorial retelling of this year’s Surveyors Historical Society conference on the Mason-Dixon Line.

The sixth annual Rendezvous event, Rendezvous ’02, was held in Gettysburg, Pa., from October 17-20. Sponsored by the Surveyors Historical Society (SHS), the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors, the Maryland Society of Surveyors (MSS), the Mason-Dixon Line Preservation Partnership, the West Virginia Association of Land Surveyors and the New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors, the event fulfilled all promises of being insightful, fun and a grand reflection of history. This year, 375 surveyors from around the country and other parts of the world celebrated the work of surveyors/geodesists Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the mid-1700s.

Take a few moments to browse through these pictures and stories from the event.

Wayne Twigg, member of the Appalachian Chapter of MSS, and City of Frederick employee lines up replicas of Mason-Dixon measuring rods, complete with “accurate 18th century” milk crate supports! Wayne often represents Jeremiah Dixon at local events.

Milton E. Denny, PLS, gave a presentation on the history of survey measurement devices and showed off some of the replicas he’s created. He later displayed these “toys” on the hotel grounds where attendees learned something about how surveying was done in Mason and Dixon's time.

Mason and Dixon’s party chief, Moses McLain (a.k.a. Norman Brown) uses a compass.

Had Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon not surveyed the boundary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland in 1763-1766, the Battle of Gettysburg would have been fought in Maryland.

History was made (again) with the resetting of Crownstone 75. Around 700 people, including many locals gathered to watch the reenactment of surveying a portion of the Mason-Dixon Line and setting the newly created replica crownstone, which disappeared in 1990. Along with surveying equipment from Mason and Dixon’s time stood a timber tripod volunteers had felled themselves and a hole awaiting its new stone.

As the ceremony began, attendees took their places on either side of the Line. Chas Langelan, newly appointed president of the Maryland Society of Surveyors and Chair of this year’s Rendezvous event, took position on an old-framed wagon flying both the Maryland and Pennsylvania state flags to explain some history of Mason and Dixon. Rendezvous '02 proved to be a memorable event for the surveying profession and the public.

Colonially dressed surveyors demonstrated a measuring technique called chaining, used by Mason and Dixon, a short distance down the Line.

A horse-drawn carriage brought the 3-foot tall replacement stone with both the Penns’ and Calverts’ crests on either side, representing the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The horses carried the stone through the field, around the crowd and up to the hole awaiting its arrival.

Ropes were placed under “The Rock” (as it became known to some) which was successfully hoisted onto a wooden tripod. Crownstone 75 was then lowered to the rebar. With epoxy in place, the stone was lowered and set. Cheers could be heard from every corner of the site, on farmland privately owned by Doug Beacherman and Jack Strausswood

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