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February 18, 2009
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Idaho's first survey point finds champions.

BY DEANNA DARR

It may have happened in the dead of night, or maybe in the broad light of day, but with no one around for miles, there were no eyewitnesses. What was left in the wake of the unknown vandals was the tip of a rusting metal pipe sticking out of the ground where a brass plate once marked the original land survey point for the state.

It wasn't the first time thieves had made off with the marker, a circular brass plate roughly the size of a bagel set atop a concrete-filled pipe buried deep in the ground. It was similar to other brass survey markers that can be found across the state-small points embedded in roads, corners of lots or even in the middle of nowhere. But this one was special. It was the first marker and the basis for all land surveys ever done in Idaho.

It's that distinction that drove a group of private land surveyors to take up the cause of replacing the marker last ripped from its lonely perch on top of a small knoll eight miles south of Kuna in 1996. Now, a shining stainless steel version sits in its place on the hill in the high desert, giving just a touch of recognition to a place that remains obscure to the general public, yet is the reason the state is laid out the way it is.

Called the initial point, the single point is the place from which all land surveys in the state originate, and was the point from which surveyors in the 1800s began to map the young state.

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