Point of Beginning

Boy Scout Marks 100th Meridian in Dodge City

August 16, 2007

The imaginary line on the earth's surface known as the 100th Meridian can now be located in Dodge City thanks to the efforts of a local Boy Scout working on his Eagle project.

Michael Snapp with Troop 162 heard that some Dodge City visitors actually come looking for the 100th Meridian. That is when he decided to find and mark its location.

The 100th Meridian runs from north and south, from pole to pole. In the United States, the eastern state line between Oklahoma and Texas is actually the 100th Meridian. Follow that line up through the Oklahoma panhandle into Kansas and it passes through Dodge City. Cozad, Neb. has a 100th Meridian Museum and there is a highway marker in South Dakota. And now Dodge City has a 100th meridian marker.

Snapp enlisted the expertise of Kevin Noll of A to Z Land Surveying in Jetmore to find the exact location. Noll and Vernon Bogart, retired land surveyor, used a Global Positioning System to determine the location of the 100th Meridian. He carved a 600 pound limestone post and placed it on the south side of US Highway 50 between Avenues L and M.

The marker on the site, however, was installed after Snapp had completed extensive research to illustrate the historical and scientific significance of the 100th Meridian for a walking tour sign in downtown Dodge City. That sign is located on Central Avenue near the Wyatt Earp statue.

"I wanted to bring this particular area of history to the attention of the people of Dodge City and its visitors," said Snapp. "There are many reasons why the 100th Meridian is significant to this area.

"During the day of western expansion, it was thought to be a natural line between east and west in terms of geography and climate. When Thomas Jefferson initiated the Louisiana Purchase from France, the south and west boundaries were either poorly defined or were also claimed by Spain. The Adams-Onis Treaty with Spain established the intersection of the 100th Meridian and the Arkansas River (now in south Dodge) as a corner of the boundary between the United States and Spain. Later the 100th Meridian in this area was the west boundary of the Osage Indian Lands."

After writing the text and collecting digital photos and maps, the walking tour sign was designed by Cynthia Vierthaler of the Spearville News. Snapp received financial assistance for the manufacturing of the sign from the Dodge City Rotary Club, the High Plains Chapter of the Kansas Society of Land Surveyors and Landmark National Bank.

The 100th Meridian dedication is planned for 11 a.m. Aug. 11 in the Harvey Hotel Lobby of the historic Santa Fe Depot. Speakers will include Kevin Noll, registered land surveyor, and Jim Sherer, retired director of the Kansas Heritage Center.

Source: Dodge City.com, August 10, 2007.