After dreaming for 20 years about exploration of the American continent, President Thomas Jefferson saw his vision come to life when his private secretary Merimether Lewis headed out with Lewis' friend and former commanding officer William Clark on an expedition along the Missouri River. Many thought the route would be a water course to the Pacific Ocean. The three-year expedition led Lewis, Clark and their Corps of Discovery crew through land yet to be owned by the United States, through treacherous waters and hillsides and in contact with territorial Indian tribes.
Beginning on July 4, 2004, 200 years later, the Surveyors Historical Society (SHS), the Missouri Society of Surveyors and the National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation Inc. gave tribute to Lewis & Clark's Expedition, and the surveying and mapping heritage they provided. The event was held through July 6 in St. Joseph, Mo., where the Corps of Discovery had named the tributary nearest the Missouri River "Independence Creek."
This year's Lewis & Clark-themed event was the annual Surveyors Rendezvous, a celebration and gathering hosted in part by the Surveyors Historical Society. As Milton Denny, PLS, a "regular" of the events notes, "The formal program makes up only part of the fun of the Rendezvous. The always popular surveying equipment "flea market' [swap] was held at Klug Park along with field demonstrations of the sextant and other historical equipment."
As a whole, these events are a great tribute to important figures of surveying's past. Surveyors Rendezvous '05 will take place in Spokane, Wash., in September. The event will be a salute to the famous Canadian surveyor David Thompson and a memoriam of the Lewis & Clark Expedition return voyage.