Setting the crownstone 75 marker on the Mason-Dixon line.



Surveyors in colonial dress plan for the setting of the crownstone.
Well, history was made today folks. About 700 heads, 375 of them from the Rendezvous and the rest locals coming to share in the surveying festivities, peered on to the props set on the stage for the reenactment of a portion of the Mason-Dixon Line and the newly created Crownstone 75 stone. Along with surveying equipment from Mason and Dixon’s time stood a timber tripod volunteers had felled themselves and a dug hole awaiting its new stone. The sky was cloudy and gray with just a hint of blue far off in the skyline of Pennsylvania. People came in gaggles to witness this important event and be part of history.

A large crowd gathered to watch the ceremony.
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 “speak to the people” and explain some of the history of Mason and Dixon. He explained the importance of Mason and Dixon’s work by highlighting the fact that without their measurements, the Battle of Gettysburg would have been fought in Maryland! Shortly after Chas began his speech, the sun smiled down on the attendees, a true sign that the event was to be wonderful.

The surveyors demonstrated a technique used by Mason and Dixon called chaining.
Colonially-dressed surveyors demonstrated a measuring technique called chaining, used by Mason and Dixon, a short distance down the Line to the spot where the monument would be set. In good time, shortly after 2:30 p.m., a horse-drawn carriage could be seen in the distance, pulling the 3-foot tall replacement stone with both the Penn’s and Calvert’s crests on either side, representing the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The horses carried the stone through the field, around the crowd and right up to the hole awaiting its presence. The horses needed a little attention and help since the gift of Mother Nature’s rain had created a lot of red clay mud which inhibited their ability to get the wagon closer to the hole. In colonial garb, several surveyor helpers pulled and pushed the wagon up to the hole. Once there, the ropes were placed under “The Rock,” as it has become known to some, and it was successfully hoisted onto the wooden tripod. The apparatus had been previously tested with a concrete mock-up of the stone, but not with the actual monument. The crownstone was then lowered to the rebar. With epoxy in place, the stone was lowered and set. Cheers could be heard from every corner of Jack Straussman and Doug Beecham's portion of 48-acre owned land.

The stone is lifted from the wagon and readied for placement in the ground.
The stone marker was an exact replica of the original crownstones set every five miles by Mason and Dixon along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, except it was made of granite instead of oolithic limestone. The limestone used originally happens to be water-soluble and so is not an ideal material to stand up to the elements. Many of the original crownstones, while often still in place, are beginning to deteriorate for this reason.

Pertinent people involved in the ceremony then stepped up to a map of the two states to apply their stamps and signatures. Stepping up to the map was Ralph Donnelly of Maryland (well, actually Ralph affixed his stamp and signature at the banquet later that night), Dennis Sheehan of Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors, Milton Denny of Alabama, Duane Weiss of Surveyors Historical Society and Don Teeter of West Virginia and Todd Babcock of the Surveying Historical Society. Todd Babcock was credited with his vast knowledge of Mason and Dixon, and for his extensive GPS work on the Mason-Dixon Line for the last 11 years. Chris Gauss stepped up next and was credited for his valuable work in gathering volunteers for the event and for putting down the three acres of grass layed down on the area. Gauss extended great appreciation to everyone for coming out and for the dedication of the stone to his father, Bob Gauss, a past president of the Maryland Society of Surveyors. Robert Frederick Gauss, Sr. died on May 21, 2000. Sr. Gauss was an avid Eagle Scout, so Chris appropriately thanked the few Boy Scouts who arrived in uniform. Edwin Danson, a Royal Chartered Surveyor, also signed and stamped the map with the Royal symbol on behalf of England after reading a letter from the Prime Minister Tony Blair, who sent his best wishes for a great ceremony. “We loaned you some surveyors to help out with your problems over here,” Danson said in jest. A passerby replied with “Yeah, but we paid them!” Much of the crowd chuckled.

Proud surveyors show off the new stone.
The historical ceremony ended with an invitation for the attendees to shovel some of the wet dirt in the hole to set the stone. This was a true photo opportunity, as people formed two lines to participate in the setting of the stone. It was definitely something to be part of.
Lieca and Emily, POB’s editors