On June 20, a small group of residents gathered in front of a spinning globe mounted to a tall chunk of metal sticking out of the ground near the corner of Southwest 65th Avenue and Nyberg Lane in Tualatin, Oregon. By no coincidence, the Principal Willamette Meridian line monument aligns perfectly with the telephone poles on Southwest 65th Avenue ...


About 3,400 land markers are buried throughout Washington County
Jennifer Clampet / The Times
 
A LINE IN THE EARTH – The Principal Willamette Meridian Line monument is a visible reminder to residents that the important land surveying line runs through the east side of the city. The line was established more than 150 years ago.
 
TUALATIN - GPS systems and satellites aside, the real reason people know where they’re going on their travels is because of a more than 100-year-old system of cedar stakes and chiseled stone land markers.
You might not care too much about latitude and longitude when it’s time to travel to the grocery store. But ask an astronaut, a land surveyor or even a lost tourist with a navigation system in his car and the lines mean the world.
 
It’s been described as an imaginary line system, one that envelops the world dividing areas into smaller and smaller grids.
 
But to land surveyors the lines, established by crews working under the 1850 U.S. Land Grant and Survey Act, are very much real. And in each area of the United States are thousands of buried land markers that designate base lines and meridian lines.