View Full Version : Found: Unusual Marker ... Need ID ...

Doc McPeak
10-14-2004, 02:25 PM
As I was finishing up a Nippletop-Dial-Bearden loop last week I went out on to the open bleached rocks of the "Burn", just off the trail, perhaps fifty or a hundred feet.

Right in the middle of the "Noonmark Burn" I found this interesting little (about 1 1/4") marker that appears to have a North (N) alignment. It was pointing north, but I didn't fish out my compass to see if it was right on. It was nailed onto a boulder next to some logs that looked to be arraigned to maybe help foster a small regrowth area.

Has anybody seen one of these?

Or know anything about this one? Recent? After, before the Fire?

Just curious. BTW, it is pretty wild watching nature regroup and reclaim a ravaged area like that. The birches are flourishing and blocking out those open views.

10-14-2004, 04:00 PM
Here's my thought - Rather than standing for North, Could it be a boundary marker for the "No 5" Lumber Camp? (The Santa Clara No 4 Lumber Camp was located over on the Ward Brook Truck Trail by the standard Seymour approach)
The other thing I wonder is in looking at the font style, it appears very old - perhaps a marker for Verplanck Colvins Survey?

10-14-2004, 05:42 PM
So, here's a question. Did you leave it where you found it, or take it as a souvenir? I'm curious what everyone thinks about the ethics of taking a potential artifact.
I'm of several minds:

If you look at it as old litter, nothing wrong with picking it up. If you don't, someone else might or it could get lost in the duff.

Conversely, compare it to an arrowhead. Ethical to take it for yourself? Should it be left in situ? Picked up and donated to a museum?

Or is it like flora? No, I don't think that is a good analogy since it isn't part of the ecosystem.

What do you guys think?


Doc McPeak
10-14-2004, 06:04 PM
So, here's a question. Did you leave it where you found it, or take it as a souvenir?

It was bolted into the boulder, and still is.

I take my souvenirs home in the form of photographs and memories.

10-14-2004, 06:09 PM
Yes, but in general, how do you feel about things like this?
I hope I didn't offend with my question. I think it's an interesting topic. I'm not judging anyone's opinion on it. I should have stated this at the outset. Sorry.

10-14-2004, 08:09 PM
I would guess it is a survey marker. Colvin numbered his survey bolts. The 1874 report indicates that no. 5 is located on the summit of bald peak in the Town of Moriah. Also his bolts don't look like the one you observed. It would be interesting to try to discover what survey this particular bolt might come from.
The USGS survey from the early 1900's does not show any benchmarks in the area. The Essex County Atlas from 1876 shows one interesting possibility. Although there is no breakout of lots in most of the area which became the AMR, there are lots east of that area which include the area around Round mountain. Noonmark is not specifically designated, and the placement of mountains seems ver inexact in this atlas. The row of great lots below round are number 6-10 but the ones that include round have no numbers. So it is conceivable (but speculation) that it could be a marker from a survey of the lot corners. But perhaps it is much more recent.

10-14-2004, 08:34 PM
From Doc's photo I say this thing looks strikingly like markers a surveyor planted in the corners of my own property when I had the lot lines surveyed less than 10 years ago. Doc's size description matches up, too.

As for the question about removing such things . . .? Markers like this one, that are permanently affixed, should not be disturbed. In fact, it is illegal to disturb survey markers in most (maybe all) U.S. jurisdictions. So they certainly should be left in place.

I have mixed feelings about other kinds of artifacts. More about that later, perhaps.


10-14-2004, 08:37 PM
Might be an old survey marker, definitely "No 5" meaning number 5. Not a USGS marker; presumably something local.

So sayeth the former civil engineer...

10-14-2004, 09:59 PM
What you found is a land survey mark dating to about 1920 when the AMR sold off 24,000 of their then 40,000 acres. After that sale, the boundary was the crest of the ridge from Noonmark to Bear Den to Dial, etc. Note that the engraved lines show a slight bend, indicating that the boundary changed direction at this point. I would bet that one line pointed at Bear Den and the other at either Noonmark or the small summit between the mark and Noonmark. The "N" is not for north but for No. 5 - probably the fifth mark starting at the northeast corner of the AMR north of Noonmark.

Doc McPeak
10-15-2004, 08:53 AM
Thanks for the explanation, Tony.

The left line actually ran in a line towards the Lake Road, the other may have lined up closer to Noonmark. Maybe the boulder got moved around during the fire?

I actually ran into Mike Healy (I think it was Mike?) a week or two ago in between Armstrong and Upper Wolf Jaw. He mentioned he had been up Pyramid en route to Gothics for the first time with you earlier, and was still amazed with the view. Nice guy, great stories about his Mom and hiking in the early days.

03-04-2007, 10:12 AM
Really interesting historical info that Doc's question piqued.