April 13 was President Jefferson? birthday and I was thinking this would be a great time to remind you of ?he Jefferson Stone? A small granite obelisk, 2-foot square by 2-foot-tall with a brass plug and a punch mark, set in the center of a recessed cross in the top of the granite monument. The pier? position (Latitude and Longitude) was inscribed on the top of the pier when it was first installed December 18, 1804.

This stone marks the first meridian of the United States. Even though the monument was never officially recognized, either by presidential proclamation or by a resolution or act of Congress. But it did play a small part in American history.

President Jefferson had hoped that the United States would become scientifically as well as politically independent from Europe. During the time he was president he tried to establish the new national capital as the new “first meridian? The meridian of the United States was later changed to the center of the small dome of the old Naval Observatory in 1850, and finally replaced by the Greenwich Meridian as the legal prime meridian for both boundaries and navigation in 1912.

Today you can find the monument inside a new paved path and retaining wall that circles the Washington Monument, about 60 feet southeast of the intersection of three paved access paths and the circular path, and about three feet higher than the circular path. The monument? PID is UA0024. Permission must be obtained from the National Park Service to occupy this station.

The following is engraved on the West side of the stone:

Position of Jefferson Pier erected December 18, 1804. Recovered and Re-erected December 2, 1889. [fifth line chiseled out] District of Columbia

The chiseled-out fifth line reportedly once incorrectly stated: “BEING THE CENTRE POINT OF THE”.

Jim McLefresh

Jim retired from Spokane County as a GPS Survey Technician in May 2015 and is a member of and the GPS Committee Co-Chair for the Land Surveyors Association of Washington State. His primary function, before retirement, was to research and draft Records of Survey and Right-of-Way drawings for construction projects at Spokane County and assemble the survey crew’s field data into “Design Ready Drawings”. He also lectures on GPS, AutoCAD and Field Survey Procedures and has been a regular Speaker at Trimble’s Dimensions conventions.

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