I have been a lurker here for quite a while, but thought I’d make my presence known, and actually give a little info back to the group. There is an online resource that I love to use that can give a snapshot of a place at certain points in time. It is a NGS data sheet listing for benchmarks, both formerly and currently existing. What so interesting about that? Well, it gives the info for each benchmark, including how to find it both at the time it was placed, and then updates from crews that have located it later. These descriptions give a good image of the surrounding area at that time. For example, Rockdale:
HISTORY - Date Condition Report By
HISTORY - 1937 MONUMENTED CGS
HISTORY - 20020623 GOOD INDIV
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1937 (HJO)
STATION IS ON RAILROAD EMBANKMENT (CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE AND ST. PAUL)
ON THE CURVE ABOUT 400 YARDS W OF THE CASCADE TUNNEL, 85 PACES E
OF THE W END OF THE CURVE, 43.5 FEET N OF THE N RAIL OF THE N
SIDING, ON A SHELF 4 FEET LOWER THAN THE TRACKS OVER WHICH
ASPHALT HAS BEEN POURED, AND 6 FEET BACK FROM THE EMBANKMENT
SLOPE. STATION AND REFERENCE MARKS ARE DISKS WEDGED IN DRILL HOLES IN
BOULDER. IT IS REACHED AS FOLLOWS--RUN E ON SNOQUALMIE PASS HIGHWAY TO
CAMP MASON, 12 MILES FROM NORTH BEND. CONTINUE 5.7 MILES TO
CONCRETE BRIDGE OVER THE S FORK SNOQUALMIE RIVER. CONTINUE 1.3
MILES, PASSING VENABLES SERVICE STATION TO ROCKDALE
CREEK. PARK. FOLLOW TRAIL ON RIGHT UPHILL TO RAILROAD. SWING
RIGHT AWAY FROM TUNNEL PAST SECTION HOUSES ON BOTH SIDES OF
'TRACKS TO N SIDING AND STATION.
STATION RECOVERY (2002)
RECOVERY NOTE BY INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS 2002 (TL)
RAILROAD TRACKS ARE GONE. RAILROAD GRADE IS NOW THE IRON HORSE TRAIL.
THERE HAS BEEN APPARENT EROSION, AS DISK IS NOW AT THE EDGE OF THE
EMBANKMENT. RECOVERED AT N 47 23.634, W 121 27.167.
Some have better descriptions of the surrounding area than others. It can give a good picture of the way certain sites looked in the past, and give clues about where to find remains of old buildings, etc. If you know the name of a site and the general area, but not the exact location (such as the old air beacons), this can give you coordinates to find it. In addition, you can read the routes they used up mountains such as Snoqualmie Mountain in 1936 (starting from the Commonwealth Ski lodge). I find this stuff interesting, and thought some of you might as well.
you can also find a slightly easier to navigate database of all the NGS landmarks/benchmarks etc on the geocaching.com website.
There's a semi-official National Map Corps site that sits on there as well.
The listings for the benchmarks can be found by GPS coords, and will show the full listing history including the above referenced notes. It's been fun comparing the ones i know how to get to with the "official" routes!!!
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