Thinking about new, proposed construction in the residential development of Turtle Run in Valparaiso, Indiana, got me to thinking about how the site might be laid out which got me to thinking about reference points. There is a long chain of thought links that I will not make you suffer through, but eventually I got to thinking about where the original reference point for all these reference points derives. So I looked it up.
It’s called Initial Point. According to www.fs.usda.gov it is outside of Paoli, Indiana. According to the same website it was a surveyor named Ebenezer Buckingham Jr. who set the wooden post that marks the spot on September 1, 1805. Well. Someone with such a name is someone who must be further investigated.
Much to my disappointment however, there is not much to be learned about Ebenezer Buckingham Jr. What we do know is that he did something very important and which set a certain course in history. According to www.surveyorsland.com he was the guy chosen to “layout control lines for the surveys within the Vincennes Tract”, an area that at the time included part of the Illinois Territory and “marked the beginning of surveying in Illinois”.
So, with the control lines that Ebenezer laid out – one being “a baseline East” and the other the “North-South control line which became the second Principal Meridian” – the area could then be divided up into townships and sections. This work led to the setting of the location of Indiana’s Initial Point. Which then eventually allowed for locating lot lines in developments like Turtle Run.