buffs and land surveyors from across the US, and as far away
as Great Britain, will rendezvous in a farm field south of
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon, October 19,
for the planting of an elaborate new Mason-Dixon Stone.
Nearly a century before Robert E.
Lee's army marched into Gettysburg, Charles Mason and Jeremiah
Dixon - amazing British astronomer-surveyors - came through
setting boundary stones. They were marking the border between
Maryland and Pennsylvania, still English colonies at the time.
In October 1767, along what later became known as the
Mason-Dixon Line, they set their "Crownstone 75," in
towering wilderness near present-day Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Most of the boundary stones Mason and Dixon set 235 years ago
still exist - but Crownstone 75 disappeared.
On Saturday afternoon, October 19,
land surveyors, historians, astronomers, authors, Mason-Dixon
enthusiasts and the public at large will gather at the exact
same spot on the Mason-Dixon Line, to install a 525-pound full
size replica of the missing original. The site today is a farm
The new Mason-Dixon Stone will be
dedicated to the memory of Emmitsburg, Maryland surveyor Robert
F. Gauss Sr., a great Mason-Dixon Line enthusiast and
well-known civic volunteer in Emmitsburg, who was a leader of
his surveying profession in Maryland and died May 21, 2000.
Six professional organizations of land
surveyors from Pennsylvania, Maryland and across the nation
paid for the stone and are hosting the event. For more than a
year, flawless Replacement Crownstone 75 has been "on
tour" throughout the mid-Atlantic region, promoting its
reenactment ceremony far and wide.
On October 19 the new stone will be
brought up on a period-authentic 1760s horse-drawn wagon,
hoisted into position with a wooden block & tackle on a
timber tripod, then lowered onto its carefully-surveyed
correct boundary spot (beneath which a long-buried fragment of
Mason and Dixon's original stone was found by local surveyors
Charles Mason was a world-class
astronomer and geodesist, Jeremiah Dixon a superb English
surveyor. Together, they made up the British Royal
Observatory's top "overseas assignment" team -
accomplished experts who sailed the globe for England and
science. In 1763 they answered a troubled plea, from two of
His Majesty's far-off American colonies, Pennsylvania and
Maryland, seeking skilled assistance in laying out their vast,
complex wilderness boundary. The job was estimated to take 18
months. Six years later Mason and Dixon completed it - one of
the most remarkable boundary surveys ever conducted on earth.
The two and their accomplishments are still revered by
surveyors and astronomers worldwide.
To reach the ceremony, take US Route
15 toward Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Turn south on State Route
134, away from Gettysburg. Proceed 4.5 miles to the town of
Harney, Maryland. At the outskirts of Harney, turn left into
the fire department's carnival grounds, across from Harney
Volunteer Fire Department. The entrance will be marked.
Surveyors will direct you from there to the ceremony site,
within easy walking distance.
Festivities begin at 2 pm, Saturday
October 19. The public is invited to attend. Both parking and
admission are free. For more information, call: Maryland
Society of Surveyors at 1-800-303-6770, or Surveyors
Historical Society at 1-812-537-2000.