Using only a compass and old-fashioned surveyors “chains”, in 1815, surveyors Prospect K. Robbins and Joseph C. Brown established the starting point for surveying the Purchase. In 2002, anticipating the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, government officials decided to resurvey the original point with GPS, lasers and all of the latest technology. They discovered that the original survey of 1815 was one inch off the mark. Pretty remarkable and there’s more. Find out how this story started and see more pictures on the Photo of Week Page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to go there.
When Robbins and Brown were wandering around in this primal boondocks area, getting to the survey point required a lot of swamp wading. You can see the same sights today and never wet your feet in swamp juice. Arkansas’ Louisiana Purchase State Park features a nicely constructed and well maintained boardwalk from the parking lot right up to the original 1810 survey point.
The Louisiana Purchase State Park sits squarely in a large agricultural area. When the original survey was made, the area was covered with forests. In the 1800s the forests were logged and not replanted. Enterprising farmers began using the bare land to cultivate crops. Thus was born one of the major agricultural regions on the planet.
One word of caution, should you decide to visit the park during spring, summer and early fall months, apply insect repellent (popularly known in these parts as “skeeter dope”), liberally to your person. Skeeters are part endemic to a swamp environment and they look on you as a good food source. The other critters in the swamp will probably see you before you see them, which means you probably will not see them.
Adding insult to injury, the “home-place tree” for this place was apparently felled by a storm a good while back. The shady side of the house was a good place to be in hot summer weather. Less than a quarter mile from the old house was an abandoned service station. It’s the same story here as in other rural agricultural communities. The realities of the farm business ushered in equipment which took the place of manual labor. As the people left, the supporting businesses withered on the vine.
It was time to head south to home. I selected Arkansas Highway 17 to connect to good ol’ US 79 to make the trip. Where the two came together, late afternoon sun put some fine light on some old truck carcasses. Time to shoot.
With a card full of images and a smile on my bewhiskered face, I headed south, happy as a fat pig in the sun. I hope you enjoy the images and comments.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Click here for our weekly high resolution gallery. See all the pictures we shot for the Corndancer and Weekly Grist stories in glorious high resolution, in black and white and color. Bigger and better. You’ll se some pictures we didn’t publish and can’t be seen anywhere else.
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Filed under: Behind the Scenes, but wait, there's more | Tagged: Arkansas Highway 49, compass, Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana Purchase State Park, survey, survey point, survey point of the Louisiana Purchase, surveyors chain | 1 Comment »