1st Guide Meridian East

"Kansas & Nebraska's First North-South Surveyed Line"

Jerry Penry
June 24, 2005

On June 24, 1855, U. S. Deputy Surveyor Charles A. Manners established the point on the Kansas/Nebraska border sixty miles west of the Missouri River known as the 1st Guide Meridian East monument. From this location a true meridian was run north to the Missouri River in Nebraska, and south to the 37th Parallel which was the south border of Kansas. This line acted as a predecessor to the 6th Principal Meridian which would later be located 48 miles further west. The purpose of the 1st Guide Meridian East was to establish a north-south line so that the Public Land Surveys could be made from that line east to the Missouri River due to widespread settlement taking place in the newly created territories.

The original stone placed by Manners at the intersection of the 1GME and the 40th Parallel (Kansas/Nebraska border) in 1855 was found in the spring of 2005 in preparation for a remonumentation project for the 150th Anniversary. Below are photos from that project that occurred on June 24, 2005.

History of the Monument

Read about it in the American Surveyor magazine.

Looking west down the Baseline between Kansas & Nebraska
over the 1st Guide Meridian East.

Looking north in Nebraska over the Kansas and Nebraska border.

Early arrivals dig up the 1855 stone.

The 1855 stone set diagonally in the intersection below the road.

The crowd begins to grow.

The crowd was enthusiastic despite the heat nearing 100.

An old compass on display.

A horse-drawn wagon provided rides for those in attendance.

Tamping around the stone.

Drilling the stone for the brass disk.

The brass disk manufactured by Berntsen International, Inc.

Placement of the special brass disk.

The monument well and treated lumber frame ready for the concrete.

The finished monument with concrete in place.

A view of the crowd from the southeast looking northwest.

A compass set up over the monument. The view is looking west.

Side view drawing of the brass disk and monument well that were placed over the 1855 stone.

© Jerry Penry 2009