Nebraska GLO Monuments

Explanation Notes

The original government section corner monuments established in eastern Nebraska were stones. As the surveyors progressed westward, and the availability of stone became scarce, they dug pits and placed the soil in a conical mound. In the center of the mound was placed a wooden stake with a charred tip.

The first surveyors were awarded contracts by the Government Land Office (GLO). The section corner monuments were to be marked to designate their location. Typically a section corner which was common to four different sections had hash marks on the sides to indicate the distance to the nearest township line. Monuments placed at the half mile locations were marked with a "¼" to indicate that they were quarter section corners which would be later used to divide the sections into four quarters. A regular section would have eight monuments placed around the exterior by the GLO surveyors.

The old stones that can still be found under roads were preserved many years ago by workers who recognized their importance. Sometimes stones were lowered prior to the roads being graded and sometimes they were buried by the addition of fill dirt over the top of them. The position of the original monument when found controls the location of the corner over any other monument that was placed at a later date in the same area. This is why is it very important to locate the original monument so that multiple locations do not exist when surveyors need just one point to measure from.

The stones shown in the photos were first accurately referenced before being removed. They were then cleaned, photographed, and measured. The excavated hole was then deepened and the stones were correctly reset in the exact location as found. Then another monument that typically consists of an iron pipe with a stamped aluminum cap was placed directly over a mark on the top center of the stone. This ensures that the original monument remains in its correct location and a second monument that can be used by surveyors is directly above the stone. If the top monument becomes disturbed or removed, the stone will serve as a means of resetting another upper monument.

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© Jerry Penry 2010