Friday, May 14, 2010

Where I Run: A Mason-Dixon Line Marker (Mile 103)

My last installment of Where I Run was here, back on 22 March.

When I run to or from my garage where I get my cars worked on, it’s but a short distance to the PA-MD state line. In fact, the little village that sits astride the line along US Route 11 is called State Line (go figure!).

At any rate, on the outskirts of State Line, tucked along an embankment and nearly covered by the Crown Vetch roadside planting is an original stone mile marker placed in the 1760s by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, when they surveyed the now-famous Mason-Dixon Line to settle a border dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Here are 3 shots I took this week:

Across the road, the marker stone is in the center, at the base of the post.

Up close, about 18" is above ground.

Note the "P" for Pennsylvania

The surveyors placed small stone markers every mile and a larger stone every fifth mile. This is one of the regular mile markers. Note the P on the north (Pennsylvania) side.

What amazes me, according to an excellent National Geographic article, is that
…the line was off the mark by as little as one inch in some places and never more than 800 feet….Although there is nothing scientifically groundbreaking about the calculations made by Mason and Dixon, creating a boundary with almost constant latitude was a logistical achievement and represented hard core science done under harsh conditions.

When Mason and Dixon placed this particular stone, the area undoubtedly would have been heavily wooded. Then as civilization reached the frontier, roads and villages grew, and now nearly 250 years later this small stone sits virtually unknown and unnoticed, except by someone who is looking for it.

Whenever I run by I touch it and send good vibes to the long-dead Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, who in their own right were ultrarunners in spirit.

Another good site to read more is here.

1 comment:

  1. My husband is very much interested in the Mason-Dixon line markers. Can you give more specific directions to markers 100, 103 , and 105? A road and town would be very helpful. Thanks, A navigating wife