Michigan Meridian

All of Michigan was surveyed from an initial point near its southern border. A jog in the baseline causes this to be a double Initial Point, the only one in the country. The two points are on the same north/south meridian, but are 935 feet apart (in surveyor terms, 14.18 chains—one chain is 66 feet). This discrepancy is the result of an error detected after the surveys east of the meridian had been completed, between the years 1815 and 1824, but before the surveys west of the meridian were begun.

2252 CLUI photo.In 1974, the Initial Points were monumented with twenty-foot wide concrete discs by the Michigan Society of Land Surveyors, which had plans for building a surveying museum at the site.  This never happened. The northern Initial Point is in a swamp which has undermined the concrete disc.

2253 CLUI photo.The large descriptive medallion on top of the north Initial Point has been stolen.

2254 CLUI photo.It was replaced with a simple survey marker erected by the county.

2255 CLUI photo.The stepped commemorative disc at the southern Initial Point has weathered better.

2256 CLUI photo.The metal plate here resembles the one missing from the northern monument, and indicates the meridian, running north/south, and the west baseline, emerging to the left (west) from the meridian.

2330 Even the non-contiguous Upper Peninsula was surveyed from the Michigan Meridian, starting at the double Initial Point in southern Michigan, and a small stretch of northern Ohio too.

2331 The north/south jog in the otherwise east/west county line in the center of the map above is the 935 foot correction made to the baseline in 1824. The northern corner was the Initial Point for the surveys east of the meridian, and the lower corner was the Initial Point for surveys west of the meridian.