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Willamette Stone: Map

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The Willamette Stone's location is now commemorated by a circular marker and plaque.
Close up of the current marker.
The Willamette Stone was a small stone obelisk originally located in the western hills of Portland, Oregonmarker in the United Statesmarker. It marked the intersection and origin of the Willamette Meridian and Willamette Baseline, which defined the grid system of sections and townships from which all real property in the states of Oregonmarker and Washingtonmarker has been measured following the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850. The Willamette Meridian runs north-south from the marker, and the Willamette Base Line runs east to west through the marker.

History

The location of the original stone is now indicated by a stainless steel marker in Willamette Stone State Heritage Site, an Oregon state park approximately four miles (6.4 km) west of downtown Portland. The site is on Skyline Boulevard, in the West Hills overlooking the Tualatin Valleymarker and the Willamette River watershed.

The grid defined by the stone extended the Public Land Survey System and was used as the basis of land claims in the Oregon Territorymarker. The first marker, a red cedar stake, was placed on the site on June 4, 1851, by John B. Preston, the first Surveyor General of the Oregon Territory. Preston was appointed by President Millard Fillmore to create a system for surveying land in the territory; he lost his position in 1853, and "drifted into obscurity." The location was chosen such that the base line would not cross the Columbia River and the meridian would lie west of Vancouver Lakemarker. The grid system was an extension of the system used in the Northwest Territory proposed by Thomas Jefferson. The Willamette Stone marked the location of the first townships and ranges north and south of the marker.

The stake was replaced by a stone obelisk on July 25, 1885. On two sides, the stone was marked with the words "BASE" and "LINE", while on the other two sides it was marked with the words "WILL." and "MER." The stone was vandalized in the 1980s and replaced with the current marker, as well as an accompanying bronze plaque: "Beginning here, the Willamette Meridian was established running north to Puget Sound and south to the California border, and the baseline was established running east to the Idaho border and west to the Pacific Ocean."

Streets

The location of the Willamette Meridian and Willamette Baseline can be identified by various streets that follow their courses, often named to call attention to this fact.

North-South streets & the meridian

  • In Multnomah Countymarker, Southwest 65th Avenue overlays the Willamette Meridian. A short section of Interstate 5 immediately south of the Barbur Blvd. interchange also overlays the meridian.
  • In Clackamas Countymarker, Southwest Stafford Road and Meridian Road overlay the meridian.
  • In Marion Countymarker there are several sections of a road named Meridian Road that parallel the meridian. Due to the hilly landscape, not all sections of this road overlay the meridian.
  • There is a Meridian Street in Newbergmarker. However, it is several miles west of the actual meridian.


East-West streets & the baseline

  • Stark Street in Portlandmarker runs along the Willamette Baseline.
  • Baseline Road in Washingtonmarker, Hood Rivermarker, Gilliammarker, and Morrowmarker counties all run along or start at the Willamette Baseline.
  • Division Street in Portland and Section Line Road in East Multnomah County follow the division between the first and second rows of square-mile sections south of the Willamette Baseline.


See also



References

External links




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