5th Principal Meridian
N 34° 38.741 W 091° 03.122
15S E 678530 N 3835477
Quick Description: Initial Point of the 5th Principal Meridian
Location: Arkansas, United States
Date Posted: 8/20/2008 8:45:41 PM
Waymark Code: WM4GAC
Arkansas is where the journey to the West began. The Initial Point for all official surveys of the vast Louisiana Territory is located in a headwater swamp at the corners of what became Lee, Monroe, and Phillips counties in Arkansas. From this initial point, surveyors began their work of chains and compasses. Every legal description of the lands contained in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 depended on measurements taken from this point.
This was the first major survey west of the Mississippi River to employ the rectangular survey or grid system set out in the Land Ordinance of 1785.
President Thomas Jefferson commissioned two explorers, William Dunbar and George Hunter, to explore and document the southern portion of the Purchase lands. Much of their journey through Arkansas was along the Ouachita River. Their northern counterparts were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
Without the survey of the Louisiana Territory, lands west of the Mississippi could not have been given to veterans of the War of 1812. Without the survey, there could have been no land sales to pioneer farmers and town-builders. Without the survey, Native American history would be far different. The Louisiana Purchase, surveyed from a swamp near modern Brinkley, Arkansas, helped shape the United States.
This is also listed in the NGS data base as Benchmark EH2910.
As always have fun be safe and