Royal Colonial Boundary - Cumberland Gap NP
Posted by: Lat34North
N 36° 36.046 W 083° 40.521
17S E 260693 N 4053918
Quick Description: Royal Colonial Boundary marker is located on the summit of Tri-States Peak in the Cumberland Gap National Park. This station marks the point where the Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky state boundaries meet.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 11/16/2011 10:29:08 AM
Waymark Code: WMD48K
From the American Society of Civil Engineers
- Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665
Southeastern United States
"The boundary Charles II envisioned was one of the most grandiose in history. To decree an imaginary geographic straight line, 3,000 miles long, as a boundary across an unknown continent that he didn't even own was the height of royal pomposity."
- Lexington Herald-Leader July 28, 1990
"The Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665 was decreed by England's King Charles II to demarcate his American colonies. It provided a survey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River along 36 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude. The boundary now serves to divide Virginia from North Carolina and Kentucky from Tennessee."
"The survey, completed in five stages, was one of the first times a surveyed line was so long that the curve of the Earth had to be taken into consideration. It drew attention both to the importance and to the difficulty of cadastral surveying (to delimit and identify property lines) and geodetic surveying (in which the form and size of the earth are considered). It demonstrated some of the first attempts to locate an exact geographical position on the ground."
"The 1665 line of 36 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude was recognized as the de facto dividing line between the North and the South in the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Slavery was prohibited in new states north of this line."
The plaque reads:
Civil Engineering Landmark
Royal Colonial Boundary
Original Survey, begun Atlantic Ocean 1728
Survey Reached Mississippi River 1819
There are several trails leading to the top of the Tri-State Mountain, a trail map is available at the visitors center in KY.
Now I reach the peak.
From the Cumberland Gap NP visitor center, take the Pinnacle Road to the “Thomas Walker” parking lot. From the parking lot, follow (i.e. hike) the “Object Lesson Road Trail” (white blaze) to the Saddle of Cumberland Gap. Several trails intersect at the Saddle. From the saddle take the Tri-State Trail (south), you will pass the "Daniel Boone Trail” marker erected by the DAR. Follow the path to the peak. The station is located in a small shelter. There are interruptive signs here as well as stone walls built on the state lines to give “you a visual reference” as to where the state lines are.
Note: parts of the trail are steep, but the paths are well marked and are maintained by the park service. The altitude is 1990 feet.
For detail of the locations of the benchmarks, see:
- VIRGINIA CORNER 2 RES
- VIRGINIA CORNER 1893
Wikipedia - Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665
Wikipedia - List of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks