Von Schmidt State Boundary Monument
The Von Schmidt State Boundary Monument was designated a California Historic Landmark (No. 859) on April 26, 1973. In 1873 San Francisco civil engineer Allexey W. Von Schmidt built the State Boundary Monument in San Bernardino County, California near Needles, California. In 1872 and 1873 Von Schmidt did a survey of the border between California and Nevada/Arizona. The California Historic marker is on the dirt road, Pew Road, also called River Road, 2. 6 Miles South of the State Line; 14 Miles North of Needles. The marker is not at the current state boundary, as Von Schmidt made an error in his survey. A new survey in 1893 showed that the Von Schmidt line was 1,600 to 1,800 feet off to the west. The marker is at the southern end of the California-Arizona State boundary. In 1872, a dispute arose between Nevada and California about the location of the state’s boundary. Nevada wanted the state divide to be the same as the Sierra Nevada mountain range divide. California wanted the line to the east of the mountain range. When California attained statehood in 1850, it adopted 120 degrees west longitude as its eastern border. Between 1855 and 1900 there were six surveys to locate 120 degrees, with each locating 120 degrees of longitude differently. Von Schmidt applied for and was granted the contract to survey the state’s frontier border east of the Sierra Nevada. In 1872 Von Schmidt using only a compass, a sextant and dead reckoning process set out with his crew to define the boundary. Von Schmidt was charged to measure and mark the boundary. Von Schmidt and his crew built stone markers and installed cast iron markers about one mile apart on the length of the state’s boundary. Not many of the markers had foundations, so fewer remain today. A new survey in 1893 showed that the Von Schmidt line was 1,600 to 1,800 feet west of the actual 120 degrees. However, California and Nevada both recognize the 1872 Von Schmidt survey and the 1893 survey as the state line. Later the 1893 line was used. The exact location of the north-south California-Nevada border, between Lake Tahoe and the intersection of the southern boundary of Oregon at the 42nd parallel, was contentious and was surveyed and re-surveyed many time.
One of the few iron markers that has survived is a near Verdi, Nevada this is a National Historic Landmark called the 1872 California-Nevada State Boundary Marker.
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “Alexey W. Von Schmidt“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.