In 1873, Ferdinand Hayden surveyed most of
Colorado and the north slope of Pikes Peak finding mineral wealth
and suitability for farming. The result of the Hayden survey was
a large migration of people to Colorado seeking mineral wealth.
However, Hayden did not survey the Cheyenne Canyon area.
In 1874, a survey by Edwin Kellogg was
completed by of the south slope of Pikes Peak including the summit
of Pikes Peak, south slope, and drainage of Ruxton Creek. The
homestead claims in Cheyenne Canyon and Jones Park were based on
the Kellogg survey.
He described the experience as:
the most rugged and difficult of my career."
Survey teams traveled for weeks, cutting
lines across mountains and valleys. They measured distances with
66-foot chains; 40 lengths of that chain equal a half-mile. Using
hatchets and solar compasses, surveyors such as Kellogg and his
more famous pioneering peer, Maj. D.C. Oakes, established the
first-ever property boundaries and marked them using primitive
monuments such as etchings on trees and perfectly positioned,
Their field notes — seemingly always
scribed in perfect, if not flowery, cursive — describe each
monument and guide to today's surveyors.
Global Positioning System satellites help
modern-day surveyors find their way across scabrous country, but
they cannot help find markers set 130 years ago. And those
markers, not satellite coordinates, define the property lines.
"The original survey holds and controls,"
says Jeff Wahlgren, a surveyor in training who is assisting
Hancock on the project near Pikes Peak. "Can you imagine the can
of worms that would open if that law changed?"
"We don't move boundaries," Bloom says.
"We restore the original survey. Monuments control over
measurements." Even so, today's amply gadgeted surveyors profess
amazement at the precision of their predecessors. Not only were
Western surveyors like Kellogg hardy, they were able to handle
pretty complex calculations in the field. They were rarely off by
more than a foot or 2, even though measurements often required
painstaking days of chain dragging.
They set millions of corners across
millions of acres. Even though they might not have been worrying
about the longevity of their work, it has remained pertinent and
detectable for more than a century. "When you think about what
they did, it's just incredible," Bloom says.
one of the landmark monuments in the Jones Park, is a survey
marker just below the intersection of Trail 667
Homestead Land Claims
Measure of history: Survey retraces
130-year-old steps to chart Pikes Peak property