Jefferson Pier, Jefferson Stone, or the Jefferson Pier Stone, in Washington, D.C., marks the second prime meridian of the United Stateseven though it was never officially recognized, either by presidential proclamation or by a resolution or act of Congress.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.
The Washington meridians are four meridians that were used as prime meridians in the United States and pass through Washington, D.C.. The four which have been specified are:
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The stone is on the National Mall almost due south of the center of the White House and the midline of 16th Street, NW, about due west of the center of the United States Capitol building, almost due north of the center of the Jefferson Memorial and 391 ft (119 m) WNW of the center of the Washington Monument.
The National Mall is a landscaped park within the National Mall and Memorial Parks, an official unit of the United States National Park System. It is located near the downtown area of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States, and is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) of the United States Department of the Interior.
The White House is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. and has been the residence of every U.S. President since John Adams in 1800. The term "White House" is often used as a metonym for the president and his advisers.
The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Though no longer at the geographic center of the Federal District, the Capitol forms the origin point for the District's street-numbering system and the District's four quadrants.
The monument is a 2.25-by-2.25-foot (0.7 m × 0.7 m), 3-foot (0.9 m) tall granitic monolith with crossing longitudinal and latitudinal lines engraved on its upper surface and with a defaced inscription engraved on its west face that states:
Granite is a common type of felsic intrusive igneous rock that is granular and phaneritic in texture. Granites can be predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on their mineralogy. The word "granite" comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a holocrystalline rock. Strictly speaking, granite is an igneous rock with between 20% and 60% quartz by volume, and at least 35% of the total feldspar consisting of alkali feldspar, although commonly the term "granite" is used to refer to a wider range of coarse-grained igneous rocks containing quartz and feldspar.
A monolith is a geological feature consisting of a single massive stone or rock, such as some mountains, or a single large piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument or building. Erosion usually exposes the geological formations, which are often made of very hard and solid igneous or metamorphic rock.
POSITION OF JEFFERSON
PIER ERECTED DEC 18, 1804.
RECOVERED AND RE-ERECTED
DEC 2, 1889.
[fifth line chiseled out]
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The chiseled-out fifth line reportedly once incorrectly stated: "BEING THE CENTRE POINT OF THE".
According to a notation on Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant's 1791 "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of the government of the United States ... " (see L'Enfant Plan), Andrew Ellicott measured a prime meridian (longitude 0°0') through the future site of the U.S. Capitol. (Shortly after L'Enfant prepared this plan, its subject received the name "City of Washington".) Thomas Jefferson, who at the time was serving as the United States Secretary of State, supervised Ellicott's and L'Enfant's activities during the initial planning of the nation's capital city. Jefferson hoped that the United States would become scientifically as well as politically independent from Europe. He therefore desired that the new nation's capital city should contain a new "first meridian".
Pierre Charles L'Enfant, self-identified as Peter Charles L'Enfant while living in the United States, was a French-American military engineer who designed the basic plan for Washington, D.C. known today as the L'Enfant Plan (1791).
The L'Enfant Plan for the city of Washington is the urban plan developed in 1791 by Major Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant for George Washington, the first President of the United States.
Andrew Ellicott was a U.S. surveyor who helped map many of the territories west of the Appalachians, surveyed the boundaries of the District of Columbia, continued and completed Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant's work on the plan for Washington, D.C., and served as a teacher in survey methods for Meriwether Lewis.
A prominent geometric feature of L'Enfant's plan was a large right triangle whose hypotenuse was a wide avenue (now part of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW) connecting the "President's house" (now the White House) and the "Congress house" (now the U.S. Capitol building). 400 feet (122 m)-wide garden-lined "grand avenue" would travel for about 1 mile (1.6 km) along the east-west line. L'Enfant chose the west end of the "grand avenue" (at the triangle's southwest corner) to be the location of a future equestrian statue of George Washington for which the Continental Congress had voted in 1783. (Although the planned "grand avenue" became the portion of the National Mall that is now between the Capitol's grounds and the Washington Monument, neither the avenue nor Washington's equestrian statue were ever constructed (see: National Mall)).To complete the triangle, a line projecting due south from the center of the President's house intersected at a right angle a line projecting due west from the center of the Congress house. A
In 1804, Jefferson requested a survey of a meridian through the President's house while living in the house when serving as the President of the United States. It is not known why Jefferson requested a survey of a new meridian after he had previously directed a survey of a different one while serving as Secretary of State eleven years earlier.
In accordance with Jefferson's request, Isaac Briggs used a transit and equal altitude instrument (see Theodolite )to survey a new meridian line extending south from the center of the President's House that intersected a line extending due west from the planned center of the Capitol building. On October 15, 1804, Nicholas King, Surveyor of the City of Washington, erected at the intersection "a small pier, covered by a flat free stone, on which the lines are drawn." This established the Washington Meridian (sometimes termed the "16th Street Meridian"), now at a longitude 77°2'11.56" (NAD 83) west of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. The pier and stone were located at the point that L'Enfant's plan had identified as being the future site of George Washington's equestrian statue. A pier is a massive pillar capable of supporting a great weight. Most of the length of a surveying pier is buried vertically in the ground for stability. Free stone is fine grained stone soft enough to carve with a chisel, yet has no tendency to split in any preferential direction.
Another stone, the Capitol Stone, was erected where the north-south line from the President's house intersected a line extending west from the south end of the Capitol, and a third stone, the Meridian Stone, was erected on the north-south meridian two miles north on Peters Hill, now Meridian Hill. Neither of the two latter stones survives. Due to errors either when the Jefferson Pier was initially surveyed or when it was replaced, its center is now 2.23 ft (0.680 m) south of the Capitol's centerline.
The 1804 stone marker replaced one of two wooden posts driven into the ground in 1793 at its site.The marker was originally located on the south bank of Tiber Creek, near the creek's confluence with the Potomac River. The area of the present National Mall west of the marker was under water until an engineering project that Peter Conover Hains directed from 1882 to 1891 created West Potomac Park. East of the marker, Tiber Creek was transformed into the Washington City Canal.
Barges used the marker as a mooring post during and after the first phase of Washington Monument's construction, which began in 1848.However, that usage was not the reason that the stone was named a "pier", because the surveyor who erected it had already used that term himself. The developers of the Washington Monument originally wanted the memorial to be located at the site of the Jefferson Pier. However, concerns about the bearing capacity of the soil prevented that from occurring. The marker served as benchmark when the Monument's construction began, but later disappeared from view.
Without recognizing the significance of the stone, the United States Army Corps of Engineers removed the original marker during 1872–1874 as part of a cleanup and grading of the grounds around the stump of the Washington Monument, which had not yet been finished. As part of this project, the Corps of Engineers filled in gullies, planted trees and constructed ornamental ponds and a broad carriage road around the stump.The project left in place about 20 inches of the stone's foundation.
On December 2, 1889, John Stewart, a draftsman acting on the instructions of Colonel O. H. Ernst, Officer in Charge of Public Buildings and Grounds, erected a replacement marker above the recovered foundation of the original marker. According to 1898 and 1899 reports, an inscription on the west side of the replacement marker stated: "Position of the meridian post, erected September 20, 1793, and position of the Jefferson stone pier, erected December 18, 1804, and recovered and reerected, December 1, 1889."(Silvio Bedini has written that these reports did not accurately describe the inscription. ) The marker was lowered to within 8 inches of its top, so that the inscription was not visible above ground. In 1899, the ground on the west side of the pier was sloped so as to show the inscription on the Pier.
The meridian of the United States was changed to the center of the small dome of the Old Naval Observatory in 1850 (see Old Naval Observatory meridian ) and finally replaced by the Greenwich Meridian as the legal prime meridian for both boundaries and navigation in 1912.
In 1920, Congress approved the placement of a new delineation stone on the Ellipse, the Zero Milestone, which is an itinerary marker from which official mileages from Washington would be determined.The new marker, a gift of the Lee Highway Association, was for some reason placed one foot west of the original meridian line extending north-south from the center of the White House.
In 1943, the Jefferson Memorial was completed due south of the White House on the Washington Meridian.As a result, the Jefferson Pier now stands on a north-south line that passes near the centers of the "President's house" and the memorial dedicated to the president for whom the Pier is named.
An artifact sometimes confusing to and often overlooked by tourists, Jefferson Pier is maintained today by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks administrative unit. In 1890 a new monument, the Ellipse Meridian Stone, was placed by the Coast and Geodetic Survey in the center of the Ellipse in President's Park about 1,506 feet (459 m) north of the Jefferson Pier in a more protected area. Theodolite measurements showed the new Ellipse Meridian Stone stood 26 inches (0.66 m) from the longtitudinal line of the replacement Jefferson Stone, indicating one of the two markers was improperly located.
The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to the area being named the Four Corners region. The monument also marks the boundary between two semi-autonomous Native American governments, the Navajo Nation, which maintains the monument as a tourist attraction, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation.
Pennsylvania Avenue is a diagonal street in Washington, D.C. and Prince George's County, Maryland that connects the White House and the United States Capitol and then crosses the city to Maryland. In Maryland it is also Maryland Route 4 to MD-717 where it becomes Stephanie Roper Highway. The section between the White House and Congress is called "America's Main Street", it is the location of official parades and processions, as well as protest marches. Moreover, Pennsylvania Avenue is an important commuter road and is part of the National Highway System.
The Willamette Stone was a small stone obelisk originally installed by the Department of Interior in 1885 in the western hills of Portland, Oregon in the United States to mark the intersection and origin of the Willamette meridian and Willamette baseline. It replaced a cedar stake placed by the Surveyor General of the Oregon Territory in 1851; this stake defined the grid system of sections and townships from which all real property in the states of Oregon and Washington has been measured following the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850. The Willamette meridian runs north–south, and the Willamette baseline runs east–west through the marker.
Southwest is the southwestern quadrant of Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, and is located south of the National Mall and west of South Capitol Street. It is the smallest quadrant of the city. Southwest is small enough that it is frequently referred to as a neighborhood in and of itself. However, it actually contains five separate neighborhoods.
The Zero Milestone is a zero mile marker monument in Washington, D.C. intended as the initial milestone from which all road distances in the United States should be reckoned when it was built. At present, only roads in the Washington, D.C. area have distances measured from it.
President's Park, located in Washington, D.C., encompasses the White House including the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the Treasury Building, and grounds; the White House Visitor Center; Lafayette Square; and The Ellipse. President's Park was the original name of Lafayette Square. The current President's Park is administered by the National Park Service. The park is officially referred to as President's Park or The White House and President's Park.
The history of Washington, D.C. is tied to its role as the capital of the United States. Originally inhabited by an Algonquian-speaking people known as the Nacotchtank. The site of the District of Columbia along the Potomac River was first selected by President George Washington. The city came under attack during the War of 1812 in an episode known as the Burning of Washington. Upon the government's return to the capital, it had to manage reconstruction of numerous public buildings, including the White House and the United States Capitol. The McMillan Plan of 1901 helped restore and beautify the downtown core area, including establishing the National Mall, along with numerous monuments and museums.
The Ellipse is a 52-acre park located south of the White House fence and north of Constitution Avenue and the National Mall. Properly, the Ellipse is the name of the five-furlong (1 km) circumference street within the park. The entire park, which features various monuments, is open to the public and is part of President's Park. The Ellipse is also the location for a number of annual events. D.C. locals can often be heard to say they are "on the Ellipse." which is understood to mean that the individual is on the field that is bounded by Ellipse Road.
The oldest of the four United States Library of Congress buildings, the Thomas Jefferson Building was built between 1890 and 1897. It was originally known as the Library of Congress Building and is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street in Washington, D.C. The Beaux-Arts style building is known for its classicizing facade and elaborately decorated interior. Its design and construction has a tortuous history; the building's main architect was Paul J. Pelz, initially in partnership with John L. Smithmeyer, and succeeded by Edward Pearce Casey during the last few years of construction. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
Tiber Creek or Tyber Creek was originally called Goose Creek. It is a tributary of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.. It was a free-flowing creek until 1815 when it was channeled to become part of the Washington City Canal. Today, it is underground in tunnels around the city including under Constitution Avenue NW.
The Washington City Canal operated from 1815 until the mid-1850s in Washington, D.C. The canal connected the Anacostia River, called the "Eastern Branch" at that time, to Tiber Creek, the Potomac River, and later the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O). The canal fell into disuse in the late 19th century and the city government covered over or filled in various sections in 1871.
Silvio Bedini was an American historian, specialising in early scientific instruments. He was Historian Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution, where he served on the professional staff for twenty-five years, retiring in 1987.
The boundary markers of the original District of Columbia are the 40 milestones that marked the four lines forming the boundaries between the states of Maryland and Virginia and the square of 100 square miles (259 km²) of federal territory that became the District of Columbia in 1801. Working under the supervision of three commissioners that President George Washington had appointed in 1790 in accordance with the federal Residence Act, a surveying team that Major Andrew Ellicott led placed these markers in 1791 and 1792. Among Ellicott's assistants were his brothers Joseph and Benjamin Ellicott, Isaac Roberdeau, George Fenwick, Isaac Briggs and an African American astronomer, Benjamin Banneker. Today, 36 of the original marker stones survive as the oldest federally placed monuments in the United States. Due to the return of the portion of the District south and west of the Potomac River to Virginia in 1846, twelve of these markers are now within Virginia.
The National Capitol Columns is a monument in Washington, D.C.'s National Arboretum. It is an arrangement of twenty-two Corinthian columns which were a part of the United States Capitol from 1828 to 1958, placed amid 20 acres (8.1 ha) of open meadow, known as the Ellipse Meadow.
According to accounts that began to appear during the 1960s or earlier, a substantial mythology has exaggerated the accomplishments of Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806), who was a free African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist, and farmer. A large number of such questionable reports have developed during the two centuries that have elapsed since he lived.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jefferson Pier .|