1. How to get logged in to the NEW SurveyorConnect.com!

    You should have received a password reset notification at the email address you used to register your account here. If you don't receive the email, please check your spam or junk folder. If you still don't have it, please click the following link to manually reset your password. If all else fails, send us an email at support@surveyorconnect.com.

    [ CLICK HERE TO RESET YOUR PASSWORD ]

Giant Arrows

Discussion in 'General Land Surveying' started by Joe Ferg, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Joe Ferg

    Joe Ferg 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Giant Concrete Arrows That

    Point Your Way Across America...
    [​IMG]

    Every so often, usually in the vast deserts of the American Southwest,

    a hiker or a backpacker will run across something

    puzzling:

    a large concrete arrow, as much as seventy feet in length,

    sitting in the middle of scrub-covered nowhere.
    [​IMG]

    What are these giant arrows? Some kind of

    surveying mark?

    Landing beacons for flying saucers? Earth’s turn signals?
    [​IMG]

    No, it's...

    The Transcontinental Air Mail Route.
    [​IMG]

    On August 20, 1920, the United States opened its first coast-to-coast

    airmail delivery route, just 60 years after the Pony Express closed up shop.

    There were no good aviation charts

    in those days,

    so pilots had to eyeball their way across the country using landmarks.

    This meant that flying in bad weather was difficult,

    and night flying was just about impossible.

    The Postal Service solved the problem with the world’s first ground-based

    civilian navigation system: a series of lit beacons that would extend from

    New York to San Francisco. Every ten miles, pilots would pass a bright yellow

    concrete arrow. Each arrow would be surmounted by a 51-foot steel tower

    and lit by a

    million-candlepower rotating beacon.

    (A generator shed at the tail of each arrow powered the beacon.)
    [​IMG]

    Now mail could get from the Atlantic to the Pacific not in a matter of weeks,

    but in just 30 hours or so.

    Even the dumbest of air mail pilots, it seems, could follow a series of bright

    yellow arrows straight out of a Tex Avery cartoon. By 1924, just a year after

    Congress funded it, the line of giant concrete markers stretched from Rock Springs,

    Wyoming to Cleveland, Ohio. The next summer, it reached all the way to New York,

    and by 1929 it spanned the continent uninterrupted, the envy of postal systems worldwide.
    [​IMG]
    Radio and radar are, of course, infinitely less cool than a concrete

    Yellow Brick Road from sea to shining sea, but I think we all know how

    this story ends. New advances in communication and navigation technology made

    the big arrows obsolete, and the Commerce Department decommissioned the beacons

    in the 1940's. The steel towers were torn down and went to the war effort.

    But the hundreds of arrows remain. Their yellow paint is gone,

    their concrete cracks a little more with every winter frost,

    and no one crosses their path much, except for coyotes and tumbleweeds.

    But they’re still out there.
     
  2. Tom Adams

    Tom Adams 2-Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,475
    Location:
    Colorado
    Thanks for posting that.....
    :good: [like]
     
  3. Nate The Surveyor

    Nate The Surveyor 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,276
    Location:
    SW Arkansas
    Licensed in:
    AR
    Ditto!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    :party: :good: :stakeout: That was great. Thanks for sharing it.
     
  4. Dave Ingram

    Dave Ingram 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,187
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    I'm a pilot, knew about the mail routs, knew about the beacons, but never heard about the arrows until now. I've learned something new today and that is a goal everyday.

    Thank you.
     
  5. eddycreek

    eddycreek 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    Eddyville, Ky
    So it looks like they all point one way. Wonder how the pilots found their way back?
     
  6. Charles L. Dowdell

    Charles L. Dowdell 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    Huachuca City, Arizona
    Licensed in:
    AZ, ID, WY
    Put their airplane in reverse.:-)
     
  7. KLS

    KLS 3-Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    247
    thats cool, thks for posting
     
  8. m & h taylor

    m & h taylor 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    226
    Wonderful post! Thank you!
    Henry
     
  9. Carl B. Correll

    Carl B. Correll 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    1,920
    Location:
    Christiansburg, VA
    What an incredible post!! Thank you!!
     
  10. christ lambrecht

    christ lambrecht 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Messages:
    902
    Location:
    Belgium - Flanders - Ghent
    Interesting and well documented post!
    thanks for sharing,

    Chr.
     
  11. R. Michael Shepp

    R. Michael Shepp 4-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    573
    Location:
    West Virginia
    Very interesting! A great post, thanks for sharing.
     
  12. Brad Ott

    Brad Ott 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,484
    Location:
    City of Franklin, Johnson County, IN USA
    Licensed in:
    IL, IN, KY, MI, OH
  13. Loyal

    Loyal 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,560
    Location:
    Evanston, Wyoming
    Great post!

    I have recovered and tied (GPS) several of these over the years, but never knew "the rest of the story" in that detail.

    Thanks,
    Loyal
     
  14. imaudigger

    imaudigger 2-Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,351
    Location:
    CA
    [​IMG]

    Anybody notice an unusual number of disturbed bench marks in Flagstaff?
     

Share This Page