APLS Motion and Vote
Central Chapter will administer the restoration of the Initial Point Monument at 115th Avenue and Baseline. Authorize $2500 for restoration. Motion by Robert Kelch, Dick Frye, February 25, 1984.
INITIAL POINT BACKGROUND INFORMATION - Initial Point Photo Gallery - click here
Surveys in Arizona are governed by the Gila and Salt River Base Line and Meridian. The Initial Point is at the intersection of these two lines. The Base Line runs east and west though it, and the Meridian runs north and south through it. Land descriptions and property boundaries are governed by and identified by this point.
The monument was originally built in 1851 by John R. Bartlett, Commissioner, U.S. Boundary Commission, while making a reconnaissance survey for the United States-Mexico boundary under the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. In 1865, John A. Clark, Surveyor General for New Mexico and Arizona selected the Bartlett monument as the initial point for surveys in Arizona.
The first survey from the Initial point was a survey of the base line to the east, which began January 19, 1867, 117 years ago, by William H. Pierce, Deputy Surveyor. With a crew of seven men he surveyed 36 mile east in five days. He was using a Burt's Solar Compass to determine direction and a chain 33 feet long made up of 50 links, each 7.92 inches long to measure the distance.
About three quarters of a mile east was the "Road from Tucson to Prescott". Other settlements mentioned in the surveyor's Field Notes were Maricopa Wells and Ft. McDowell. Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa are not mentioned. Pierce described the Salt River "at this season of the year at least a large stream nor do I think it ever entirely dry....I consider this valley....as some of the best agriculture land I have yet seen in the Territory...."
In the last 117 years some 62 million acres of land have been surveyed from this point. Remaining to be surveyed is approximately 11 million acres. Nearly all of the unsurveyed land lies within Military Reservations, National Parks and Forest, and Indian Reservations.
The remonumentation and preservation of this historic point is a joint effort undertaken by the Arizona Professional Land Surveyors, the Gila River Indian Community, the Salt River Project, the State of Arizona Land Department, and the Arizona State Office, Bureau of Land Management.