2013-02-28 / Columns

News & Reviews

By Edward F. Keller, D.D.S.
1732 Golf Drive Bismarck, ND 58503

Border Posts

The 360 mile border that separates North and South Dakota is lined by 720 quartzite monuments… one every half mile. Quartzite is a granular metamorphic rock consisting essentially of quartz interlocking grains. The markers, cut from a quarry in Sioux Falls, S.D. came to the border by rail and Missouri boats. Each is seven feet long, ten inches square and set 3 1/2 feet into the ground. Only two of the monuments are not evenly spaced because of rivers.

Surveyor Charles H. Bates placed the markers after Congress appropriated $25,000 in 1890 two years after statehood.

The initial post was placed in 1891 at the corner where North and South Dakota join with Minnesota. The final post was placed and set in 1892 at the corner of North and South Dakota and Montana, 360 miles to the west. One post can be clearly spotted at the intersection of highway 1804 and the border in southern Emmons County.

After the completion surveyor Bates quipped that he should be qualified as a member of the human society for erecting 720 “super-cattle scratchers.”

Till next time.

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