Willamette Stone

Willamette Stone

The Willamette Stone was a small stone obelisk originally located in the western hills of Portland, Oregon in the United States. It marked the intersection and origin of the Willamette Meridian and Willamette Baseline, which 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 location of the original stone is now indicated by a stainless steel marker in Willamette Stone State Heritage Site, an Oregon state park approximately four miles (6.4 km) west of downtown Portland. The site is on Skyline Boulevard, in the West Hills overlooking the Tualatin Valley and the Willamette River watershed.

The grid defined by the stone extended the Public Land Survey System and was used as the basis of land claims in the Oregon Territory. The first marker, a redcedar stake, was placed on the site in 1851 by John B. Preston, the first Surveyor General of Oregon, who was appointed by President Millard Fillmore to create a system for surveying land in the territory. The location was chosen such that the base line would not cross the Columbia River and the meridian would lie west of Vancouver Lake. The grid system was an extension of the system used in the Northwest Territory proposed by Thomas Jefferson. The Willamette Stone marked the location of the first townships and ranges north and south of the marker.

The stake was replaced by a stone obelisk in July 25, 1885. On two sides, the stone was marked with the words "BASE" and "LINE", while on the other two sides it was marked with the words "WILL." and "MER." The stone was vandalized in the 1980s and replaced with the current marker, as well as an accompanying bronze plaque.

Baseline Road in Washington County, and Meridian Road in Clackamas and Marion counties, are so named because their alignment lies mostly along the Willamette Baseline and Willamette Meridian, respectively.


*In Multnomah County, Southwest 65th Avenue overlays the Willamette Meridian. A short section of Interstate 5 immediately south of the Barbur Blvd. interchange also overlays the meridian.
*In Clackamas County, Southwest Stafford Road overlays the meridian.
*In Marion County there are several sections of a road named Meridian Road that parallel the meridian. Due to the hilly landscape, not all sections of this road overlay the meridian.
*There is a Meridian Street in Newberg. However, it is several miles west of the actual meridian.
*Stark Street in Portland runs along the Willamette Baseline.
*There are roads named Baseline in Washington, Hood River, Gilliam, and Morrow counties that all run along or start at the Willamette Baseline.


External links

* [http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_246.php Willamette Stone State Heritage Site] , part of the Oregon State Parks system
* [http://www.endoftheoregontrail.org/road2oregon/sa29surveys.html Surveying the Land] , from the website of the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
* [http://www.ormap.org/mapmanual/pdfs/19d-App_D.pdf Location of the Willamette Meridian and the Oregon Base Line]

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