Land Surveyors to Re-create George Washington’s First Survey

Public Is Invited to re-enactment at RENDEZVOUS ’07

260 years ago, long before the USA was founded, teenage George Washington was an apprentice land surveyor, practicing his measurements on the banks of the Potomac.

He went on to become an official Virginia County Surveyor, mapping vast lands for Lord Fairfax in the 1750s.

Although known today as a great general and America’s first president, George Washington made his actual living by surveying property, before duty to his country called. Many historians feel it was this early disciplined training, in surveying, mapping and mathematics, that helped him fight the French & Indian War, win the Revolution and lead his new nation.  In addition to Washington, both Jefferson and Lincoln were also land surveyors.

In 1747, George Washington was a 16-year old rookie surveyor, struggling to measure his very first parcel, on his father’s farm in Virginia. He completed the 22-acre training exercise successfully. Today the site is part of a national park, George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument, owned and preserved by the National Park Service.

Remarkably, young George’s original field notes and drawings from his first survey have survived to this day, allowing modern surveyors to reconstruct his original dimensions.

On Saturday, September 15, 2007, land surveyors from across America will gather at that very same spot, to recreate and reenact George Washington’s first land survey. The public is invited.

Wearing colonial garb and using period-correct instruments and techniques from the 1700s, modern-day surveyors will re-run the same lines that George Washington first laid out 260 years ago. The event is part of “RENDEZVOUS ’07,” an annual three-day surveying history conference organized by Surveyors Historical Society, and hosted this year by National Park Service.

The reenactment ceremony will take place on the grounds of George Washington Birthplace National Monument, near Colonial Beach, Virginia — 1732 Popes Creek Road, Washington’s Birthplace, VA 22443. Festivities begin at 1 pm, Saturday, September 15, 2007 and end at approximately 3 pm. There is no cost to the public for the survey reenactment, but the park has a $4.00 admission fee.

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