Thought Leader: Statues

A 190Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

I attended a Final Point Ceremony in Concord, MA last week dedicating a monument in honor of Henry David Thoreau. NSPS executive director Curt Sumner presided over the ceremony and, as always, he did a wonderful job representing the profession.

For me, the ceremony was significant as I grew up in Boston and I did a lot of work in New England until 1976 when I relocated to San Diego. While in Boston I stopped by to view the imposing statue of George Washington, another prominent land surveyor.

At present, I am organizing a Final Point in San Diego honoring a local surveyor, Jas Arnold. Jas was an incredible individual and a great surveyor. Sadly, he passed of MS, his last years confined to a wheelchair.

As part of my efforts to promote the Final Point in San Diego, I have spoken to several members of the media as well as some local elected officials and I had to explain to them what surveying was as well as the application of GPS to the science of positioning. As much as I enjoyed these conversations, I was a bit disappointed that these folks were unfamiliar with land surveying. In the case of the Thoreau, the great citizens of Concord love him but even there, many were not familiar with his surveying background.

With all the talk about taking statues down, I would like to put one up. We, as a profession should do more to promote our profession. We need to erect a statue of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Banneker at a prominent place such as in St. Louis, beneath the arch, presently under renovation. Each of these men could be looking in cardinal directions; to the land they laid out and loved.

Although there are several statues of these great surveyors located in various towns and cities, we need one in a very prominent location. A statue like this needs to be erected, and there is no reason we cannot finance a project like this. In addition to promoting the profession, a monument like this would serve to unify our profession. What are your thoughts?

Michael Pallamary is the author of several books and numerous articles. He is a frequent lecturer at conferences and seminars and he teaches real property to attorneys and other members of the legal profession. He has been in the surveying profession since 1971.

A 190Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE