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The Quartzite Border

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The Quartzite Border

The Quartzite Border Surveying and Marking the North Dakota-South Dakota Boundary, 1891-1892

by Dr. Gordon Iseminger

The amazing story of how U.S. Surveyor Charles
H. Bates and his crew marked the 360-mile border between the Dakotas.

$17.95 plus shipping & handling
(perfectbound and sewn binding)

About the book:

In 1891, surveyor Charles H. Bates embarked on a special mission.  Selected and financed by the U.S. Government, Bates and his crew faced the daunting task of surveying and marking the frontier boundary between the two recently formed Dakotas with seven-foot, 800-pound stone monuments placed every half-mile along the 360-mile border.

The Quartzite Border: Surveying and Marking the North Dakota-South Dakota Boundary, 1891-1892, by Dr. Gordon Iseminger, professor of history at the University of North Dakota, describes the frustrating and difficult task of undertaking such a large-scale project on the seemingly endless and often harsh prairie.  Readers will gain an appreciation for the men of the surveying crew who battled blizzards, mosquitoes, prairie fires, Sioux Indians, and government red tape in order to complete their two-year mission.

Using Bates’s detailed survey notes and journals, Dr. Iseminger relates the fascinating story of how the boundary was marked.  The author also provides glimpses into prairie life near the close of the nineteenth century, including steamboating on the Missouri River, railroading, Dakota stone industry, and Dakota politics.  The 122-page, oversized book is illustrated with many historical photographs.

Since their placement, many of the original quartzite markers have been vandalized or stolen.  This book not only recounts the origin of the markers but makes a plea for their preservation.  As Dr. Iseminger writes, the markers “speak of a restless westering urge and the establishment of twin states where there was once a single territory.”

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