Few People Know That The Final Marker Of The Original Mason-Dixon Line Can Be Found Along This West Virginia Loop Trail
Ever heard of the Mason-Dixon line? We’re pretty sure most of us have, but here’s what you may not know: even after four years of trying, Mason and Dixon failed to complete the line they set out intending to finish. Instead, they placed their last marker on Brown’s Hill in West Virginia, and another team finished the line more than a decade later.
Tucked away in Core, West Virginia along the Pennsylvania border hides a humble-looking little marker.
But don't let appearances fool you, for it marks a significant point in the history of the nation.
In 1763 the English astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were hired to settle an 82-year boundary dispute between the Penns and Calverts, both of whom had received royal grants in America. Thus began a four-year, 240-mile mission with the two surveyors cutting a 24-foot-wide swath into the wilderness, over mountains and across rivers - a swath that became the official boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland.
But Mason and Dixon's attempt to establish this boundary didn't quite succeed. They placed their final marker, pictured here, just under two dozen miles short of their original goal in what is now Mason-Dixon Historical Park in West Virginia. According to information provided by the park, the two surveyors did not dare continue any further.
On October 10, 1767, the two men arrived at what is now the Mason-Dixon Historical Park. When they reached the high point, now known as Brown's Hill, their Mohawk Native American guides forbade the surveyors to trespass any further west. The existing treaty between Pennsylvania's founder William Penn and the Iroquois "Six Nations" council gave the right of passage only to that point, which was the intersection of the North-South Catawba Trail and the East-West Warrior Path.
On Sunday, October 11, 1767, Mason & Dixon set up their instruments on Brown's Hill, and for the next ten days, proceeded to complete their survey observations before making their slow way back to Philadelphia.
Mason and Dixon fell just 23 miles short of their goal of completing the survey to the corner of Pennsylvania. The last 23 miles of the Mason-Dixon Line was surveyed in 1784 by the American scientists David Rittenhouse and Andrew Ellicott.
There are other attractions in the park, as well, including an enchanting fairy trail!
One note if you're hiking to the Mason-Dixon marker: the trail starts out quite steep. If you're not up for a scramble, consider starting with the Green Trail, which intersects the M-D Marker Trail without the steep climb.
To learn more, visit the Mason-Dixon Historical Park on the
web or Facebook.
For more on the history behind state boundaries, this time the one between Virginia and West Virginia, head over to
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79 Buckeye Rd, Core, WV 26541, USA