The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Nov. 8, 1874

Full Text
What has Been Done This Season.
The Work on Lake Michigan Finished and the Party Ordered In.

The present season's work of the United States Lake Survey is nearly completed, and such of the parties as have not yet returned to the city have received orders to do so, and before the close of this week they will all be in. During the summer and fall, nine different parties were at work on lake Ontario, under the direction of Lieutenant D. W. Lockwood, United States Engineers.

The work of triangulation has been carried from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River to Oswego, and the accompanying shore-line work as far up as Big Sodus, besides off-shore soundings. All of this involved an immense amount of perplexing labor, and, under these circumstances the extent of territory gone over in the few months that were devoted to the task is something quite remarkable. The survey of Lake Ontario is to be extended next year from the terminus of this year's operations to Niagara River, which will complete the work on that lake. One party, that of Mr. Marr, is still at work there, locating "points" west from Big Sodus as far up as Batavia.

There are two parties at work upon the triangulation around the southern end of Lake Michigan, from St. Joseph to Michigan City. This link will complete the survey of that lake also.

Another party has been at work this season in the interior of the State determining the latitude and longitude of various points, including Pontiac, Flint, Lapeer, Corunna, St. John's, Ionia and Grand Rapids. This was done at the request of the State authorities, with a view to securing accurate data for a new section map of the state.

With the completion of the little link on Lake Michigan, and the west half of Lake Ontario, the entire survey of the lakes will have been accomplished. The value and importance of this work to the vessel and other commercial interests of the country can hardly be over-estimated. Thirty-nine charts have already been published, which have times without number proved of inestimable service to navigators on the great lakes and their connecting straits. Every vessel is supplied with these charts, and with a proper study of them every sailing master on the lakes may possess himself of exactly such information as he most needs.

The survey of Lake Erie was made many years ago, and the charts furnished are still in use. But as the survey was not so minute in detail as is now considered desirable, if not almost indispensable, it is probable that a re-survey of that lake will be ordered within a year or two.

Gen. Comstock, who is in command of the Lake Survey, is also a member of the government commission for the improvement of the mouth of the Mississippi River. The commission are now gathering information with view to apply the knowledge thus gained to their contemplated operations on the Mississippi. At present they are either at the mouth of the Danube or en route to the Suez Canal. General Comstock left here August 19th, and is expected back about the 1st of December.

Media Type:
Item Type:
The Lake Michigan survey was set back several years when the survey records were destroyed in the great Chicago Fire of October, 1871.
Date of Original:
Nov. 8, 1874
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), Nov. 8, 1874