Phase Two Begins at Point of Beginning
Kent State University at Salem horticulture students are continuing to help make an important historical landmark in East Liverpool more attractive and inviting to local motorists.
Students in the landscape construction class, taught by Stan Jones on the Salem Campus, were back in East Liverpool where they worked on the second phase of a beautification project at the Point of Beginning – an often overlooked registered national historic landmark that had fallen into a state of neglect in recent years.
The class used wooden beams and 18 tons of rock to create an area for visitors to walk to the historical marker that stands at the site. The work is partly funded through an environmental grant from Heritage Thermal Services this past spring.
Last year, Heritage Thermal Services awarded Kent State East Liverpool a similar environmental grant. That money was used by Jones and his students to tackle the first phase of the beautification project, which included building a wooden fence backdrop that also serves as a barrier to the hillside behind the site’s monument.
The students helped plan and design the structure, taking into consideration the proximity of the monument to the road and the small “green” space surrounding it. The site is in the east end of East Liverpool, just feet from the Pennsylvania state border.
According to a historical marker located on the site, “no survey of the western lands of the United States could be made, as required under the Land Ordinance of 1985, until the surveyors for Pennsylvania and Virginia set a marker on the north shore of the Ohio River. On Aug. 20, 1785, that marker was set and concluded the North-South line between the two states.”
The original marker was located 1,112 feet south of the current marker. There, on Sept. 30, 1785, Thomas Hutchins, the first geographer of the United States, began the geographers’ line of the seven ranges and this became known as the Point of Beginning for the survey of the western lands.
A marker containing this historical information was dedicated on Sept. 30, 1960, by the East Liverpool Historical Society and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. The local historical society has custodial care of the site and helped Kent State gain access to it.
Noting that “this site possesses exceptional value in commemorating and illustrating the history of the United States,” the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service designated the site a registered national historical landmark in 1966. It also is listed as a national historic civil engineering landmark.
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Photo: Working on the Point of Beginning project in East Liverpool were (front, from left) Marie Coward, Kevin Wegendt, Stan Jones, Joy Drayer and Claire Smith.