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* News Release *
In conjunction with the Butler County Historical Society
 
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
For Immediate Release

HISTORIC SURVEY INSTRUMENTS NOW ON DISPLAY
Significant survey artifacts from the collection of the Butler County Historical Society
on display at the Engineer's Office

Today, survey and engineering projects are completed with the aid of modern equipment such as GPS and computers. Imagine, however, doing it all by hand – that is exactly the way James McBride and other early surveyors mapped out Butler County. Using compasses, transits, and chains, these pioneer surveyors painstakingly measured and recorded political boundaries and roads. In fact, many of the boundaries and roads maintained by the Butler County Engineer’s Office were originally laid out using the historic survey equipment now on display at the same place.

Currently on loan from the Butler County Historical Society, these unique artifacts help tell the story of transition from wilderness to settlement. Included in the loaned collection is a rare Potts & Rittenhouse compass which was hand-crafted in Boston, Massachusetts sometime in the 1790s. An instrument similar to this may have been used by John Cleves Symmes to survey his purchase of over 300,000 acres (land between the Miami River’s) from the federal government. The Symmes Purchase (also known as the Miami Purchase) was approved by George Washington. Another compass, owned at one time by James McBride, is also part of the loaned collection. This compass, and accompanying survey chains, may have been used by McBride when he drew the first complete map of Butler County (printed in 1836).

County Engineer Named Historian of the Year

The one year loan of artifacts to the Butler County Engineer’s Office allows the Butler County Historical Society to display a part of its collection that might otherwise not be seen by the public. The artifacts on loan from the BCHS are a great addition to other historic survey instruments securely displayed at the BCEO. Because of his efforts to demonstrate a sense of local history, Butler County Engineer, Gregory Wilkens, was recently recognized by the BCHS as the 2008 Historian of the Year.

The display of historic survey instruments, including the artifacts on loan from the Butler County Historical Society, can be viewed at the main building of the Butler County Engineer’s Office. The office is open M-F, 7:30 – 4:30. For directions call (513) 867-5744 or visit www.bceo.org.

The Butler County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Butler County's rich heritage. The BCHS operates out of the historic Benninghofen House – a showcase of Victorian Era lifestyle that includes all the furnishings and décor appropriate for a late 19th century home. Additionally, the BCHS manages an archive that consists of many original and secondary documents, publications, photographs, etc. To help us prepare for your visit (tour or research), please call ahead to schedule an appointment. The BCHS is also affiliated with Heritage Hall, a space for the display of rotating exhibits and the permanent location of the Robert McCloskey Collection. To learn more about Heritage Hall, please call (513) 737-5958.

# # #

For more information contact:

Michael Riesenberg, Executive Director, Butler County Historical Society
Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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