Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Geocache Maynard: Boundary Markers

Geocache Maynard MA: This entry is intended as a resource for anyone thinking about setting up caches near any of the boundary stones. NOTES: There is a dispute as to whether the northwest stone is properly located. But as it's on private property, don't go there. And the southernmost is in the Wildlife Refuge, where setting up caches is a no-no.   

Maynard was carved out of Stow and Sudbury in April 1871. The border consists of five straight lines forming a five-sided polygon, 9.1 miles total length. Each corner was marked with a stone post 2 to 4 feet tall.

A 1904 Atlas of boundaries of towns of Middlesex Country provided longitude and latitude for each of the five corners, a description of location relative to then-current landmarks – some long since gone – and physical descriptions of stone markers erected at each corner. Starting at the north corner and going counterclockwise:

  1. 42 27 01.35     71 27 53.34        Northernmost, in woods
  2. 42 26 13.77     71 28 43.93        Northwest, in apple orchard (private property)
  3. 42 24 09.53     71 28 11.75        On trail in Assabet River Wildlife Refuge
  4. 42 24 25.24     71 26 35.19        Visible from Route 27
  5. 42 26 13.18     71 25 51.18        Near electric power substation
Maynard also has a Triangulation Station (benchmark), on the top of Summer Hill, next to the water tanks. The coordinates are 42 26 01.530 and 71 28 17.420. I think it is inside the fence around one of the water tanks. Interesting to think that this used to be a treeless pasture that afforded a 360 degree view!

Northernmost stone marker
Recent visits confirmed four of the five markers for Maynard are exactly as described in the Atlas. The fifth was replaced by a stone cut flush with the ground.

#1: The northernmost stone marker is deep in the woods north of the end of Rockland Avenue. The easiest way to access this is walking east from Red Acre Road, in Stow. Good boots and a walking stick will help.

#2: Heading counterclockwise, i.e., southwest, the next corner is the only one on private property, on the hilltop in the apple orchard on the north side of Summer Street.

#3: The southernmost marker is in the recently established Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge. What is there is not the original. That was replaced by the U.S. Army in 1942 with a granite block embedded flush to the ground, because the stone post was in the path of a railroad line to the newly built ammunition bunkers. The base of the original stone lies on the ground a short distance away. The top is in the Maynard Historical Society collection.

Route 27 in background.
Note "2011" painted on stone.
#4: The easternmost marker is a stone's throw west of Route 27, not far from the WELCOME TO MAYNARD sign. The west side has an "M" and the east side has an "S."

Major roads that intersect the borders have smaller stone markers. Look for one where Route 117 crosses from Maynard to Stow. 

#5: The final cornerstone is near the electric power substation just before the entrance to the Concord Mews condominium complex. To get there, drive east on Route 62; go two football fields past Wendy's. turn right onto Sudbury Road, drive up the hill, take the left fork, and keep an eye out to the right. As one walks around the stone marker the letters should be in the order A-C-S-M for Acton, Concord, Sudbury and Maynard, but the actual order is A-C-M-S. 

Replacement marker in Assabet River Wildlife Refuge

The laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Title VII, Chapter 42) require that each town is to have  at least two of its Selectmen or their designated substitutes visit each of its border markers every five years or so in order to confirm that the markers are still there. This is referred to as perambulating the bounds. These official visitors are to paint the year of their visit on their town's side of the marker. Maynard traditionally visits the markers on five year intervals from its founding in 1871; it missed a couple of decades, but did mark the markers in 2011.  

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