History, Road Trips

Marking the Indiana-Ohio state line

I usually photograph state lines on my road trips. As I began to explore US 50 across Indiana I was hoping to capture a Welcome to Indiana sign as the road crossed in from Ohio. What I found was far better than any old sign.

1838 Indiana-Ohio boundary marker

This sandstone monument is right on the state line. Back in 1837 there was some doubt as to where the line actually lay near the Ohio River, so Indiana and Ohio jointly ordered a new survey. The line freshly reestablished, the states had this monument created and placed on the line along this road that one day would become US 50, but was probably known as the Louisville Pike then.

Even though this column is round, words are engraved on all four “sides.” The state names are engraved to face the appropriate directions.

1838 Indiana-Ohio boundary marker
1838 Indiana-Ohio boundary marker

The north side tells that the column was “Erected Nov. 27th, 1838.” The south side tells the column’s story: “State Line as resurveyed under a joint resolution passed by Indiana on the 27th January and by Ohio on the 10th March 1837.”

1838 Indiana-Ohio boundary marker
1838 Indiana-Ohio boundary marker

It was challenging to find any information about this column on the Internet. Apparently, Ohio and Michigan had a serious disagreement about their border in 1835. There’s a ton of information about it on the Net, and sorting through it all was tedious until I got wise and told Google not to return any results that include the word Michigan. And then there it was, the one lone page on the entire Internet about this column. (I guess this just became the second page about it.) That page says that in 2001, the monument was found uprooted, which is pretty remarkable when you consider that it is nine feet tall and weighs 5,000 pounds.

I photographed US 50 where it entered Illinois last year. There’s a great monument to Abraham Lincoln there. Check it out!

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8 thoughts on “Marking the Indiana-Ohio state line

  1. Lone Primate says:

    Wow, that really is amazing, Jim! What are the odds of finding something like that — or of it still being around after almost two hundred years? It wouldn’t have taken much for it to have been knocked over by some ox cart or Model T or something and just buried in the mud. It’s something to see it still in evidence. It’s nice how well the inscription has stood up to the weather, too.

    Wait a minute… Michigan and Ohio were fighting to KEEP Toledo? …Okay, sorry. Couldn’t resist. ;) Save me from the wrath of Max Klinger! :D

    • Yeah, you know, gravestones from this era all seem to be hard to read, so what did the column maker do to make the inscription keep its shape? And yes, there was quite a skirmish over that strip of land that includes Toledo!

  2. So enjoy “riding along with you” on your roadtrips. You seem always to unearth truly interesting if arcane historical tidbits.

  3. David says:

    That Is Very interesting, But If you do your research you will find that those monuments are in the right place but as the state line goes north it is off by as much as 2 miles! Darke County Ohio and Randolph Co Indiana resurvey the state line with the cooperation of the Ohio and Indiana Department of transportation in 1980 and found that the farther north you go the farther the state line is off. So according to this legally document filed at the Darke County Ohio Auditors office most of the city of Union City Indiana is in Ohio.

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