National Geographic : 1961 Jul
KODACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERB. ANTHONY STEWART Dark ribbons of meadow anchor the soil; golden bands of stubble survive the harvest wagon, crowned with soaring white canvas, capable of carrying five tons (page 12). My family and I crossed the Ohio River and climbed out of the valley to the Allegheny Plateau. The hills grew softer and gradually relaxed altogether. Congress Creates a Giant Checkerboard Signs of the Midwest appeared-nostalgi cally noticeable to a native son. First we saw the courthouse at Cambridge, Ohio, sitting in its standard square, with its standard tower and Civil War monument rising through the standard elms, and all the clocks recording standard time. Among the blue-denimed loungers in the courthouse yard, the talk was of silos, windstorms, road oilings - and at tracting new industries. Between Zanesville and Columbus the terrain becomes flat and man's marks upon it geometric. No longer do side roads trickle in at will; we cross one every mile, regularly as clockwork, each one going north and south, ruler straight. Follow one and you'll inter sect east-west roads precisely every mile. This is the stamp of the Midwest, this giant grid imposed on the earth by Congress before the settlers came. Property lines should not develop helter-skelter; surveyors would make a checkerboard (page 34). Each square would be a square mile, or section, and roads were to follow section lines. (The National Road, being special, would run in dependent of the grid.) Today, from Ohio to Colorado, from Okla homa to Minnesota, the blueprint still exists in continuous pattern. Nowhere is man's stamp of orderliness so evident over such a 21 N.G .S.