Unfortunately the details about this road survey crew have been lost, but I suspect some of you will enjoy seeing the tools of the survey trade from years past. They were able to lay out all those roads without a single satellite to help them.
I see these fellows were using the same basic tools that we used in 1960, when I worked for the Oregon State Highway Dept. The only thing I can't spot is a bag of stakes and a plumb bob, but I'll bet they had them too. However, their clothes certainly pre-dated ours.
Bill Seaton on 11th December 2012 @ 7:54am
Finally, a picture of real men! Any idea of how "local" this is? Almost imagine from Dee Flats looking toward Middle Mountain in the background. Interesting they've already gone to a steel tape, rather than a chain. 1920's? That's a very long level. Logging railroad crew?
spinsur on 11th December 2012 @ 8:33am
What is the purpose of the two long poles?
l.e. on 11th December 2012 @ 9:04am
Certainly prepared for some brush wacking.....I like the bulls eye and like Bill says, the equipment didn't change much for many years. Sure would be nice to know more about what and where they were working. At lleast in those days they didn't have to worry about stumbling on a pot grow....
Arlen Sheldrake on 11th December 2012 @ 10:50am
Unfortunately there is no information at all on the back of this photo. All we know is that someone donated it to the museum, so it's likely (but not definitely) local.
Arthur on 11th December 2012 @ 11:39am
l.e., since no one else has chimed in, while this type of surveying is, um, slightly before my time, I'm going to stick w/ my neck out, that these are railroad surveyors. the long tube of the wye or dumpy level is indicative of grade being more important than location. so the transitman would lay out an alignment, backsighting a long pole behind him, then turn the needed horizontal angle to either get to where he needs, or maintain grade, to the other pole in front of him. the level man would be carring vertical elevations to establish grade looking at the pole w/ the target attached. with a set of trig tables, the transitman is computing chords of curves to even amounts that the chainmen would then tape out. with grade shot on the location, the real work, probably done by chinese laborers, would begin, excavating to maintain the shallow grades laid out required by the railroads. early cars were near tractors, and could go up fairly steep grades. not so the logging engines, but they could turn fairly tight curves. build a railroad in, cut the timber coming out, pulling up rails as ya go, and try and catch the surveyors into the next patch of big 'uns.
spinsur on 11th December 2012 @ 6:53pm
Thanks spinsur. So it probably is a railroad survey crew.
I am intrigued by the man on the left. He looks Black.
He looks as if he has an educated position on this survey crew, which must have been unusual for this time.
I wondered if the other man, standing by the transit, was Warren Barney Cooper.
Tom Kloster has a blog about him at http://wyeastblog.org/2012/11/12/warren-barney-cooper/
with a photograph.
But he passed away in 1920. This photo might be later.
l.e. on 11th December 2012 @ 9:44pm