by Jerry Olson, President, Olson Engineering, Inc.
The Annual Convention of The Western Federation of Land Surveyors in 1979 had an excellent historical theme. I came back with an understanding of the Solar Compass and a blank form to hand out to other surveyors to gather historical information. The form asked, "Where are your survey records kept?" and, "What other survey records do you have?" Jim Benthin, when asked if the Land Surveyors Association of Washington (LSAW) would endorse the form, said, "Yes, and by the way, you are now the LSAW Historical Chairman!" (a position not previously existing)
I sent the forms out, gave them away at annual meetings and chapter meetings, and ended up with a pile of completed forms. What to do with these? Computers were in their infancy, but I bought a Compac 8088 and Dbase II. The database was on its way.
Someone gave me a list of County Surveyors and Engineers from the beginning of settlement. Denny DeMeyer gave me many things, including the list of logging railroads. Ken Gregory gave me his list of survey records. Steve Johnson and his crew researching at Sand Pointe Archives developed tremendous General Land Office (GLO) information.
Association rosters were entered. While serving my terms on the Board of Registration, the travel around the state presented opportunities to visit many Auditors offices.
Getting involved in the spirit of collecting data inspired me to read many state and local history books. When surveyors (this is defined fairly loosely in the database) were mentioned, I copied the information and entered it.
If you would rather search the database directly, rather than downloading the pdf files, Click here.