David Mark's tri-state search

Sometimes a geographical point is the convergence of space and understanding. And sometimes it's just a spot where two-or three-places meet.

Since 1991, David Mark has embarked upon a unique endeavor: to visit each of the 59 places in the United States where three or more states come together. He calls his informal project TriState, USA, and he is chronicling each site he visits on his homepage on the Web (http://www.geog.buffalo.edu/~dmark/tristate).

The project's start was "spontaneous," Mark says. "I was driving up the Delaware Valley (with a friend) and we realized we were close to where New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania meet, and we decided to go find it," he said.

Easier said than done. Mark tried to locate the three-state intersection first from Pennsylvania, then crossed into New York and headed toward New Jersey. After more driving around and some backtracking, he pinpointed the location to within a dozen yards or so.

"To the west of the road, a dirt track ran toward the bank of the (Delaware) river at about the right orientation, with a parallel chain-link fence to the north," he notes in his Web site reminiscence of the trek. "Since we reasoned that the state line must also be a property boundary, and since there were no signs prohibiting entry, we walked down the dirt road to the river. Looking out into the river, we could see a point of land extending downstream, and at its southern end there appeared to be some sort of monument or marker!"

Back in the car and back to New York, the search continued down a road, over a small bridge, through a cemetery. Eventually the road led to the monument he had seen from across the river.

"It did indeed commemorate the Tri-State point....(We examined) and photographed the marker, which had three lines from the benchmark indicating the three state boundaries, with the two-letter state codes in the appropriate zones.

"The search had taken more than an hour, but it had been fun, and the idea of visiting more of these, and perhaps all, seemed like it would be an exciting long-term project," Mark says in his Web site.

Since that trip, he has visited 11 other tri-state locations. Most of them have been identified by a marker of one type or another. He has been surprised at their variety. "It's been interesting to see how differently people have commemorated the places," he said. Photographs of a number of tri-state markers are included on his Web site. His favorite, so far?

"In so far as the place, the one I liked was where New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado come together-it's a scenic, isolated area," Mark said. "My favorite marker is the Colorado-Kansas-Oklahoma one," which is featured on the title page of his Web site.

-Christine Vidal, Reporter Editor

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