The Mason and Dixon Line Preservation Partnership (MDLPP) was established in November 1990 to inventory the stones that mark the Mason and Dixon line and determine ways to preserve the stones from further loss and deterioration. Ultimately, our goal is to replace destroyed or damaged stones that are beyond repair.
The Partnership has also undertaken the major task of locating the stones using the Global Positioning System (GPS). This method of surveying uses a constellation of satellites, which orbit the Earth. Through this procedure, we will be able to obtain the Latitude and longitude of the stones to sub-centimeter precision.
Though often associated with the issue of slavery and the division of “north” and “south”, the history of the Mason and Dixon Line predates the Civil War by over 200 years. The “Mason and Dixon” is named after Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, both English astronomers, surveyors and mathematicians hired by the Penn and Calvert families to establish the long disputed boundary.
An important objective of the MDLPP is to promote a true and factual history of the Mason and Dixon Line. The Mason and Dixon Line has come to be known as the line which divided the free states from the slave states or north from south. The true history of the line has been muddled through years of folklore and hearsay. There are many who have been led to believe that the stones that mark the line are accurate to within 1/2 inch of the intended location. Others believe that to be from “way down south in Dixie” stems from the fact that they live south of the Mason and “Dixon” Line. (Conversely, I suppose it could be said that a Vermonter is from “way up north in Masey”). Our objective is to dispel such folklore and promote a factual history of the line.