Barbed wire and tree-line fencing on ridge land north of Minnesota City. Photo by James O’Grady

Borcherding and Blumentritt: Surveys and Barbed Wire Boundaries for People and Their Beasts


This year marks the 167th annual Minnesota City Day since the founding in 1852. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at St. Paul’s Church Hall, 132 Anderson Street in Minnesota City, an opportunity will be presented to all persons interested in the surveying business — career, projects, historical contributions — and, additionally, the link of surveyors with barbed wire/collections will be examined.

Don Borcherding, a retired professional surveyor from Rochester, Minn., will speak on Original Surveys and Settlers of Winona County and Minnesota City. Tony Blumentritt, also a surveyor, will present on surveyors and his own collection of barbed wire. When these individuals both spoke at the Minnesota Surveyors Conference in 2017, Borcherding spoke on The Evolution of the Fifth GPM Grid System, a survey of the Missouri territory for land grants to pay soldiers, and Blumentritt participated in the presentation Mediation Skills and Their Benefits for the Land Surveyor. Those who are familiar with surveys will recognize the need for land determination mediation process. Economic development of areas is often impacted by surveys and fencing, or the lack thereof.

When the Minnesota City Historical Association placed the archives in the historic First Baptist Church in Minnesota City, a First treasure hung on the wall, gifted by Roger Church. The framed piece was a drawing by Western Farm and Village settler, surveyor and postmaster Robert Pike, writer of the 1852 land division plan for Minnesota City. The plan included the proposed glassed area within the city for a winter garden. Another artifact, a proposed plan for the city developed before Western Farm and Village had arrived, had been printed in the Advocate, the publication of the New York Group responsible for the Minnesota City settlement. Reprints of these documents will be available for viewing at the Saturday presentation.

The Borcherding and Bluentritt information will be a substantial infusion of information for many listeners. This is a public event, sponsored by Minnesota City Historical Association (MCHA) that promises to interest many; it is free of charge.


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