X 281

NGS PID:
LY1614
Coordinates:
N 41.262222° W 75.506666° (estimate)
Location:
Elevation:
1855.47 ft.
Type:
Bench Mark Disk
Setting:
Boulder
Year Established:
1961
Established By:
NGS
Status:
Not Found
Condition:
Unknown (Not Found) as of June 21, 2014

Even though we didn't find this bench mark, there's an interesting story behind the search! A few weeks ago, while we were hiking along old Route 611 (now a trail in Gouldsboro State Park) toward the coordinates for WANNA AZ MK, Rich was reminiscing about his family's drives to New York on old Route 611. "I remember there was this neat old roadside place that had a windmill. It was somewhere south of Daleville. We never stopped there, but I think they sold hot dogs, or ice cream. I just remember seeing the windmill." I literally stopped in my tracks. "Really?! I just read a benchmark description where I swear they mentioned that place!"

For the rest of that day, and for the next week or so until I finally found the benchmark description again, this drove me nuts. It had probably been about a week before Rich mentioned the place with the windmill, and I had been reading USGS datasheets, so I assumed that's where I had seen the mention of the windmill. I went through each possible quad several times until I was convinced the description was not among them. Finally it occurred to me that maybe it had been an NGS mark instead, and it was. From the description for X 281: "... ABOUT 150 FEET NORTH EAST AND ACROSS THE HIGHWAY FROM A HOUSE (THAT USE TO BE A BUSINESS) WHICH WAS BUILT TO LOOK LIKE AN OLD DUTCH WINDMILL ...".

Meanwhile, we were asking everyone we could think of if they too remembered the old place with the windmill, and could recall the name or pinpoint the location. Almost no one remembered it at all, and no one could come up with the name. But once I found the correct datasheet, it seemed clear that we would be able to identify the building (if it still existed, although the windmill is obviously long gone) or at least the spot where it had stood. We began at home, with our usual investigations on topo maps and Google Street View. We couldn't see any obvious boulder that looked as described, but we saw a rock of some kind and near it, a wooden stake with flagging tape. It appeared promising. Today was the day to investigate in person.

We drove the prescribed distance south from the intersection of Routes 307 and 435 and arrived at a place called Knecht's Country Store. We were as eager to solve the mystery of the windmill building as we were to find the bench mark, so first we looked for any signs of life around the store. Despite a sign that read "In back potting plants, please beep horn or call [phone number]" there was no one anywhere on the grounds. We peered through the window of the small store and saw nothing but some old junk and a huge stuffed black bear (which Rich wanted to bring home for our porch). Rich said it was possible that the windmill had been in this area, but it still didn't look quite right to him.

Before looking around for anyone else to ask, we crossed the highway and searched for the mark. The stake with flagging tape was still in place, but the nearby rocks were bare and no mark was evident anywhere nearby. For the mark to have been set vertically, the boulder must have had a significantly large western face, and nothing in the area matched this description. Our best guess is that the boulder was removed when the road/shoulder was widened.

At the next house up the road, we watched a man pull out in a pickup truck just as we approached. Damn! We thought we had missed our chance to find out more about the windmill from the neighbors. No one else was at home but creepy mannequins placed all over the property—it was truly one of the most bizarre (and disturbing) things I've seen, and we should have taken a photo.

Anyway, we moved on to the next building, which although it was closer to the intersection than described, seemed to Rich to best match his memories. We went inside and the "country fellow" who came to greet us was happy to tell us that he knew all about the windmill—it had been his grandfather's business! At the time the name had been Knecht's Nursery. Now it belongs to his father and the name is, you guessed it, Knecht's Country Store. The windmill was removed years ago. So it wasn't a roadside food stand, and we didn't ever find the bench mark, but Rich's memory had provided us with a great adventure and a chance to explore and learn more about the Daleville area.

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