YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A large piece of Mahoning County history has been sitting in a basement for more than 50-years. Soon, it could be in a case on display in the Mahoning County Engineer’s Office.
The piece of machinery uncovered is called a theodolite. It would have been used by surveyors and belonged to the county’s first engineer.
George Montgomery was elected in 1898 when his position was known as county surveyor. He served until 1911 and was re-elected seven years later.
In 1935, the title was changed to engineer, and Montgomery retired a year after that. He went into business with his cousin, Edwin Haseltine, another retired county engineer.
The theodolite was donated by Montgomery’s granddaughter, who had kept it in her basement ever since Montgomery died in 1968.
“It has a lot of historical significance. It perpetuates our profession, but this kind of shows some of the equipment the original surveyors were using,” said Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti.
The antique includes a large compass and would measure angles horizontally and vertically but would take an entire crew to operate. Even though today’s instruments utilize GPS and radio signals for their measurements, Ginnetti says these older pieces did the job.
“We’ve gone and remeasured some of the older surveys as things change or we need to go out and check. It’s incredible how accurate some of these measurements are,” Ginnetti said.
Ginnetti says he’ll add the theodolite to his collection of instruments, showing off more of the county’s surveying past.
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