Boulder Inn is very close to 28th Street and Baseline Road and only a five minute walk to the Baseline Pedestrian / Bike Underpass connecting the University of Colorado Campus to neighborhood retail and restaurants. Baseline Road is a major east-west street in Boulder, Colorado. It ends to the west just up the hill from the Boulder Inn at the top of Flagstaff Mountain in the City of Boulder Mountain Parks. Baseline Road runs east almost exactly along the 40th line of latitude through parts of four counties.
The Baseline Roads underpass was a canvass for a unique public art project highlighting “Triangulation”, a historical surveying method measuring the distance between two fixed points called a “baseline” and calculating the other legs of the triangle using measured angles. Baseline Road is the control line for the 40th Degree Latitude Parallel which was originally surveyed in July 1859. Government surveyors James Withrow and Jarret Todd were charged with setting the line demarcating the Nebraska Territory on the north and the Kansas Territory on the south. The line follows the parallel latitude 40 degrees north and is known as the “Baseline” and ends at the summit of the Rocky Mountains within Boulder Mountain Parks which in 1859 was the eastern side of the Utah territory. It took the survey crew 55 days to navigate through the 345 miles of rugged terrain. The Colorado Territory would not be formed until 1861 and the 40th Parallel Baseline survey would be instrumental in defining the new territory.
The Triangulation art project by Boulder artist Christian Muller, highlights Baseline Road, the original 40th degree Parallel with:
A memorial survey marker in the form of a large Boulder cut in half and aligned with the 40th Parallel including a stone bench to sit on and view between the two boulders the actual Baseline heading up to the summit of Flagstaff mountain.
The stone marker set along the original “Baseline” not only celebrates this particular historic survey party but also all surveyors of this era whose remarkable work aided the organized western expansion of the United Sates.
A world map etched into concrete and oriented in relation to the 40th Parallel line shows other points along the 40th Parallel in addition to Boulder, Colorado; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Aranjuez, Spain; Ankara, Turkey; and Beijing, China. In the United States the 40th Parallel touches California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
(Click here https://petapixel.com/2012/10/29/photographer-capturing-the-40th-parallel for another art project by photographer Bruce Myren inspired by Baseline Road to capture images of the 40th Parallel across the United States at every whole degree of longitude. It was this Baseline Road tracking the 40th Parallel of latitude that was used for creating townships, homesteads and was a key marker identifying ones place in the settlement of the old West. The photographer documents these arbitrary points of human measurement and shows us the landscape to be found there.)
A nineteen foot tall prism tower located on the 40th Parallel next to the steps to the underpass. The tower is composed of two vertical triangles creating a slit to view the 40th Parallel into the distance and is capped with a triangular prism made of color changing glass. The base of the tower has a red sandstone strip wedged between two large stone blocks. During the day sunlight streams through the top prism to create an endless array of colors. At night the tower colorfully glows with internal LED illumination.
A series of three triangle stone columns located further along the highlighted 40th Parallel Line in the landscaped area to give a better sense of surveying techniques used.
A stone with moss strip is a rock cut into two and separated with a four inch gap filled in with soil and planted with Scotch Moss. The moss strip is an extension of the 40th Parallel Line.
And lastly sandblasted to texture and colored with stain are fractal pattern walls within the underpass that play off the theme of Traingulation to create a fractal design of triangles within triangles. Glass title has been added to some triangle to create splashes of rainbow colors.
Visit the Boulder Inn and discover a sense of place for both the new and the old west just outside your door.