Thursday, July 6, 2017

Uncle Sam Will Use Plane to Get Accurate Map of Twists and Turns of Alligator River, 1920

“To Make Accurate Map of Alligator River…This Crookedest of the Crooked Rivers Had to Wait for the Airplane to Get Mapped,” from the July 23, 1920 issue of the Elizabeth City Independent.

Your Uncle Sam will soon have an accurate map of the Alligator River, that vast, mysterious body of water which separates the mainland of Dare county from the county of Tyrrell and has its source somewhere within the wilds of Hyde.

It may surprise the average reader to know that the U.S. Geodetic and Geologic Survey has never been able to obtain an accurate map of the Alligator River and yet the Alligator River is one of the widest rivers in North Carolina and is to be an important link in the government’s great intra-coastal waterway. Alligator River, after running straight as string for miles, begins to twist and turn and bend, come back on itself, and wrap around itself until it is the despair of surveyors and engineers. Boatmen say of it that there are several places on the Alligator where the pilot on a boat never knows whether he is coming or going and often meets himself coming back.

But Uncle Sam is going to get a map of that river. He has two bright young men in an airplane who are photographing the blamed thing a piece at a time from one end to the other. By patching these photographs together Uncle Sam is going to get a line on that Alligator River and find out just where it begins and how it finds its way to the Albemarle Sound. When you see a hydroplane with the designation “A 313” on its tail, you’ll know what that hydroplane is doing in these parts; it is for photographing the kinks in the Alligator.

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