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The "township" concept is actually part of the public land survey system, which is used in all of the western part of the U.S. and the eastern and southern parts that were surveyed after about 1800.

The system is based on a rectangular grid, with 6x6 mile "townships" made up of 1x1 mile "sections." This forms the basis of the regular pattern visible from the air across most of the country.

Ohio was the first state surveyed using this system, and it's not as regular as the later states, so the townships aren't very square. As you go further west the system becomes more obvious, with streets aligned to the grid, "Baseline" roads (one such road goes through the middle of Boulder, Colorado), and obvious sharp turns at the places where corrections for the curvature of the earth are made.

Each township has one section reserved to support the township's school, and the regular pattern of government-owned sections can also be observed from the air...

by asdf on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 01:00:08 AM EST
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... in school {mumble} decades ago. Except of course the part about the townships getting more regular once you left God's Own and headed further west ... no need to cover Iowa or Nebraska townships in Ohio History class.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:29:46 PM EST
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