The Wheeler Survey was a survey of a portion of the United States lying west of the 100th meridian. It comprised multiple expeditions, and was supervised by First Lieutenant (later Captain) George Montague Wheeler.
Wheeler led early expeditions from 1869 to 1871 in the west, and in 1872 the US Congress authorized an ambitious plan to map the portion of the United States west of the 100th meridian at a scale of 8 miles to the inch. This plan necessitated what became known as the Wheeler Survey. The survey's main goal was to make topographic maps of the southwestern United States.
In addition he was to ascertain everything related to the physical features of the region; discover the numbers, habits, and disposition of Indians in the section; select sites for future military installations; determine facilities available for making rail or common roads; and note mineral resources, climate, geology, vegetation, water sources, and agricultural potential.
Photographers on the expedition included Timothy H. O'Sullivan of New York and William Bell of Philadelphia. Many of their photographs are now on file at the Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division.
Wheeler Peak in Nevada (part of the Great Basin National Park), Wheeler Peak in New Mexico (the state high point), and the scenic Wheeler Geologic Area in southern Colorado are named for George Wheeler.
- University of Nevada, Reno Library: Special Collections description
- Photographs from Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridian, Expedition of 1872, Library of Congress website. Retrieved: 5 April 2012.
- Wheeler Survey Views of the American West, 1871-1874, Library of Congress website. Retrieved: 5 April 2012.
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