Leadville News – September 25

Obelisks in Lake County, A Monument to History

Have you seen them? There are two located in Lake County, and they are part of a sizable art project called ‘Delimitations,’ whose mission is to trace the original, 2,300-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. Their proper name is obelisks, but they look more like mini Washington Monuments made from galvanized steel. 


The number 21 obelisk seems to mimic Colorado’s tallest, Mt. Elbert in its location. Can you tell its location? Photo: Leadville Today

Delimitations is a collaborative project by artists Marcos Ramírez and David Taylor. During the month of July 2016 they traveled from the Pacific Coast to the Gulf of Mexico, marking  the 1821 border between Mexico and the United States. That boundary was never surveyed and its brief, 27-year history exists mainly in the form of treaty documents and antique maps.

The group’s intent is to make it visible for the first time, by placing 47 obelisks, marking the boundary line from the Adams Onis Treaty set in 1819, adopted by the US, when Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821.

That historic border runs through the Arkansas River Valley in Lake County, Colo. The artists’ journey began in late June, coming through Lake County to place markers 20 and 21, sometime in late July, according to the artists’ blog.

Delimitations_Monument locations

The 1821 Mexican/U.S.border outlined by the obelisk monuments, two of which are in Lake County. Map: Delimitations Blog.

Since then, the obelisks have been discovered by locals and created a bit of a buzz. The first Lake County obelisk discovery was made down by the Hayden Reservoir area. In the pull-off spot for a popular fishing area, monument #21 just appeared one day. No explanation, but several clues, including a number (21), a QR code (those square bar codes you see on everything these days), and the word “Delimitation.”

So the hunt for the story began. A quick scan of the QR code printed on the side of the monument, brings those who happen to have smart phones, to the group’s blog, a fascinating account of their journey, and certainly worth the read.

It’s in that report – some of it is in Spanish, some in English – that readers will discover there is another obelisk in Lake County – number 20. Have you seen it? Can you tell where it is?

Delimitations Number 20

Delimitations monument number 20 has been spotted in the northern part of the county. Can you tell where? Photo: Delimitations Blog.

Since it was not possible for them to transport fully fabricated obelisks, they built them along the way. These monuments are made out of 20-gauge, galvanized steel, neatly stacked in pieces, ready to be assembled along the way.

So now that you know the where, the what and the how, you’ll have to check out the official blog for the why? There are lots of great photos and video, including descriptions of their journey and route.

Once you understand that, then you’ll understand why there are two Delimitations obelisks in Lake County! Then go try to find them, take your picture with one or both, and send those along to info@leadvilletoday.com or post to the LeadvilleToday Facebook Page.

Artist Marcos Ramírez assembles one of the Delimitations monuments during their journey this past summer. Photo: Delimitations Blog

Artist Marcos Ramírez assembles one of the Delimitations monuments during their journey. Photo: Delimitations Blog

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