[Case Study] Surveying Disasters: The Southwick Jog

How to Avoid Repeating History

southwick-jogRepeating the mistakes of history can often cost a great deal in terms of lost money and time. For example, if you are buying a new piece of property, building or renovating your home, or installing a new fence, you can avoid repeating the mistakes that led to the Southwick Jog by hiring a professionally licensed land surveyor to complete a land survey. Find out how by learning the history that led to the bizarre curve in Connecticut’s northwestern boundary with Massachusetts.

The History of the Southwick Jog

In 1692, the colony of Massachusetts hired two surveyors to establish the boundary between Massachusetts and Connecticut. They were instructed to establish the line beginning at the southern bank of the Charles River and establish a straight line to the west. Instead of following this direction, they opted to go around the Connecticut River and stop at the town of Windsor. This decision resulted in a boundary that was 8 miles south of where it was intended. Disputes over the boundary between the two states lasted until 1742, when Massachusetts opted to vacate its claim to the land on which the towns of Somers, Enfield, Woodstock, and Enfield were located.

Massachusetts stood by its claim to the town of Southwick, which is the reason there is a two square mile dip in the border between Massachusetts and Connecticut. What is the moral of this story? Make sure you hire a licensed land surveyor who will not take shortcuts when surveying your land.

The Importance of Hiring a Licensed Land Surveyor for Land Surveys: Disaster in the Hamptons

Today, people still run into problems if they do not hire a licensed land surveyor to do their survey work. For example, a couple recently had to tear down their partially built home in the Hamptons because it was not built on the correct place on the property. In addition to the time and expense involved in tearing down the structure and beginning construction again, they have also irritated their neighbors. This headache could have been avoided if they had their property accurately surveyed.


A land survey is necessary in the following situations:

  • Establishing property lines for real estate transactions
  • Building a new home or adding onto an existing home
  • Installing a pool on your property

Many times people who advertise as land surveyors are not land surveyors. To avoid repeating history, make sure you hire a licensed land surveyor.

Key Takeaways

1. Erroneous land surveys can result in years of legal disputes about land boundaries.

2. Accurate land surveys are necessary to avoid costly construction mistakes.

3. A licensed land surveyor has the education and experience to ensure your land survey is correct.