Today in Michigan History

August 18, 1858

William Austin Burt died.

William Austin Burt died in Detroit. One of the truly great surveyors to work in Michigan, Burt arrived in Macomb County from his native New York state in 1824. In 1833, he began working for the federal government surveying the Michigan wilderness. Burt’s many accomplishments include inventing the solar compass, which saved surveyors time when working in areas rich with minerals that produced inaccurate compass readings.

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