The rectangular survey system was enacted by the Land Ordinance Act of 1785. Now known as the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), this system divided what is now Cass County into townships, sections, and smaller tracts called Quarter-Quarters and Government Lots. This surveyed land was sold by the government in order to generate revenue. The land corners placed by the PLSS survey in Cass County provided the foundation for all transactions involving land that followed. The original PLSS survey in what is now Cass County took place from 1857 to 1875 and there were approximately 7800 original corners established. Later surveys by the Federal government between 1915 and 1933 defined Reservation allotments and added about 3000 corners.
Data Resources Disclaimer
The Data provided by the Cass County Highway Department (CCHD) is provided "as is" without warranty or any representation of accuracy, timeliness, or completeness. The determination of the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or merchantability rests solely on the user. The County makes no warranties, express or implied, as to the use of the Data. There are no implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The requester acknowledges and accepts the limitations of the Data, including the fact that the Data is dynamic and is in a constant state of change, with maintenance, correction, and update. This information is a compilation of data from different sources with varying degrees of accuracy and may require a qualified field survey to verify.
Cass County Land Corner Record
These records are an abbreviated history of each controlling land corner in Cass County. They should not be assumed to be complete and have been scanned with the last additions made in 2005. The scanned images have been converted to.PDF and are available for download on the County Surveyor Hwy Corner Cards Directory.
Cass Data Index
The CassData Index (PDF) records are a compilation of recorded Certificates of Survey, Certificate of Location of Government Corners, Plats, Curo book scans, Cass County Survey Office files, and Road Order records of each controlling corner in Cass County. The information in the index, along with the Land Corner Record should give the viewer a complete history of the survey records available in the County records.
Certificates of Location of Government Corner
Certificates of Location of Government Corner are documents containing the history of a particular land corner that has been certified by a Land Surveyor. A certificate should be the best insurance that the perpetuation of a land corner has been done properly. Hard copies of these documents are filed at the CCHD. Minnesota statute requires that a Certificate must be prepared and filed as part of any land survey which includes or requires the perpetuation or restoration of a United States public land survey corner under certain conditions. All of the said Certificates are recorded and available for download on the County Surveyor Government Corner Certificate of Location Directory . The Certificates are listed by document number which can be found in the CassData Index (PDF).
Public Land Survey Plats & Notes
The original PLSS township survey plats, General Land Office, and Bureau of Land Management Supplemental and Resurvey Plats, and the associated field notes are filed at the State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society. The plats are available online at State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society. The field notes are available online
Auditor's Certificates of Survey
Certificates of Survey are documents that are typically a graphic portrayal of survey data on a particular tract or area. County Ordinance requires a Certificate of Survey for most land divisions in order to make the parcel zoning compliant. Minnesota statute requires Certificates of Survey to be filed with the County Surveyor within 30 days of completion. The library of Certificates of Survey has been compiled from a number of sources. New data is scanned and available in this library shortly after it is received. The data is available on the County website through the web mapping link or on the County Surveyor Certificate of Survey Directory by referencing the number from the CassData Index (PDF).
Record Plats, Registered Land Surveys, Common Interest Communities
These are documents that are graphic portrayals of land divisions that have been recorded pursuant to statute. All record Plates, Registered Land Surveys and Common Interest Communities are available through an iDoc Market subscription application from the Cass County Recorder.
Surveyors Record Books A, B, C & D
These books are a public record of surveys done by the County Surveyors in the past. The survey dates range from the early 1900s through the 1960s. The books which are filed at the CCHD have been scanned and converted to.PDF and are available as a download on the County Surveyor Surveyors Record Books Directory. The majority of the data in these records has been referenced on the Cass County Land Corner Records.
Curo Field Books
These records were filmed in a USFS / CCHD cooperative effort in 1983. The microfiche, although of poor quality, has been available at each location since that time. These books contain the field notes of many of the surveys in the Surveyors Record Books and are minimally referenced on the Cass County Land Corner Records. In 2009 Cass County purchased these field books. The 430 field books were digitally scanned in color and references to government corners were indexed. The images are available for download at the County Surveyor Curo Books Directory . The CCHD also scanned additional Curo and Spain books. All are indexed in the CassData Index (PDF) .
Road Calendar-Books A & B
These books contain Auditor's records of County and Township roads in the early 1900s. The books have been scanned, indexed in the CCHD CassData Index (PDF) , and have been converted to.PDF, and are available as a download on the County Surveyor Road Calendar Books Directory.
Township Road Orders
These records are historical Township Road records from an Auditor's Box found at the Highway Department. They have been scanned and indexed in the CCHD CassData Index (PDF) and have been converted to.PDF and are available as a download on the County Surveyor Twp Road Orders Directory.
County Ditch & Road Field Books
These are approximately 180 historic field books of the Cass County Highway Department. Relevant pages of the books have been scanned and indexed in the CCHD CassData Index. Many of these records fail to identify the township and range of a recovered land corner nor identify the road or ditch clearly. The images have been converted to.PDF and are available as a download on the County Surveyor Ditch Road Books Directory.
United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Reservoir Flowage Maps & Field Notes
The USFS has scanned and provided Cass County with images of USACE Reservoir Flowage maps and microfiche of some of the associated field notes. These maps and notes indicate corners and evidence recovered during the survey by the Corps to locate lands that would be subject to inundation from the operation of the dams. Itasca County has recently scanned many of the USACE books and provided the images and index to the USFS and CCHD. For more information please contact the CCHD.
The United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USFS), Corner recovery notes, Minnesota National Forest records, Civilian Conservation Corps records
The Cass County Land Department in cooperation with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the CCHD scanned the USFS corner recovery field books in 2006. The USFS has provided the CCHD with the following digital data:
- Minnesota National Forest corner recovery forms
- Civilian Conservation Corps 874 Forms
- Fire Tower Books
- John Rose field notes
- Soo Line Railroad R/W map
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Right-of-way
State Highway and Railroad right-of-way information are available on the Minnesota Department of Transportation website.