Border monuments: Part of our history

Reporter: Kevin Keen
NOGALES, Sonora, Mex. (KGUN9-TV) - They dot Arizona’s southernmost landscape and serve an important purpose: to let us know where the U.S. ends and Mexico begins. No, they’re not border fences. They’re obelisks made of iron and stone, and they’ve been standing still since the 19th century.
In this gallery, you can scroll through pictures of this part of American history, courtesy of the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission.
You can read the full story about the 276 "boundary monuments" and what’s in store for the dozens of monuments crumbling here in Arizona.
  • Before there was any fence along our border, something else let the world know where the U.S. ends and Mexico begins. Made of iron and stone, they were “boundary monuments.” Courtesy IBWC

  • A monumental facelift is now on the way for the markers in Arizona thanks to taxpayers. Courtesy IBWC

  • “These monuments are telling us where the line--exactly where the line is that divides the United States and Mexico,” explained Jose Juan Andrade of the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). Courtesy IBWC

  • The IBWC is in charge of half of the 276 total monuments marking the border from coast to coast. Mexico is responsible for the rest. Courtesy IBWC

  • The monuments are prominently placed atop mountains and hills. In theory, you can see from one monument to the next in a continuous line of sight. Courtesy IBWC

  • Still functional and ever historic, the pyramid-pointed posts are a requirement of a series of treaties and agreements our country made beginning in the 19th century. Courtesy IBWC

  • Congress approved money to repair Arizona's 96 markers, the IBWC reported. The first step: the agency will inventory every post along the 354-mile Arizona-Mexico boundary, recording coordinates and condition. Courtesy IBWC

  • The IBWC said it’s too early to tell how much the project will cost, but workers will try to preserve as many monuments as possible--preserving as much history as they can. Courtesy IBWC