When I was at Orchard House last month (Orchard House being the Concord home of the Alcotts, of course), my traveling companion noticed the property survey hanging on a wall. Being someone who is in to surveys, site plans, etc., he noticed the surveyor's signature.
Well, now you can see said survey, too. Click on the plan, scroll down to the bottom, and you'll see that the surveyor was Henry D. Thoreau.
The Concord Free Public Library has a whole array of Thoreau's surveys available on-line.
I'd gotten the impression that he didn't do a whole lot. I've just started rereading Walden (because you just can't be reading too many books at once), and in that first essay I feel (as I did when I first read it, according to my notations) that he doesn't hold working folks in much esteem. Seeing that he really did meaningful work--that could come into play in twenty-first century title searches--may have an impact on my reading of his book.
But is that a good thing? Shouldn't the meaning and significance of his work be right there on the page in front of me regardless of what I know about him?
Ah, a question I struggle with frequently.
Nonetheless, surveyors are cool.