What is a “Country Block”? –by Erwin A. Thompson

Here’s another in the Riehlife series “Pop on Mondays” From girlhood I knew what a section of land was–because my father told me–as he told me so many things. Here’s a story of the nickname for a section: “a country block.” Now, here’s Pop.

–Janet, his youngest daughter


What is a “Country Block”?
by Erwin A. Thompson

As my wife Ruth and I traveled around the United States and around the world we encountered many interesting sayings. In Indiana we first heard of a ”Country block.” We are used to the city block, which is used almost universally. I do not know the standard footage for the designated area, but as far as I know it was established years ago.

We come from the hill country of Illinois. It would be totally impractical to make a road along the borders of a section of land. In Indiana the land is relatively flat. As we asked directions to a place that we wanted to go, they were given with the phrase: “country block.” New one on us! What is a country block?

A country block is a mile square, six hundred forty acres, a “section.” It is a very practical way to lay out the land and the main roads. We found the same system to be used in Nebraska, where the land is reasonably flat and roads can be made to follow the edge of the section lines.

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