Chipping away for treasure

Super Digg benefited Sterling Hill Mining Museum


Make text smaller Make text larger



Photos



  • Photos by John Church Rock hounds searching through the Mine Run Dump for specimens.




  • Browsing the tables at the museum garage sale.




  • The fluorescent outcropping is illuminated by UV lights.




  • Thomas Hauck, property manager of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum modeling a restored mining hat lamp. The bright acetylene flame is produced by water dripping onto carbide chips inside the body of the lamp. Hauck said the lamp was preferred by older miners as they could light dynamite fuses and their cigarettes with the open flame.



“We had 281 people for the Super Digg alone and another 200 for general admission. It was a banner day.”
— Bill Kroth, President and CEO of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum

The clinking of hammers on rocks echoed around the Sterling Hill Mining Museum pits Saturday as 281 rock hounds chipped away at the rock piles in search of fluorescent mineral specimens for their collections.

Less physically inclined collectors browsed the museum garage sale tables for specimens.

Rock hounds from as far away as Boston, Illinois and Virginia joined other collectors for the Super Digg in the open pit area of the museum property. It resembled the old penitentiary stereotype as people used sledge hammers to break big rocks into small rocks. They only difference was these rock hounds were toiling by choice not by judicial decree.

Collectors hauled buckets of specimens to the scales and paid $1.50 a pound for their prizes.

The garage sale was an opportunity for the museum to share their extra specimens with collectors and raise operating funds.

“We may have bought a collection and there was a whole bunch of what we wanted and we didn’t need the rest,” said Robert Hauck, museum staff member. “When you buy a collection from someone you don’t necessarily need it all for museum displays or for museum workshops. Some of it is extra so you sell it off.”

The museum has held the sale for the last 10 years.

Tours

Special tours of the upper property included the conveyor belt system and bins where crushed ore was stored before being hauled away by train to Pennsylvania for processing.

The newly opened Trotter Tunnel was part of the lower mine tour. After dark the fluorescent wall in the pit was illuminated by powerful UV lights.

“It is 9 p.m. and it is still going strong,” said Bill Kroth, President and CEO of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. “We lit up our outcrop of glowing minerals and people are still digging like crazy. They’ll dig until 11 p.m.”

Collectors worked under the glow of their own portable UV lamps as they made a last search of the pit area.

Kroth and museum staff members planned to be there until after midnight.

He said it makes a long day, but “it is a good feeling when the funds come in to keep us going. That is what it is all about.”


Make text smaller Make text larger

MUST READ NEWS

Image Ogdensburg to solicit bids for Heater's Pond Dam
OGDENSBURG — Mayor Steve Ciasullo reported on June 12 the public bid for Heater's Pond Dam rehabilitation is scheduled to advertise in July, awarding the construction...
Image Spend your summer with Pass it Along
— This summer, Pass It Along will be offering many different programs for teens to participate in leadership, service and...
Image Hardyston wins Academic Bowl
In what may be considered as the 32nd Annual Sussex County Middle School Academic Bowl, the two teams representing Hardyston...
Image EPA proposes constructing water supply for those affected by toxic Mansfield Trail Dump site
BY ERIKA NORTON
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new project as part of their cleanup of the Mansfield Trail Dump...

VIDEOS


Sign up to get our newsletter emailed to you every week!

  • Enter your email address in the box below.
  • Select the newsletters you would like to subscribe to.
  • Click the 'SUBSCRIBE' button.

Comments

Pool Rules



MOST COMMENTED



Click on the ad above to print your coupon!
Weather in Lafayette, NJ