Franklin’s many ‘strange and exotic’ minerals commemorated in new history markers

Franklin. Sussex County Historian Bill Truran talked about the importance of the county’s three new markers at their August presentation.

| 19 Sep 2021 | 11:41

Three new historical markers went up in Sussex County this summer.

“The committee reviewed all the applications that were submitted for the county historical markers,” said Cynthia Rock of Hardyston. “Only three applications are accepted each year, and this year, two of our three historical markers were awarded to Franklin Borough.”

The first historical marker, Byram Lost Hamlet, was submitted by Xavier Gonzales. The second marker, Franklin Mineral Museum, was submitted by Judy Williams. The final marker, The Parker Mine, was submitted by Ralph Bonard and is now installed at the Franklin Fire Department.

The Sussex County Historical Society presented the markers at the county fairgrounds on Aug. 7. Rock said the presentation was hosted by Sussex County Historian Bill Truran and attended by a small crowd of people. The award committee members attending included Wayne McCabe, Ron Dupont, and Mario Poggi.

The Sussex County marker program began in 2000, with markers relating the history of Newton placed in the Newton Green. The Newton Historic Presentation Commission and the Sussex County Board of Commissioners were part of a project whose goal was to restore Newton Park on the Green.

Truran spoke at the presentation about the importance of the history of each of the markers. Mark Boyer, president of the Franklin Mineral Museum, talked about the history of the museum and the Parker Shaft, otherwise known as the Parker Mine.

“We are honored to receive the historical plaque which talks about the Franklin mines,” Boyer said.

Rock said the former engine house that serviced the mining operations right across the street at the buckwheat cut is part of the Franklin Mineral Museum.

“The Parker Mine is located at 137 Buckwheat Road, where the Franklin Borough Fire Department is located,” Boyer explained. “The concrete cap located on the property is the shaft opening to the former parker mine.”

He said the Parker Mine is significant because of the mineral wealth that came out of there.

“Many strange and exotic mineral species were found in the parker mine,” Boyer said. “Because of these rare and exotic minerals, the Parker Mine is probably one of the most minicological mines on earth.”