As interested as I am in history and historical sites, I couldn’t wait to get back to my PC to do some research on the Richland Mine and other mines in the area. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, check out my post on a recent geocache called Snoopy’s Mine Blowing Experience.
In my research on the mine, I learned that there were a number of other mines in the area, one of which suffered a similar fate to the Richland Mine, namely the Nelson Mine, which according to maps, is nearby. I also found:
The NY Times article on the disaster (be sure to click the link to see the full article) and
a transcription of an article from the Evening Herald Syracuse New York 1901-05-28.
(I’ve printed all of these to PDF in case the links should expire…)
I also found another article apparently from Trenton Evening Times, Trenton NJ 21 Dec 1895 on (I think) another mine explosion in the area. I thought this might have been the Nelson Mine, but it isn’t cited in the article, so I’m not sure. If it is the Nelson Mine, there’s an apparent date discrepancy. This article on the Nelson Mine from the Ticonderoga Sentinel New York 1902-04-03 puts the Nelson Mine disaster in 1902, after the 1901 Richland Mine disaster. Perhaps the 1895 disaster was a different mine still.
Fascinating stuff. In another post, I’ll put up some maps of the mines in the area. One of the things I noticed was that the actual location of the Richland Mine entrance doesn’t match the USGS topo maps of the area… but that’s a subject for my next post! 🙂
** Addendum – while poking around some more, I found a digitized copy of the book:
By Albert Hill Fay, United States Bureau of Mines
It lists incidents at Nelson Mine in both 1895 and 1902. Apparently that was an even more dangerous mine than most! (table on page 306)
Look forward to several more posts about this weekend’s adventure! I took the RV out for it’s maiden voyage and went down to visit Elizabeth at school this past weekend. We decided that it would be an outdoor weekend, and planned to get some biking and geocaching in. I had seen the geocache GCPBY6 Snoopy’s Mine Blowing Experience while looking through the listings for some of the caches in the area and decided I had to go see this one.
So, Elizabeth and I decided to do this one on Saturday. Boy, I’m glad we did. The geocache is just inside an abandoned mine near Dayton TN in an area that I’ve seen referred to as the Bowater Pocket Wilderness and the Laurel-Snow Pocket Wilderness. Tennessee DNR calls it the Laurel-Snow Pocket Wilderness. Locals tell me that it “used” to be called Bowater… In any case, you can find the DNR site on the place here.
What we found when we arrived was nothing short of amazing. I’ll have some other posts on the Wilderness and other geocaches here shortly. As for this one though, we had the opportunity to meet one of the locals who was busy picking up some trash. I think his name was Arthur. He told us all about the history of the area and in particular of the mine that the geocache was in. It’s called the Richland Mine and back in the early 1900s there was an explosion and collapse at the mine that trapped and killed 21 miners. He tells me that his grandfather was one of the men working in the mine, although he wasn’t one of the ones killed. Apparently, a number of the bodies of the miners were not recovered and are still entombed in the mine. Others who were recovered and some that died later of injuries sustained are apparently buried in wilderness near the mine. Arthur tells me he has looked for evidence of those graves and so far has found none.
Among other things he told us, he indicated that we should use extreme caution if we choose to venture off the marked trail, especially above the mining areas. Apparently there are a number of ventilation shafts for the old mines that open up above them, and most are not covered. It would suck to fall in one!
After chatting with Arthur for a while, we finally got to venture into the mine a short distance. Arthur had warned us about venturing too far into the mine, because there was a shaft back in there that dropped an unknown distance. That wasn’t an issue for us though (not that we would have anyway) because the mine was flooded and we couldn’t get much further than about 20ft in without getting into the water. We ended up not finding the geocache because of the water. I would have waded a bit, but I couldn’t be sure about the depth and didn’t want to do anything foolish. We got a bunch of pictures too:
[Not a valid template]