Just when we think we have found all the Quartz Quarries in Chester that we read about in geology books, we stumble across another surprisingly in the Chester Blandford State Forest while off trail hiking no less. No name found for this one.
All of the quartz mined in Chester occurs in igneous formations known as hydrothermal veins. This type of vein is formed by a hot, watery solution into the surrounding rock, usually into a pre-existent crack. Hydrothermal veins often contain valuable minerals, including gold. The veins quarried for quartz in Chester, however, are pure quartz. There are several quartz quarries in Chester one off Round Hill Road, one in Chester center (Black Pool Quarry) and one on Prospect Hill (on Linda M’s property).
At least two of them, Round Hill and Prospect Hill, were mined in the latter half of the nineteenth century by James Keefe. The quartz was processed in his mill near the junction of Walker Brook and the West Branch. This mill has a bad reputation among old timers in town. It is said that a man would work six months in this mill and then drop from silicosis caused by inhaling quartz dust. The quartz was used for, among other things, glass-making and as a lining for kilns.
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