Thank you to our host Dan Zieba of the Northern Berkshire Mineral Club orthern Berkshire Mineral Club for having a dig event at the oldest mine in the country, Old Mine in Chester.

The first emery discovered in America was found at the Chester mines. The presence of iron ore deposits at Chester was known as early as 1835-1841. Mining of the magnetite was started in 1856 (1200 tons) but it was not until 1863 that a blast furnace was erected and extensive mining begun. The dulling of drills led to a study by Charles T. Jackson (Emerson 1898). The presence of margarite (a calcium brittle mica) was the key to his discovery of emery at Chester in 1864. However, the miners were reportedly calling it emery before Jackson’s discovery.

This discovery came at an opportune time for the grinding and polishing of armaments for the Civil War, especially at the nearby Springfield Armory. The British and French had a monopoly on the mining of emery in Turkey and Greece, the major source of the ore. Emerson (1898) quoted an English statesman as saying “A good mine of emery is worth more to a manufacturing nation than many gold mines.” Mining continued at Chester until after World War II with the Hampton Emery Company and the Chester Emery Company the principal operators, as described by Emerson (1898, 1917). The ownership of the main vein changed hands and at one time was involved in a law suit. The Mineralogical Record, July-August, 1978.
Please note this place is dangerous with multiple cave ins over many years, the ground is unstable, do not attempt to go here without a guide, the club had a permit for us to be here. All the shafts are gated and a protected bat area. Inner mine photos courtesy of a great website! Old Old mine photos by Chester Folks. Sarah Foley Photography photo credit.

#chesterma #hikethehilltownhistory
hikethehilltowns with the #westernmasshilltownhikers #discoverthehilltowns #visitthehills #hilltownhistory #flashhike #intheberkshires #nature #adventure #history #hiking #outdooradventures

Visit our blog for all of our adventures! We are on Instagram TikTok Pinterest Twitter YouTube Meetup @hilltownhikers
A 501c3 Massachusetts Non-Profit Or