History From America's Most Famous Valleys
CAPTAIN BEARDSLEE WRITES ABOUT EAST CREEK MINE.
Enterprise and News, May 2, 1928. St. Johnsville, N.Y.
Tells of Geological Formation of East Creek Rocks and of efforts to Profitably Take Silver from Abandoned Shaft. A part of an article in "The Synchronizer."
An informative account of the geological formations and the discovery of silver in what has been known for many years as the East Creek silver mine, long since abandoned, is contained in an article appearing in a recent issue of Synchronizer, the publication of the employee of the New York Power and Light corporation. A. G. Strickland, editor of the magazine is author of the article which contains a story of Captain Guy R. Beardslee, pioneer developer of East Creek, hydroelectric power and former owner of the property on which the mine is located.
Many interesting facts are contained in the story, among them that H. M. Quackenbush, Herkimer was mechanical engineer of the company which, was formed to develop the mine.
The Synchronizer article follows:
Nearly every visitor to the Beardslee Falls station inquires as to the opening seen in the rocks across the creek and just under the switching structure accommodating the outgoing lines. He is told that it was once a silver mine, but here the story ends, as nothing further seems to be known.
A desire to know more about the history of this old mine prompted our writing Guy R. Beardslee of East Creek, who is now wintering at Miami, Florida. Mr. Beardslee was a pioneer in water development on East Creek many years ago and it was in his honor our company named the power station there. Here is Mr. Beardslee's story:
"A very interesting and well defined 'fault' was located here by geologists in the early days. The strata of slate of 'Utica shale' that forms the bed of the stream and which is generally horizontal, is gradually forced up until it becomes vertical at the edge of a well defined six inch vein of quartz and metallic ores pushed up through the earth's crust when in the molten state, by internal explosive forces and carrying the shale well up above its original position.
"On the opposite or north side of the vein the rocks are all a conglomerate mass of limestone. Flint (can't be sure what this says. ajb), etc. with the strata all twisted and distorted by volcanic action.
"In this quartz vein metallic particles can readily be seen, and no doubt caused the forming of a company or exploit the 'fault'. This mining company began operations sometime in the 1850's running a shaft back into the rocks about 75 feet. It is claimed that some silver was found, also lead, etc., but probably large quantities of iron pyrites, with its golden crystals was the impending force that lured them on. It evidently did not pay, however and was abandoned.
"Later on, probably in the early sixties another company was formed which sunk a shaft down about 50 feet just inside the opening of the old mine. Mr. Quackenbush of Herkimer, at present manufacturer of airguns, was their mechanical engineer. He installed an undershot water wheel in the narrows just above the mine to pump out the water and I remember as a boy, playing with the beautiful quartz crystals piled up along the bank of the stream. It is possible that some traces of silver and galena were found but not in paying quantities.
"However, I remember when we were busy with the preliminary work of harnessing the falls for electric purposes that Professor Harry Smythe then professor mineralogy at Hamilton College brought a number of students to East Creek and made an examination of the vein, and that he did find traces of a very rare mineral the technical name of which I think you can obtain from him. He is at present connected with Princeton University.
"Geographically the East Creek falls, with its so called silver mine is very interesting. This fault at the mine is one of several volcanic splits in the earth's crust and evidently loosened up the rocks so that the masses of water, ice and boulders brought down from the Adirondack regions could dig it out and form the falls at this point. There also exists another split about six or eight feet wide in the rear of the site of my old power house, directly at the foot of the lower falls, which I excavated and used for my trunk line leading the water down to the wheels and also as tail race for the draft tubes. Also another at the foot of the upper falls, which was used for the race of the McAllister paper mill, and finally another fault exists down the stream about half way to the big highway on the south of a small pond called 'The Little Lake.'
"This shows distinctly the upheaval of the slate with its vein of ore separating it from my limestone quarry to the west. These faults all run northeast and southwest and are all parallel of each other. There is an old publication, I think, called "The Geology of New York, which gives accurate information as to the big fault at the silver mine and can be found in any large library, especially the state library at Albany."
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