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Old Mines Tour is Three Busloads of Fun

The Monroe Historical Society's second annual tour attracted 116 people.

Cargill's Pond was used to harvest ice in Monroe during its earlier days, stones from a Webb Circle rose quartz mine are used to craft jewelry, and an unusual rock formation at Wolfe Park is believed to have served as an Indian shelter.

These sites are all right here in Monroe. The Monroe Historical Society recently held its second Old Mines Tour to show them off.

Karen Cardi, president of the Historical Society, said 116 people — some coming from as far away as Pennsyvania, Massachusetts, Long Island and Westchester County — filled three buses for the tour.

Cardi, Monroe Historian Ed Coffey and Marven Moss were among the tour guides and Park Ranger Dave Solek also spoke. Junior Historical Society members helped out by serving cookies, while wearing "somewhat colonial customes."

Cardi said the quartz mine was the most popular stop along the bus tour.

"People wanted pieces of quartz," she said. "Some people were actually gemologists. It was interesting to see people picking on sites and telling us what types of rocks were there. I think it definitely brought the commuity out to see what our town actually has to offer and the history of it all."

The following is a listing of the four stops along the tour: 

Chalk Hill Nature Trail

The trail covers one-third of a mile of walkable pathways and features a  number mine shafts (or probes) plus a wide array of examples of trees native to the Northeastern Forest, a glacial whale-shaped rock and plants like the dwarf ginseng, false Solomon’s seal, pearly everlasting and pipsissewa. The trail was developed by the Monroe Junior Women’s Club in the 1980s.

Wolfe Park Rock Overhang

Located in a remote area of the park northwest of Oak Grove, the overhang is an unusual rock formation believed to have served as an Indian shelter. The roof is up to 10 feet high and shows sear marks left by campfires.

Webb Circle Rose Quartz Mine

This open pit mine has been largely overgrown by low vegetation but samples of the quartz are strewn over the ground for the picking.

Cargill’s Pond

A shallow pond — with the ruins of a dam nearby — remains of the pond that was used to harvest ice in winter and a pool for skinny-dipping in summer. A copper-colored oil lamp was retrieved from the pond by two boys on an excursion arranged last summer by the Monroe Historical Society. Across Barn Hill Road is the ruin of Foster Cargill’s Hoopskirt Factory.

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