Jelle Zelinga de Boer, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, emeritus, was cited in April 3 edition of The Hartford Courant. In an article titled ” Remnants Of Old Mine In Middletown Date to Revolutionary Times,” de Boer explains why an abandoned silver mine in Middletown, Conn. played a supporting role in the history of the country’s industrial past.
According to de Boer, the Middletown mine was originally opened to mine lead and was one of only two sites in New England that produced the metal for the Continental Army during the early stages of the Revolutionary War. The operation began in earnest in 1775 when smelting works were built along the river to provide lead for ammunition, including cannonballs. According to the article, records show that the mine produced 15,563 pounds of lead and even helped defeat British Gen. John Burgoyne and 6,000 British troops during the Saratoga Campaign in 1777. The mine was opened periodically over the years after the Revolution, including a stint as a silver mine in the mid-1800s when huge stampers crushed tons of rock laden with silver.
De Boer has a upcoming book titled Stories in Stone: How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture.