Travel Into The Past With A Visit To The Remains Of This Abandoned Connecticut Mining Town
There are quite a few abandoned places and ruins in the Nutmeg State. But many of them are not safe or even legal to explore. But there is one abandoned mining town tucked away in the western part of Connecticut that actually encourages visitors. Lets take a look at the former small town of Chalybes on Mine Hill.
Now owned by the Roxbury Land Trust, Mine Hill Preserve was once home to a thriving mining town in the late 1860s.
The site became a National Historic Landmark in 1979, one year after it was acquired by the Roxbury Land Trust. On the stunning 360 acre preserve, you can still visit the remnants of the mines and furnaces that were once so important to this town.
The town of Chalybes has a short history. It survived for just under a decade. This artist's rendition shows what the town looked like based on old photos and remains of the town.
In 1865, workers constructed a maze of iron mines, a pair of roasting ovens, a blast furnace, a steel puddling furnace, and a rolling mill. With the industry picking up pace, the town expanded. More buildings were constructed including a grist mill, creamery, lumber yard, general store, hotel, boarding houses, and a tavern. The hurricane of 1938 wiped out the remaining wooden structures that were left from they town's short heydays.
The two large roasting ovens of this abandoned mining town still remain.
When the siderite was mined from the hill, it was roasted in one of the two ovens. This process helped to eliminate some of the carbon and sulfur that could cause problems in the furnace.
The impressive blast furnace is also still standing at this historic site.
The furnace and roasting ovens were restored in the early 1980s. The furnace never functioned to its full potential and even failed in 1867 at its first firing.
Interpretive signs at the site show diagrams and sketches of how the residents of Chalybes turned ore into steel.
At its peak, the mines, ovens and furnace produced ten tons of pig iron per day. But competing with the large amount of iron ore that was opening up in the west proved to be too much and the mining town stopped making steel in 1868.
You can still see the raised stone Donkey trail that was once used to haul materials away from the mine.
Take the spectacular blue loop trail which winds through the woods, climbs up this historic path, and leads you past the actual mine itself.
Three mining tunnels still exist on Mine Hill. They are closed off to the public, but you will see grates over some of the remaining air shafts.
Today, these tunnels are one of the state's most important sites for hibernating bats during the winter months. The colonies of bats love the underground tunnels.
You can no longer hear the tools of the miners clanking against the rocks nor the blasts coming from the mines. But history still lingers at the awe-inspiring Mine Hill Preserve.
The remains of this abandoned mining town are preserved here in this beautiful setting for all to enjoy. Take a walk through history, you won't regret it.
The Mine Hill Preserve is located in the town of Roxbury, off of Mine Hill Road on the right side 0.3 miles after the turn off of Route 67.
Are you ready to take a walk through this abandoned mining town? You can obtain a trail map by visiting the
Roxbury Land Trust Website.
There are a few other abandoned places in Connecticut that you might want to check out like
this castle or this train tunnel.
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