These Rare Photos Show New Jersey’s Mining History Like Never Before

Earlier this week, I shared an article about Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg, New Jersey. A fan favorite, many of you wanted to know more about the state’s mining history. Here are a few interesting facts about our mining past:

Mining in New Jersey dates back to the 1600s when Dutch settlers mined copper along the Delaware River in Warren County.

Today, there are over 500 mines in New Jersey, all abandoned. While fascinating, some experts believe they pose a risk. They can be hard to find, poorly mapped, narrow, and face the potential of collapsing.

Nearly 92 percent of the state’s mines collected iron. Two of our most famous mines (Sterling Hill and Franklin) primarily collected zinc.

The New Jersey Zinc Company was once Sussex County’s largest employer.

Franklin Zinc was so valuable during WWII (it was used for brass shell casings) that the area was guarded by the U.S. military.

372 different minerals have been found in and around Franklin and Ogdensburg. Of those minerals, 19 have been found nowhere else on earth.

The biggest fluorescent rock in the world comes from Sterling Hill Mine and is on display at the American Museum of Natural History. The rock measures 19 feet by 9 feet and weighs around 22 tons.

New Jersey’s mining era peaked in the 1880s. The state’s final remaining mine (Sterling Hill) closed in 1986. The last iron mine (Mount Hope Mine) closed for good in 1977.

While facts may be fun, the photos below add to the history.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:

To learn more about our state’s mining history, I highly recommend you visit the Sterling Hill Mining Museum AND Franklin Mineral Museum. See both in a single day trip. You can mine for minerals, enjoy unique mine and replica mine tours, see unique fluorescent specimens, and more. These are two of Sussex County’s best attractions!