Wheatley Mine, Phoenixville, PA
|Wheatley Mine (Pickering Valley Golf Course)
Saturday, April 15, 2017, 9am - 1pm
There has been considerable interest in this trip; so far 16 DMS have indicated they would attend (as of 2-25-2017). This in now an ‘official’ DMS Field Trip. I will proceed with making final arrangements.
If you are interested in attending, please contact Tom Pankratz by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will reply with a confirmation. If you do not get the reply email, please contact him again. Those of you who have already contacted him and have received confirmation need not contact him again.
This trip is open to all DMS members, as well as members of invited ‘sister’ mineral clubs. There is no age restriction. Tom Pankratz will send final details, directions and where to park, site map, etc. the week before the trip.
There are 3 old lead mines on the property of the Pickering Valley Golf Course. The golf course allows collecting at these sites. You have to walk across the golf course to get to the sites, but the sites themselves are in woods and overgrown for the most part. It’s best to collect before leaf-out and mosquito-out.
While moving about and collecting we must not distract golfers. Try to stay ‘out of sight’ as much as possible.
Collecting at these sites is difficult. They have been well picked over for 50 or more years and you’ve got to dig deep to find specimens. And there’s absolutely no guarantee the site you pick to dig will have any collectable minerals. I dug 2 pretty big holes last Nov. and got 1 thumb-nail specimen. No doubt about it, this is probably the toughest site we’ll ever go to. But it is an old classic site and if enough of us go, somebody will hit it rich and hopefully share.
Of course, there are lots of rocks scattered about so one can look around with relatively little energy.
The 3 mines are Wheatley, Chester County and Brookdale. The general area is referred to as Pheonixville. There is a lot of information on the ‘web’, particularly on MinDat.
The Wheatley Mine (from MinDat edited slightly):
37 species and varietals listed
This workings represent the consolidation of several earlier workings on the same deposit (Wheatley lode). It was a lead-silver mine. The mine was started in 1851 and closed in the 1860's. It was reopened in 1917 and closed in 1920. The larger enterprise was owned by Mr. Charles Moore Wheatley. Subsequently, when reopened, it was owned by Eastern Mining & Milling Co. The mine consisted of 5 levels with 2,108 meters of horizontal workings, 6 shafts (main engine shaft = 91 meters deep). Rock is adamellite, a granitic intrusive rock of Precambrian age (Mineralization, Triassic period or earlier). Mines include the Wheatley, Brookdale and Phoenix mines.
The Chester County Mine
8 species and varietals listed
Second largest mining operation within the Phoenixville mining district (Wheatley Mine was the largest). Located on the John Chrisman farm, adjacent, just to the west, of the Wheatley Mine property. A lead-copper mine believed started by welsh miners about 1847, although production prior to 1850 consisted of a little over 20 tons of lead ore, plus some copper ore. Development in this period consisted of six shafts and 479 meters of workings.
In 1850, the Chester County Mining Company was incorporated. Operations began in June and with Dendy Sharwood as mine operator, the mine produced 380 tons of ore in it's first year. A smelter with a capacity of 30 tons of ore per week began operating in june of 1851. In 1852 453 tons of the mines ore, and an additional 212 tons of ore from the Wheatley Mine and Montgomery Mine collectively were smelt at this facility. With workings at 18 and 37 meter levels, the attempt to reach the 91 meter level (where Lead and Copper levels were projected to meet), were hampered by the hardness of the rock and in June of 1853, the pumps were turned off and the mine was left to fill. Operation of the mine by the Chester County Mining Company ceased in 1854, It featured 1,675 meters of workings on 3 levels, 12 shafts and 7 winzes, with a total production to date of 1243 tons.
In 1918, The Eastern Mining and Milling Company reopened several operations in the Phoenixvile district, including a mine on the Chester County vein. Known as the South West Chester County Mine, two shafts were connected at levels 43 and 61 meters with aproximately 274 meters of drifts. In 1919 about 500 tons of ore was mined, however these workings closed by June of 1920 and marked the last mining activity in the district.
The Brookdale Mine
22 mineral species listed
A lead mine and one of the "Wheatley mines." located near Charlestown, which, in turn, is located near Phoenixville. The workings are on the Wheatley lode and consist of 3 shafts, 839 meters of workings on 3 levels and an engine shaft 59 meters deep. Started Oct, 1852 and ceased operations about 1865. Mine was owned by Charles Wheatley, then the New York & Boston Silver-Lead Co. According to Gordon, the Brookdale Mine was about 1/2 mile southwest of the Wheatley Mine.
Minerals found at the 3 sites include:
Pyromorphite and Cerussite, Wheatley Mine, Phoenixville, PA