Iron Miners - Documenting the Historic Mines of America

Introduction to Iron Mining

As early as 1685, ironworks were erected at Tinton Falls in New Jersey. In 1713, the Dickerson Mine was purchased as a mining tract by a surveyor named John Reading. Forges and furnaces were built across the Highlands. The forests were cleared and burned to provide charcoal necessary for the furnaces. The iron ore from mines such as the Hibernia Mine and Mount Hope Mine was used to produce shot and ordnance for the Revolutionary War.

Mining was a way of life for people who lived in the Highlands. Not only did the mining industry fuel the economy but it was responsible for shaping the towns. The Morris Canal as well a number of railroads were established to support the transportation of the iron ore to furnaces. In 1879, there were reportedly 16 blast furnaces in operation in New Jersey that depended upon the state's iron ore.

The iron mines were worked on and off through economic prosperity and depression. The chief mineral mined was magnetite. However, some mines yielded workable quantities of hematite and limonite. Iron mining spanned from the early 1700's up until 1978 when the last mine, the Mount Hope Mine ceased operations. Over 450 iron mines operated in New York and New Jersey during this time. brings together the collective study, research and appreciation of iron mining in the Highlands presenting a glimpse into the history of an industry largely hidden beneath sight.

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