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Volume 2, pages 99-100, 1917
A MINERALOGICAL PILGRIMAGE THRU CONNECTICUT
CHARLES W. HOADLEY
Englewood, N. J.
It has been suggested to me by one of my friends, a member of the New York Mineralogical Club, to give a brief account of a recent trip thru Connecticut. Leaving Englewood by motor, my companion and I crossed the Hudson River on the historic ferry boat "Rockland" at Nyack, N. Y., and jogged slowly thru Westchester County on back roads, passing Bedford and Mount Kisco, to Ridgefield, Conn., at which charming spot we had lunch. After the inner-man was duly resuscitated, the Branchville locality, about four miles from Ridgefield, was visited.
I would hardly advise the collector to spend much time in the Branchville quarry. In an old edition of Dana the following rare minerals are mentioned as having been found there: native bismuth, eucryptite, fairfieldite, dickinsonite, reddingite, etc. Many of these minerals are more or less vague, and would naturally have to be determined by analysis; I question very much whether any of them are to be found at the present time. The usual minerals which are found in the typical spar quarries of New England were present: muscovite, biotite, quartz, albite; but neither tourmaline nor beryl could be found. It appears to be an extinct locality as far as interesting minerals are concerned.
After a night spent at Danbury, the following day was given up entirely to a thoro appreciation of the wonderful New England countryside south of Litchfield, which was our next stopping place. In the afternoon we traversed more beautiful country, with exquisite examples of colonial architecture at short intervals. Six o'clock in the afternoon brought us to the historic Bristol locality, near Farmington, Conn. At Bristol we succeeded in collecting good specimens of chalcopyrite, malachite and chalcocite. The mine, as it should technically be called, has not been worked for a number of years, but the material in the dumps is now being made use of for road-metal.
Farmington, Conn., is famous for its remarkable colonial houses. Its main street, running north and south for a distance of over a mile, is bordered on either side with houses, most of which have been built for over 100 years. It would be difficult to give any accurate impression of this lovely place; in a great many ways it is unique. It is a town which is worth visiting to the architect perhaps more than to the mineralogist.
Running north and south parallel to the main street of the town is a ridge of trap rock which follows the Connecticut River from Plainville, extending for a distance of 25 miles or so. This is, no doubt, a continuation of the trap rock outcrop which occurs further south, near New Haven, forming East and West rock. The usual zeolites are found in Farmington, but not in any great quantity.
Our next stopping place was on the other side of the Connecticut River near Middletown, three miles or so east of Portland. This is a spar quarry, where we acquired with little difficulty good specimens of albite in large crystals somewhat similar to the Amelia Court House material, quartz coated with byssolite, tourmaline, beryl, and large plates of biotite. For lunch we traveled across the river to Middletown, where we feasted on fresh shad caught that morning from the river, in one of the most delightful of inns.
The afternoon was spent to a great extent in traveling up and down hills, wasting gasoline, in the attempt to find the famous Gillette quarry, said to be located directly on the river near Rock Landing, Haddam Neck. Be sure to note the "Neck". As far as I know there are half a dozen different Haddams: Little Haddam, East Haddam, Middle Haddam, and so on. The collector who is in search of tourmalines from Haddam Neck should be sure to inquire particularly for the Gillette quarry, south of Rock Landing, on the east bank of the Connecticut River. At Haddam Neck the quarry is not being worked, nevertheless I succeeded in getting good specimens of tourmaline, distorted quartz crystals and apatite.
As we were working our way south, with Saybrook as our destination. (the roads on the east side of the river below Haddam being very bad) we decided to cross the river again to the west bank at Godspeed and Modus, arriving at Saybrook in time for a very much appreciated dinner. The following day, passing through New Haven, we visited the tungsten mine in the Township of Trumbull, near the Long Hill Railroad Station, 15 miles north of Bridgeport. In the course of an hour's time good specimens of scheelite, bornite, fibrous amphibole, topaz, siderite and chalcopyrite were procured from a very tough schist rock. The mill was recently destroyed by fire. The locality is accessible from Bridgeport by trolley, which runs to within half a mile of the mine. There is a good deal of material to be acquired from the dumps, much of it fresh and of considerable interest.
From Bridgeport we returned to Englewood direct, without further incident.