Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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Established June 2, 1997
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Mines of Charlestown

At the first fall meeting of the Charlestown Historical Society on Wednesday night, October 2, 1997, Irene Ewald was the guest speaker on the topic of the "Mines of Charlestown".
Those attending learned that mines have been an ongoing part of Charlestown since Charles Pickering and his friend John Tinker (mistakenly) thought they had found silver. Since that time, with peaks and valleys in the level of mining activity, Charlestown has yielded silver, lead, quartz, granite, limestone, and kaolin in a surprisingly large number of mines and quarries ranging from the north end of White Horse Road to Bacton Hill.
The largest operations were in the area between White Horse Road and Tinker Hill Road, with the Wheatley silver and lead mine extending down seven levels. Mrs. Ewald displayed a number of graphics obtained from "Highlights on the Life of Charles M. Wheatley", by F. Harold Evans, published in 1984 by The Mineralogical Society of PA. Unfortunately, these images do not reproduce effectively for viewing on a relatively small computer monitor. We have, however, isolated the Charlestown portion of one of the maps and altered it with some color to give the viewer a frame of reference.

Map of Mines of Charlestown

To get your bearings, the blue line is Pickering Creek, the left yellow line is Charlestown Road, and the right yellow line is White Horse Road. The green lines are other roads, some of which are not in use today. The red squares are mines. Mrs. Ewald also displayed a very large map of the entire Township with markers for all known mines in the area.
The mines with several levels of tunnels are the most interesting, but for the most part they have either been filled in by man (i.e. concrete in the tunnels under Charlestown Hunt) or by nature (water following Hurricane Agnes in most of the other tunnel mines). We learned that many of the mines were ultimately closed not because they were no longer productive, but because the process of pumping water from the mines to keep them usable caused the wells of many mine neighbors to dry up.
(If you haven't checked it out yet, see In the Beginning... in our "Early Days" section for a brief history of the formation of our Township.)

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