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Ruggles Mine, Grafton

#509 of 716 in Things to do in New Hampshire
Mine · Tourist Spot
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Ruggles Mine is an open-pit mine that is no longer in operation and had been turned into a tourist attraction. It is now closed and for sale. The mine is located northwest of Concord, New Hampshire, in the town of Grafton, a short distance from Route 4 at the village green. The spacious pit includes tunnels and underground chambers, some of which are filled with water, for exploring. Visitors are allowed to keep any of the various minerals that are to be found on the mine floor or that can be hammered loose from the walls of the pit.GeologyThe mineral deposits found in New Hampshire, known as the Littleton Formation, date from the Devonian period and have been estimated by geologists to be roughly 350 million to 400 million years old. Over 150 minerals have been discovered at the mine, mica being the most prevalent, but also including feldspar, beryl, amethyst, rose/smoky quartz, and garnet. Specimens of the rare uranium minerals, such as uranophane, torbernite, and autunite, have been found.HistorySam Ruggles started the first commercial mica mine in the United States at the site that bears his name. Mica at the time was used to make, among other things, lamp chimneys and stove windows. Ruggles began as a grocer and was merchant of West India goods in Boston, Massachusetts. He was never a resident of New Hampshire, and hired local workers in Grafton to operate the mine. Local lore states that the mine was started in 1803, but there is no documented evidence that supports the claim. Ruggles' first purchase of property on Isinglass Hill in Grafton was on 5 July 1805. He made subsequent purchases of adjoining properties in 1806 and 1810. His first advertisement for mica appeared in the Boston Semi-Weekly Advertiser on 9 November 1825. By 1831 his occupation was listed in the Boston Directory as a merchant of sheet isinglass. He had a storefront and warehouse in Boston where he sold mica.
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Ruggles Mine reviews

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  • We were staying at a campsite not too far away and knew we had to stop by Ruggles Mine for a one of a kind adventure! This place was great! I couldn't believe how tiny we felt once we entered. Truly.....  more
    We were staying at a campsite not too far away and knew we had to stop by Ruggles Mine for a one of a kind adventure! This place was great! I couldn't believe how tiny we felt once we entered. Truly.....  more »
  • This place is very good for a day outing Kids will love the long tunnel to the mine and the interesting tour about the mica mine. Getting there is quite an adventure too because the mine is way way up on a hill and the dirt road is nice and bumpy when you reach the mine there‚Äôs the gift shop but if you would like colorful orange rocks that are nice there are plenty of them along side the road near the mine. The mine is no longer a working mine the mica was used in the doors for decor for old cast iron wood burning stoves and served a purpose of viewing into the stove it also reflected nice colors with the hot fire in the stove it was also very heat resistant this was one purpose of the mica. I would say this after you see this unique place once would be enough.
  • I'm sorry it is closed as a mining attraction. I'm in total favor of it being a State Park. I really hope the museum is preserved as part of it. It is small but memorable. Every time I use Bon Ami for cleaning I think of Ruggles because the mine has feldspar, which is the rock used in Bon Ami. I chose this place for one of my 'tens digit' birthdays, it was beautiful in autumn. Or as my spouse puts it, "You made me do back-breaking prisoner labor in an open pit mine. Then you made me carry buckets of rocks through wet rocky sludge down a mountain." The views are great and the mined tunnels are interesting. I found citrine. The staff gave my husband some "hot" radioactive rocks. Unfortunately he brought them home. And lost them in my rock garden. Thanks for the gift that keeps on giving! It is too bad I can't make my husband break rocks in the hot sun again. Nobody but us wore goggles. We'll always remember a mother saying to her son, "Have your sister break the rocks. We can't have you losing an eye. You have a soccer game tomorrow!"

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