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Follow a loop trail through quiet woodlands then visit the site of a former lead mine used by Native Americans and, later, European settlers.
What make Tantiusques a special place?
Tantiusques (“tan-te-us-quays”) – a Nipmuc word meaning “to a black deposit between two hills” – was the center of one of New England's first mining operations.
A short loop trail leads through quiet woods; a spur trail passes through the Leadmine Wildlife Management Area and ends at the Robert Crowd Site. Visitors can view the foundations of the house and barn of the African-American and Native American man who worked at the mine in the 1850s.
The Nipmuc originally mined here for graphite to make ceremonial paints. In 1644, John Winthrop, Jr., son of the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, purchased the mine with hopes of extracting lead and iron. In the early 19th century, Captain Joseph Dixon and his son worked here before founding the J. D. Crucible Company of New Jersey, famous manufacturers of pencils.
Today, careful observers can see the mine cuts, ditches, and tailings piles made by the various mining operations. The mineshaft that tunnels into the face of the low ridge is the most recent of all the excavations, dating to 1902. Most of the mining at Tantiusques was of the open trench variety. The cut along the top of the ridge is the partially filled-in remainder of what was once a several thousand foot-long trench, 20 to 50 feet in depth and roughly 6 feet in width, which followed the vein of graphite.
1.5-mile loop trail. Moderate hiking, strenuous in places.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.