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2. Into the Woods

The Main loop begins at the Parking area. Follow a narrow forest path into the woods, and proceed over the footbridge. Just beyond the information board, turn left following the blue blazes to Donkey Trail, an easy 1 mi. walk.

In a few minutes, you will pass the back of two fieldstone-roasting ovens on the right.

The first mining operations began here in the mid.- 18th century in the hope of finding silver. Operations were implemented in 1751 and again in 1764. Under a succession of owners there was some construction and mining activity, culminating in 1865 with the purchase of Mine Hill by the Shepaug Spathic Iron and Steel Company. Between 1865 and 1868, the firm expanded the tunnels; built a rail to convey ore and dammed Mineral Spring Brook. The granite quarries of Mine Hill provided building material for two ore roasters, a blast furnace, a steel puddling furnace, and a rolling mill. By the late 1870's, the mine ceased to operate due to internal financial problems and increased competition from large pit furnaces newly opened in Minnesota and Pittsburgh.