From 1870 to 1876, a silversmith from Philadelphia named Harvey Philly began mining for silver at what is today’s Silver Mine Park off Route 324 in Pequea Township. Although nobody really knows how much silver he found, he spent six years creating an underground mine network. When workmen broke into the water table in 1876, the mines filled, causing Philly to abandon the project.
Flash forward to 1973, when a young Chris Haefner and some friends from Lancaster city heard about the old silver mines in Pequea, and went down to explore.
The next year, Jim Bunting and Jim “Lucky” Monoghan purchased the area and began Silver Ford Inc. – a popular campground which also hosted a series of country music concerts. The owners also hired Haefner to guide visitors around the mines. When he was not guiding, Haefner went silver hunting in the mines, which Bunting had drained. Haefner found a 50-pound rock with considerable silver in it and hundreds of smaller specimens. After the 1970’s, Haefner’s life led elsewhere until recent years when the silver mines called him back. He spotted more silver in the area near the old mines, at a location called Burnt Mills, about a mile south of the mines.
In late 2013, just above the existing silver mine, extensive tunnels have been found, long thought to be forgotten. Through this discovery, an entrance way was also detected, which runs back towards the original mine. Inside, silver-rich quartz was found, running in every direction. These tunnels appear to be very old excavations, possibly created by early native Americans that were part of that region at one time.
Haefner, a professional geologist and paleontologist, began lecturing about the mines, and three years ago self-published “The Silver! Mine!” a novel based largely on his early experiences searching for silver.
Join the Lititz Historical Foundation as they present a free lecture to the public which will feature Heafner’s amazing discoveries. He will also have on display many specimens taken from the site itself, as well as local fossils. Come hear this fascinating free story from the author himself as he presents a program entitled “The Extraordinary Pequea Silver Mines” at the Lititz Public Library on Saturday, January 18th starting at 1:30 PM in their community room. Free parking, and the library is wheelchair accessible.