I was born in New York City to immigrant parents from Spain and Cuba. My grandfather was not a miner but a tunnel driller in the late 30′s in Spain. During that time, compressed air was used however no water was utilized to minimize the dust. As a consequence he died shortly thereafter of miners lung.
I grew up in suburban Fairview, a town consisting of 80%
cemetery and 20% residential acreage. As a toddler, my favorite movies were Indiana Jones, Stand By Me and Reno Williams. Adventure and exploration was embedded in my blood.
I came upon my first underground experience almost by
accident as a 12 year old boy tracing the remains of the rail road industry that cut right through the town. To my amazement, the rails headed towards a local cemetery where the portal of a dark an ominous tunnel awaited. My strong instinct was to go into it, and the fear and concerns which would surface into my mind aggravated me. My friends, 10 and 8 year old neighbors and I planned to explore the entire tunnel one day, without even telling our parents. The day
came, and with a tiny Rayovac flashlight which extinguished a quarter of the way in, we made it through the tunnel, and to our amazement, emerged at the Hudson river, black faced with dust. We walked all the way home through the towns,
arriving late at night.
Later into my adulthood, when visiting the Sterling Hill Mine Museum and hearing one of the tour guides point his finger into the woods and say “At one time NJ had over 400 active underground mines” that was all it
took to relight the miners candle deep within my soul.
I then formed
A website dedicated to cataloging and documenting the abandoned mines of the USA using historical research, geologic and topographic analysis, and a sixth sense for locating the old mine entrances.
To this day I am not sure what draws me to abandoned mines. They are not the same as entering a cave, or a sewer which are popular spelunking activities, but I am not a spelunker, I am utterly infatuated with only the underground interiors of mines. The darkness reminds me of tragedy and sorrow, the cleavaged walls remind me of intense labor, the fallen rocks remind me of the danger, and the silence reminds me of those who may still remain entombed.
Another fascination is the the geologic erosion of these industries which once fueled the expansion and wealth of the entire nation. Mountains which once looked deforested are now a thriving ecology. The earth slowly reclaims and heals its wounds as the mines fill up with dirt and water, and the once loud blasting and hammering of the miners drill gives way to unsurpassed darkness and silence.. That is until we enter into the mine, and illuminate it like it never has been before. My goal and the goal of this group is to capture and document every abandoned mine which still remains on this planet, and to revive the voices of those who toiled and died beneath our feet long ago.