Friday, March 4, 2011

Rolling Stones Visit Shakespeare

 by Lee Stockman,  Club VP

Grant County and the Silver City area is the most mineralized part of New Mexico but that does not keep the Rolling Stones from occasionally slipping across the county line on one of our monthly field trips.  In February, Trip Leader, Ansel Walters set up a visit to the old Silver mining town of Shakespeare, down in Hidalgo County.  One might argue that this trip was in keeping with the Grant County part of the Rolling Stones name, since, at the time that Shakespeare was a boom town it was still in Grant County.

Rolling Stones make a mad dash for the Murphy Saloon as soon as it opens
Manny Hough, Shakespeare proprietor,  lead the 35 of so who participated in the field trip through the remains of the town and shared many interesting insights and tales.   Standing beneath the nooses in the handing room, we learned about Russian Bill who died from a “throat problem”.

The tour began with a visit to the one remaining saloon and continued into the hotel, livery stable, assay office and concluded with a visit to the museum. To learn more about the town of Shakespeare visit the February issue of the Desert Exposure at:

Manganese dendrites
Following the tour the field trip participants went on south of the old ghost town and visited several hills pockmarked with diggin’s for fluorite and other prospective minerals.  In these hills, dotted with creosote brush and cacti, many a hard working miner had followed his eye and dug where an outcropping of mineral showed promise.  Chrysocholla and other green stains told of copper minerals.  Black manganese stain led miners to dig for ore, exposing some beautiful dendrites.

Fluorescing calcite
Fluorite appears to have been the one possible commercially viable mineral dug from these hills.    In some of the holes were calcite veins interspersed with the fluorite and some of the calcite fluoresces.

 Despite a brisk wind, which occasionally made the Rolling Stones  appreciate the rocks that  had accumulated  in their pockets,  the temperatures were moderate and it was an enjoyable outing.  Thanks to Trip Leader Ansel and his crew for a  good time that was had by all.

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