Where Zinc Mining Began

Franklin's World-Renowned Zinc Mines (2021)

Franklin, N.J., is the location of one of the world’s most significant zinc ore deposits. The mines here also produced hundreds of mineral species, including more than 100 minerals that fluoresce under ultraviolet light. The water-filled pit across the street is what remains of the Buckwheat Mine, which had been started in 1866 in a farm field of buckwheat. Later operations known as the Taylor Mine greatly expanded this open pit mine, utilizing an aerial tramway to extract the ore. This operation ceased around 1912, but mining continued underground through various shafts about a half mile north of this site until 1954, when the zinc ore was depleted. Waste rock from the Buckwheat open pit was deposited in the nearby Buckwheat Dump, which has long been a favorite site for mineral collectors. In 1964 the Franklin Kiwanis Club founded the Franklin Mineral Museum to preserve the area’s great mineral and mining heritage. The original brick engine house of the Taylor Mine now contains museum exhibits and a mine replica once used for safety training.