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Mine Hill Preserve hike set

Updated 9:57 pm, Sunday, November 18, 2012
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The Roxbury Land Trust will offer a self-guided hike of its Mine Hill Preserve Nov. 24 from noon to 2 p.m.

The 360-acre nature preserve, which is enrolled on the National Register of Historic Places, is the site of a 19th century iron-making complex and nearly four miles of hiking trails that offer glimpses of Roxbury's industrial heritage.

Nine new interpretive signs installed by the Roxbury Land Trust tell the story of the rise and fall of the industrial venture.

Land trust director Bill Steers will be on hand to talk about mining in the 1800s, while land trust president Steven Schinke and other directors will pass out maps and an educational brochure about Mine Hill, weather permitting.

The self-guiding signs weave together renderings of what Mine Hill looked like during its heyday from 1865 to 1872; a step-by-step description of how the iron was mined and processed from ore to steel; a detailed explanation of how the blast furnace worked; and a diagram of the labyrinth of tunnels that lie beneath Mine Hill.

The signs also explain how granite quarries have prospered at the site for nearly two centuries and how the light gray Roxbury stone was prized for building churches, bridges and fine homes from New York City to New Britain.

In addition, the signs paint a vivid picture of Chalybes, the "boom town" at the base of Mine Hill that was once home to more than a dozen buildings, a Shepaug Valley Railroad station and hundreds of immigrant workers.

Hikers should allow at least two hours to complete the entire loop, but much shorter walks are possible to see the roasting ovens and blast furnace, tunnel openings and mine shafts.

Some trails may be closed due to recent storm damage. Sturdy shoes are recommended.

To reach the Mine Hill Preserve, follow Route 67 north from the center of Roxbury for 2.1 miles until it crosses over the Shepaug River. Turn right onto Mine Hill Road and proceed 0.3 miles up the hill to the parking lot on the right.

For more information, visit www.roxburylandtrust.org or call 860-350-4148.