Where in the Hudson Valley Contest: Mine Hole Connected to Underground Railroad and Fool’s Gold
Passage to the past: do you know where in the Hudson Valley this is located?
Photograph by Kelly Marsh
While humming lyrics such as “Over the river and through the woods,” some holiday travelers might expect to spy a storybook entrance such as this one, which is carved into a hillside in the southwestern part of the Valley. Swirling theories abound regarding the origin of this diminutive doorway. Some think it was the entrance to a freshwater spring. A 1910 postcard of the entryway seems to support this explanation. The photo includes the following poem, which was written in stone and placed above the passageway: ’O Traveller Stay thy Weary feet/Drink of This fountain cool and sweet/It Flows for man and beast the same/Then go thy way remembering Still/The well beneath the hill. Others believe the opening led to a mine hole where millstones were found — and “fool’s gold” could be sought. (Hint: Local residents refer to the site as the Mine Hole.)
There are, however, two things about the site that we know for sure: During the 18th century, it was owned by one John Moore, an enterprising free black man whose property also included a sawmill, a gristmill, and a woolen carding mill. It is perhaps not all that surprising, then, that the doorway is located in an area that subsequently became a station stop on the Underground Railroad.
Do you think you know in which Valley town this petite portal can be found? If you do, send us your answer as a comment in the space below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck.