Uncharted Lancaster: Lime Kiln Adventure
Distance: .6 miles round trip to the treasure. Less than 100-yards to the Lime Kiln.
What to bring: Appropriate (water-resistant) footwear, a flashlight for exploring an abandoned mine tunnel, and an internet-connected device with GPS.
If you want to learn more about Lancaster County lime kilns before starting this adventure, click here.
Planning Your Visit
From the parking lot, it’s a short 100-yard walk to the lime kiln. This is a great lime kiln to explore. For starters, it’s open to the public. Also, you can examine the furnace from both the top and bottom.
This is a two-kiln structure typical of those that dotted the region in the 1800s and early 1900s. The collapse of the north kiln allows inspection of the inner crucible-like shape. In operation, the furnace was filled with alternating layers of wood and limestone or dolomite. Once light, it was allowed to burn freely for a brief period before being covered at the top by dirt and ash. The flow of air was restricted by the dirt piled around the bottom inlet.
For about a week, this burn was watched to allow just enough gas from the limestone to escape while the intense heat was maintained inside the kiln.
After about a week, once all the wood was burned and the carbon dioxide driven out of the limestone, all that remained was quicklime—a white powdery form of calcium oxide.
This was dug out the opening at the bottom to be mixed with water, sand, and rock to
produce mortar and cement for walls. It also could be made into whitewash paint for barns and houses or used as a powder to disinfect the ubiquitous privies of that time. Most of the dolomite for the kiln probably came from the extensive quarries visible through the trees just across Silver Mine Run to the east.
Finding the Treasure Cache Hard
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like directions, here’s the GPS location of the treasure. When you get there, look under the bridge. Good luck!
Finding the Treasure Cache Easier
From the parking lot, take the orange trail north. After a brief walk, you will see the double lime kiln on your left.
Continue north on the gravel path past the old silver mine entrance. The nuts that hold the steel plate over the opening have been welded on. It makes me wonder who they are keeping out or what they are keeping in.
At the pond, go left and then right on the orange pond trail.
Continue along the pond trail until you come to a bridge. This is where you will wish you had worn those water-resistant boots.
Look beneath the bridge to claim your prize. What’s inside the briefcase? There’s only one way to find out!
Be sure to return the case where you found it for future adventurers to discover.
Before heading home, be sure to discover more of the park. There’s so much more to see. I would highly recommend exploring the yellow geology trail. There’s an abandoned mine tunnel to crawl through. You can learn more about the 300-year-old Pequea Silver Mines here.
Click here for a map of the trails at Silver Mine Park as well as download a PDF of the Geology and Self Guided Tour PDF.
Thanks for playing!
Keep the Adventure Going
If you enjoy Uncharted Lancaster, you may want to consider sponsoring an upcoming adventure or help support the cost of a current one. Here’s a list of frequently used items for most adventures:
- Can of Spray Paint. $4.99
- 1 kg Spool of 3D Printer filament: $19.99
- Water-resistant plastic carrying case: $29.99
- The full cost of creating a new adventure: $49.99
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