The Sutherland Garden
The Lawrence A. Sutherland Family Garden is located in the courtyard directly in front of the museum. It was dedicated in October of 1998 by Lawrence and Ruby Sutherland for their love of gardens and in honor of their children and grandchildren. Visitors are sure to enjoy the diverse plantings of trees, shrubs and perennials, as well as rocks and mineral specimens, mining artifacts and mill stones. Plant material includes such ‘living fossils' as Equisetum, which is more commonly known as horse tails or scouring rush. This tall slender plant has a long and ancient history, with fossilized specimens known from the Carboniferous Period (over 300 million years ago)!
A replica head frame dominates the north end of the garden, and is built from 8 inch timbers held together with iron plates. The head frame illustrates how ore would have been removed from an underground mine through a vertical shaft using a bucket and pulley system. The ore-filled bucket would then have been hoisted by a winch, and then dumped into a railway car at the base of the structure. Basically it works on the same principle as water wells; however the material being hoisted is rock, rather than water.
Across the path from the headframe is a large round rock with a circular trough and a beam in the center. This item, an arrastra, was found in the Blacksburg quarry near Gaffney, SC by Bob Campbell's staff. Gold-bearing rock would have been loaded into the trough, and then a horse or mule was hitched to the wooden beam and made to walk around the arrastra. As the animal walked, heavy stones attached to the beam were dragged around the bowl to crush the ore into smaller sizes. The use of this simple machine has been traced back as far as the 1600s.
Just outside the brick wall on the north end of the garden at the base of a hedge of tea olives is a large boulder of rose quartz from South Dakota. This unique variety of the common mineral quartz is pink in color due to trace amounts of manganese or titanium. The large instrument at the end of the hedge is often thought to be some sort of machine gun; however it is actually a pneumatic drill. This ‘Widowmaker' drill was used to make small, deep holes in large rocks for sticks of dynamite. The drill was air-driven and had no lubricant, so the operator breathed in much of the silica dust created by drilling, eventually leading to the operator's early demise. The large boulder in front of the drill is an example of Winnsboro Blue Granite, South Carolina's state rock.
Three millstones have recently been incorporated into the garden. They all consist of large round gniess or limestone wheels with grooves carved on the top surface and a hole in the middle. Millstones were used primarily in the processing of grain.
The courtyard inside the brick wall is currently in a state of quarantine due to the presence of the highly invasive plant cogongrass. At this time no additional planting may take place until the quarantine is lifted, and no material may be removed from the soil. Once it is determined that the cogongrass is no longer present the quarantine will be lifted, and regular activity may resume.