A Fountain Of Silver
By: Roger Martin
Have you ever thought that there isn't anywhere left to detect? That was what I was thinking as I headed over to visit a treasure hunting friend of mine, Dave Whitman. This man has been detecting for years, and has been very helpful in putting me onto some good locations. As we sat in his living room discussing spots that we had previously searched, he mentioned a fountain located in a garden area next to a small tavern, "The Faull Inn" in Rose City, Michigan, a little town nestled in the northeastern part of the state. A few years back, Dave had found a few pieces of silver there, but had not had the time to check the whole area around the fountain. Since that time new owners had taken over, and there was no guarantee that anyone would be allowed to detect there again.
Early the next morning, I loaded up my White's Classic ID and headed off to seek permission from the owner. When I entered the tavern, identified myself, and explained what I wanted to do, the manager, a gentleman by the name of Tom, quickly gave me the go-ahead. Soon I was standing in the garden area, staring at a rather large, round concrete fountain. Although no longer flowing, it looked as if at one time it must have been a popular place for tourists to visit.
As I looked over the garden, I noticed it was surrounded by a small stone wall that was bordered by two streets, and at the northern end there were three small steps leading down into the garden. The fountain was located in the center of the garden, and a few bushes grew near a sidewalk that led up to the Tavern. Not knowing if I would find anything, I began my search as close to the fountain as my detector would allow, and was surprised to hear a smooth Beep, beep! through my headphones, on the very first sweep!
I looked at the target ID, and it was locked solidly on "penny-dime." Carefully, I cut a small plug with my knife, and as I removed it a glint of silver caught my eye. I continued my search, slowly circling the base of the fountain, and just a foot or two from my first find I got another smooth signal. This one, was a well-darkened Wheat cent, its date obscured.
These two quick finds proved that people had been using this area for quite some time. Placing the penny in my pocket, I resumed scanning along the edge of the fountain. A clad dime and a few Memorial cents turned up next, which also proved that even in recent years people had been tossing coins in the fountain.
I then began to fan out away from the base in increasing circles. Another signal buzzed, and soon another silver Roosevelt was lying in the palm of my hand. This one was dated 1946 and in AU condition. I swept my detector back over the spot and was rewarded with another silver dime. Just to be safe I scanned the target area again. To my surprise, the detector sounded off one more time, revealing a 1928 Wheat cent.
Over the next two hours I continued to find a few more older and newer pennies, along with a few clad dimes. It was a very warm day, and I was just about to take a break when a stronger signal came through and I looked down to see the ID locked on "quarter." Sure enough, up came a silver Washington quarter.
While I was taking a short break, I found myself wondering, as I always do. What kinds of activities were held here? Why did people frequent this place? Was this fountain just a place to stop and rest or, was it visited yearly by families who routinely picnicked in the surrounding garden? Such thoughts always run through my mind when I explore an area. Finally, after a cool drink of water, I went back to detecting.
I didn't have to wait long for the next good hit. From 4" down in the dark clay, I pulled out a Mercury dime dated 1944- a nice bonus, as this area didn't seem to hold a lot of pre-World War II silver. As I continued around the fountain, I would occasionally get a zinc signal in one area that extended across the lawn of the garden, and I concluded that it was the pipe that originally supplied water to the fountain. After thinking for a moment, I decided to turn the discrimination all the way up and run my searchcoil along the pipe line.
Soon I received a strong signal that registered as a half dollar or silver dollar. I was hesitant to dig, as I figured it was probably a large copper fitting or something. However, I decided to check it out. Only 2" down lay an 1890-O Morgan silver dollar! Just then my wife, Dianna, decided to stop by to see how I was doing. She had brought along a camera, so we took some on-site photos.
Over the next five hours I continued slowly working the entire garden area and uncovered over 140 coins, modern and old. Among them were another Mercury dime and silver Washington quarter, along with one more silver Roosevelt dime. Not bad for a spot that had been previously searched. This hunt really boosted my morale, just when I thought that there were no more good places to detect in my area. Here's hoping you'll soon find your own "Fountain of Silver"!