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Location DB > United States > New York > Star Lake > Benson Mines
Benson Mines
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 Database Info
created by Samurai on 1/6/2004 3:15 AM
last modified by Emperor Wang on 5/8/2024 3:52 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
This, at one time, was the largest open pit magnetite mine in the world. The lake now on the property was once an open pit mine almost two miles long, a third of a mile across and some 1500 feet deep. The mine was under the ownership of Jones & Laughlin Steel until 1967 when Ling-Temco-Vought bought everything, accelerated mining and closed the facility in 1977. Now it is like every other mine left in the Adirondacks, a monster in a sea of green.
 Basic Information
Type: Building
Status: Abandoned
Accessibility: Moderate
Recommendation: worth the trip
 Physical Information
NY-3 at St. Lawrence 60
Star Lake, New York
United States
Owner: U.S. Government
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • asbestos
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  •  Interesting Features
    No fewer than 3 separate complexes, and 24 buildings. There is the cluster of ugly blue buildings right along route 3, a few large buildings farther back along the shore of the former strip mine, and also a row of abandoned houses out route 60 toward Newton Falls.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  • locked gates
  • boat inspection on or near property
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1885
    Closed: 1977
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • gloves
  • long pants / sleeves
  • boots
  •  Recommended Equipment

    From Adirondack Life, October 1999
    Article: "The Hole Story"

    "At Benson Mines, between Cranberry Lake and Star Lake in the northwestern Adirondacks, the outline of the story repeats: the discovery of iron in the early 1800's (this time by surveyors laying out the Old Albany Road), the creation of a flull-bl;own mine in the 1880's, the takeover prior to 1918 by an aggressive local firm, then lease by a huge corporation on the eve of World War II. In 1941, the Pittsburgh-based Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, then the country's fourth largest steel producer leased Benson Mines. The next year, the Defense Plant Corporation, a federal agency, built state-of-the-art facilities to pricess the magnetite. The ore body was mammoth, more extensive than intially thought, and miners homes and parts of the plant were moved to dig a hole that was for the time, the largest open pit mine in the world: two and a half miles long and a third of a mile deep.

    "Benson Mines changed its operations in the 1950's when martite, a nonmagnetic iron was found. Within two years, production doubled, although processing martite with an iron content of twenty-three percent meant that three tons of crude ore yielded one ton of concentrate. Piles of waste rock accumulated. But no one seemed to mind, particularly. They were living in the safe settlement blessed by a generous, paternalistic company that rewarded its workers, sponsored sports teams and built a hospital.

    "In 1967, Ling-Temco-Vought, the Texas conglomerate that owned Branniff Airlines and National Rent-A-Car, bought out Jones & Laughlin. Mining was accelerated; Senior staff first questioned the change, then feared for their jobs. In 1977, the mine was closed, and the community that some had described as Camelot was just a memory."

    From a St. Lawrence County (NY) webpage:

    "With the military tank armor requirement for this high-grade ore, the mine was put into full swing in 1941. At the height of production Benson Mines was the largest open-pit magnetite iron ore mine in the world. The mines closed in 1978."
     Media Coverage
    There really isn't much dealing with this particular mine.
     Future Plans
    Due to its remote location, Benson Mines will probably continue to deteriorate indefinitely. New fences have been put up with fresh 'U.S. Government Property' signs signaling a cleanup and environmental remediation of the property. Who knows if it'll happen.

    Add your own story
     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    April 10, 2004
    Sun, May 9th, 2004
    posted by Bizzybear
    11 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Bldgs. 1-10 (the blue things)
    Sun, Oct 11th, 2009
    posted by bfinan0
    25 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Boat house
    Mon, Dec 5th, 2011
    posted by ~Anubis~
    23 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Darn Boat Inspection
    Tue, Jul 28th, 2015
    posted by puddlejumper12
    5 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen
     Web Links


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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    Category Rating
    Photography 9 / 10
    Coolness 9 / 10
    Content Quality 8 / 10
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Emperor Wang on 5/8/2024 3:54 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on May 8 24 at 15:54, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on May 8 24 at 15:52, Emperor Wang changed the following: History
  • on May 8 24 at 15:50, Emperor Wang changed the following: History, Security Measures
  • on May 8 24 at 15:48, Emperor Wang changed the following: Notes for Mods, History, Interesting Features, Security Measures, Media Coverage, Future Plans
  • on May 8 24 at 14:50, Samurai made this location public
  • on Aug 6 15 at 16:45, Mike Dijital validated this location
  • on Aug 6 15 at 2:07, puddlejumper12 changed the following: Owner, Accessibility, Security Measures, Future Plans
  • on Aug 6 15 at 1:58, puddlejumper12 added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Aug 6 15 at 1:51, Mike Dijital validated this location
  • on Aug 6 15 at 1:51, puddlejumper12 updated gallery Darn Boat Inspection
  •  Forum Threads about this Location
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     SubjectStarted ByRepliesViewsLast Post
    You must log in for this feature to work.Outstanding!Samurai38551/25/2004 7:12 PM by 'Dukes
    You must log in for this feature to work.Any rail spurs to the location?'Dukes38741/11/2004 2:43 AM by 'Dukes
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