Walking the banks of the Niagara River between Lewiston, NY and Youngstown, NY is a great place to find excellent fossils. In the late 1950’s you could walk for miles and never see anyone. One of my great adventures occurred while looking for fossils along the river.
Three of us were walking along slow and watching close for fossils or anything that might be interesting. The shore was about twelve feet wide and sloped gently uphill away from the river. At the top of the gentle slope was a near vertical wall about eight feet high which remained as the river slowly eroded the ground to it’s current location. A steep hill went up from the wall for several hundred feet. The hill was covered with trees and lots of under growth. There was a sparkle in the sand ahead of us. We all bolted for it. It wasn’t the type of sparkle you would expect to see along the river. It was a large brooch of jewelry partially buried in the sand.
We found several more pieces of jewelry along the next fifty feet of shore in various sizes and colors. To our surprise all of the jewelry was in near excellent condition. Not what you would expect along the shore of the river. It was a long distance to any boat docks and it was several hundred feet uphill through dense trees and vegetation to the nearest residence. We got into the trees and brush above the shore and slowly worked our way up the hill. We found brooches, ear rings, necklaces, and rings. Each of us had our hats and pockets full. Our walk home was full of speculation as to where the jewelry originated and how it ended up along the river. Would we ever know?
It was total chaos when we arrived home and started dumping all our jewelry on the kitchen table. Mom soon came to the conclusion that all of our findings were costume jewelry and not gold, silver, diamonds, or rubies. Everybody came to see our jewelry. A few days later Mom, Aunt Ida, and the girls sorted and picked out items they would like to keep. As for us boys, we were proud of our discovery, but jewelry wasn’t really our thing. Mom determined the building nearest to where we found the jewelry was a convent. We suspected they had disposed of the jewelry over the top of the hill.
Finding all that jewelry was a true adventure. We never returned to the site…………..we didn’t need any more costume jewelry.