Pete's November 1996 Article.

"Robber's Loot Hidden Near Kinzua Bridge" by Pete Bennett

In a recent article I told you of my experiences playing in a Country Bands. This time I'll tell you of another one of my hobbies, metal detecting or coin shooting, as it is more commonly called today. I have found a lot of interesting items in the last twenty years, such as, coins, rings, watches and Civil War relics. Once I found a ladies wedding ring that she had lost over forty years ago and a class ring of a boy in Virginia to whom I returned the ring, after contacting his school. I also found a beautiful diamond ring with 9 stones one year while hunting at the beach When I arrived home I showed it to my wife who immediately put it on her finger. It fit perfect and she hasn't taken it off since then except, at my request to have it appraised. The appraiser said it was worth $200.00 but you know how those appraisers are, it's probably worth twice as much. I know it would be if you were buying one like it. My metal detecting partner is my brother Jim from Emporium and we sometimes travel great distances to find a good spot. The beaches are great in the spring. Also old picnic grounds, churches, schools and fair grounds.

You know, you get a lot of strange looks from people who see you digging in the ground. It's obvious they don't understand the motivation behind it. If they did they too would probably be indulging in this hobby. The excitement is in not knowing what you will find, although my White's Eagle II detector sort of takes a little of that away. It tells me, before I dig, a general idea of what I'm digging (by size or shape, nickel, dime quarter, etc.) and how deep it is (in inches.) I do not dig nails, bottle caps or junk! The detector eliminates them by using what's known as discrimination mode. This mode can be bypassed for hunting iron or tin items such as Civil War relics.

Another of my motivations has always been the possibility of finding a buried treasure. After reading articles of the hidden gold in the Dents Run area and about the treasure trove that still waits to be found down stream from where the Austin Dam broke, I really get hyped up. I recall reading an item in the Williamsport Grit a few years back that recalled another lost treasure of local significance. Although I can't quite recall the entire article, I can give you a pretty good idea of what it said. I remember the article began......

Between $40,000 and $50,000 dollars in gold coins are believed to be hidden somewhere near the Kinzua Bridge which is located three miles north of the village of Mount Jewett, McKean County, Pennsylvania.

The loot, the result of a bank robbery in Emporium, was said to be buried in glass jars beneath a large triangular rock, sometime during the summer of 1893. Over the years, thousands of people have searched for it, with little success. Want to hear more?

The original Kinzua Bridge which was engineered by Octave Chanute, spanned the gorge 300 feet below. When it was completed in 1882, the 2000 feet-long structure was believed to be the largest, longest and highest railroad bridge in the world.

During the summer of 1893, a lone bandit held up an Emporium bank and made off with the gold coins and some currency. Pursued by lawmen and volunteers, the outlaw made his way into into McKean County, where he allegedly buried the treasure. After days of wandering around the forest in torrential rains, the bandit emerged from the woods more dead than alive.

Delirious from a raging fever and advanced pneumonia, the robber babbled something about "a triangular rock within sight of the bridge." Then he would lapse back into a coma. For days, the young robber was on the brink of death, unable to be questioned. Hundreds of volunteers combed the area surrounding the bridge, looking for the loot. Flatcars loaded with workmen were brought from neighboring Larabee to help search for the stolen money. Within a week the robber died. The search for the loot was futile. IT WAS NEVER FOUND!

In 1900, a new bridge replaced the original one and in1975 the bridge and the area surrounding it was dedicated as the Kinzua Bridge State Park. There are excellent parking, camping and picnic facilities for those who wish to visit the area.

Although some coins, diamond rings and other jewelry have been found beneath the bridge by metal detecting enthusiasts, such as myself, no trace of the lost loot has ever been found. It was said that in 1893 the area around the bridge was void of trees because of the heavy logging at that time so, "with in sight of ", could be a long way. Just think, by today's standards the gold coins value could be in the millions. Today, the area around the bridge is over grown with brush and timber, so the loot is likely to remain hidden, forever unless tomorrow Jim and I......


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