Tag Archives: hunting sites

A very cool token – The mystery of the Iron Pit; revealed!

4 Jun

After work today, I stopped by the Iron Pit for a few minutes of detecting. After digging a number of pull tabs and a very unexpected 1951D wheat cent, I got a very steady foil signal with a target id of 45. I got excited for a minute thinking this may be a gold item but what I dug from the six inch hole was another Wichita transportation token.

I was happy to find the token anyway and put it in my pocket. Soon after, I turned the AT Pro off and went home. After supper, I went to take a picture of the wheat and the bus token and it was only then that I realized how cool the token really was.

I was staring right at a Wichita rail system token! Early on Wichita’s history, the city had a rail car service that took the citizenry to and fro. I had read about this service while researching various spots in the city but this is the first time I found a token from those days.

Wichita Railroad & Light Co. token

Before there were buses…

With this find, the mystery of the Iron Pit may have been solved. Since finding my honey hole last Summer, I’ve wondered why there is so much iron at the site. There are also lots of slag, coal, square nails, and rusted iron foil. I had suspected that some kind of structure may have stood at the site but it never occurred to me that one of the railways from the Wichita Railroad service may have run through the Iron Pit!

According to my research, the Wichita Street Railway Co. was formed before 1890. That year, the company adopted the name Wichita Street Railway Co. From 1900 to 1933 the company went by the name of the Wichita Railroad and Light Co. and it is from this period that my token comes from. Cool!
In 1933, the street cars were discontinued and the Wichita Transportation Co. was born and it operated until 1966.

If there was a railway running through the Iron Pit, that would explain all the metal junk there. Now I am going to work really hard at finding a Wichita Railway Co. token!

Super cool!

Thank you for looking!


More stuff from the Iron Pit

28 May

I went out hunting this morning for a couple of hours. I decided to try the honey hole with the AT Pro and the 5x8DD coil. First thing I did, was to change the name of the honey hole to The Iron Pit. Second thing I did was to lower the sensitivity on the AT Pro down to three bars. I did this to try to cope with the large amounts of iron there.

So the idea was to dig all foil and pull tab signals and any wayward high tone. After two hours, I had dug 47 signals and only two were high tones: a 1917 wheat that I got only after I had removed the rusty nail that was masking it and a bullet. The other 45 signals were all mid tones with the great majority of them being foil. I ended up with about 7 round pull tabs and a bunch of assorted metal bits. I was just commenting to another hunter, Stevouke, that I was surprised the Iron Pit still continued to yield cool stuff.

1917 Lincoln cent and two transportation tokens

After almost a year of hunting this spot, I still find stuff

I don’t know when the Wichita Transportation Corporation started in Wichita but the newspaper has an article that says that in 1929, the company carried 18,000,000 fares. That means that there ought to be millions of these tokens laying around!  The Iron Pit goes back to the late 1800’s.

Wichita Transportation Corporation token

A relic of Wichita’s past

Wichita Transportation Token

When I started riding the bus in 1980, these tokens were no longer in use.

1917 Lincoln cent obverse

They dropped this guy back in the 20’s I think

Last, I found this tag just under the ground. It is a tag for Royal Swan ribbon. This was popular in the 40’s. This particular ribbon was woven edge rayon. The term Rayon was first used in 1924 and rayon was first made in the U.S. in 1910 although it was patented in Britain in 1894.

Royal Swan ribbon tag

A product of Burlington Mills

There is a very interesting article about Burlington Mills here.

All in all I had a great time hunting the Iron Pit. I am going to wait until it rains before I hunt there again because digging there today was like digging through concrete.

Thank you for looking!

No hunting today but exciting nonetheless

3 May

Due to various reasons, I didn’t hunt at all today. It’s a rare day I don’t hunt, yet, it was an exciting day of metal detecting related stuff.

Sometime during the day, Steveouke contacted me about a story an old timer related to him during his lunch hunt. The story revolved around an old Speakeasy site to which the old timer had a direct connection.  At first both Steveouke and I had our doubts but since I was out in that general direction, I decided to go check the site out.

The place was obviously private property. There were no trespassing signs everywhere.  Once I returned to my office I did a quick look-see to learn of the ownership of the site. Once I had that figured out, I picked up the phone and called Steveouke. He said he was on it.

Turned out the story was true. The owners of the woods were aware of the history of the place and no, thank you very much, there is no earthly way we will let you hunt it. Sigh! So close and yet so denied!

So both Steveouke and I were left with visions of Barbers and Standing Liberties dancing in our heads.

Who knows though, a miracle could happen…

Another site downtown

1 May

This was a nice city park back in the day but by the time I was a senior in High School (1982), the place was a favorite with hobos and winos.  Before it was a park, in the early days of Wichita, this site may have been a city dump. I know exactly where to dig and how deep to get to trash from the turn of the century.  My brother and I explored the trash a long time and we got some pretty neat stuff from there.

These days it is a nondescript grassy area in a busy intersection in downtown Wichita. I first hunted here with my Ace 250 but I knew next to nothing about metal detecting so I went home with a pocket full of pull tabs and rusty nails. Later, I hit the site with my AT Pro. Turns out I wasn’t ready then either.

Today, I took Big Bertha with me. My V3i is custom made for a place like this. I lowered my Recovery Delay (Recovery speed) to a fast 45 to deal with all the trash and away I went. There were lots of interesting and promising signals but I only hunted for 30 minutes because I actually wanted to eat some lunch. In that time, I found two relatively recent drops and a lipstick case made of brass copper with red lipstick still in it. I’d like to think that the lipstick case dates to the 40’s or 50’s, back to the days when this was a park that people used. I wish I knew when copper lipstick cases stopped being manufactured.

various metal objects

30 minutes worth

I will return for sure.

Thanks for looking!


30 Apr

The location has seen human activity for thousands of years but only since the 1860’s did Americans of European descent began dropping coins there.  For almost 150 years, coins made of copper, silver, and gold met with the dirt and sank into the depths. Eventually, at the large lot where I was hunting at lunch, a neighborhood with hundreds of houses  was built and hundreds of children and adults carelessly lost their change for me to find many years later.

So why am I not? The area changed dramatically in the late 1970’s. Where streets once ran, now office buildings stand. Where homes stood, streets now run busy with traffic. Did the old coins get tossed around by the construction equipment and now lie beyond the reach of my V3i?

Or did the old timers with their BFO (Beat Frequency Oscillator) machines hunt the place out?

More than likely, the coins are being masked by the incredible amount of metal debris in the soil.

Whatever the reason, I only found clad today. Clad and a small piece from a vintage cap gun. The metal scrap bears the word BULLDOG. All the vintage cap guns named BULLDOG I found on the Internet were replicas of snub-nosed 38 caliber revolvers.

various coins

Where are the old coins?

Where are the silver dimes? Or the wheat cents?

Stay tuned…

Dog Poop Town Dog Tag

13 Apr

I hunted Dog Poop Town (DPT) at lunch time. In case you don’t know, DPT is an apartment complex where everyone owns a dog and no one cleans up after their dog. Today was humid and warm and the dog poo smell was strong. Poop smell notwithstanding,  DPT is a promising site where a very old neighborhood once stood.

I did  a little more research and found that in 1972, the old neighborhood was still there, albeit, in decay. By 1980, the old neighborhood was gone and DPT was new and happening. I remember my sister had an apartment nearby  in 1983 and the whole area looked really cool.

Today I found a little clad, a little trash, and a 1936 Dog Tax tag. This is only the third city dog tag I’ve ever found. The first one was a 1980 dog tag I found in Oak park and the second was the 1901 Dog Tax tag I found near the Girl Scout House in Riverside park.

various metal objects

Dog Poop Town loot

I don’t know why finding an old coin doesn’t make me think of personal history the way a relic does. Finding this 1936 dog tax tag made me think of the person who owned this dog. Obviously, he or she was a law abiding citizen who paid his dog tax for that year. Did this person follow the 1936 Olympics in Germany? Did he read about Jesse Owens embarrassing Hitler by winning a slew of gold medals? Was this person rooting for the Yankees or for the Giants in the 1936 World Series? Were they young? old? employed? Were they concerned about the large hobo camp in nearby Riverside park that formed as a result of 25% unemployment (Great Depression)? What kind of dog was it?

Wichita 1936 dog tax tag

Dog number 1743 registered that year

Thank you for looking!

Lunch hunt with the CZ-3D

10 Apr

At lunch, I went to an old school site. The school that once stood there was torn down about two or three years ago and the site is now a city park. The school opened in the very early years of the 20th century and so the potential for very old coins is there, except that the school was hunted heavily long before it was demolished and has been hunted heavily ever since. So my expectations for this hunt were to find a Jefferson nickel or two and because of the low expectations I hunted loosely without even bothering to overlap my swings. At the end of my 45 minutes I was surprised by my finds.

various metal objects

The wheels on the bus go 'round no more

I was very surprised by the toy cars. They usually sound like quarters on many detectors so why were they missed? The clad dime was another unexpected find. Four inches in the ground surely people didn’t leave it there on purpose! But the real shocker was the 1917 Lincoln cent. This baby was a little over six inches deep.  This wheat cent has the distinction of being the oldest coin I’ve dug up with the CZ-3D.

1917 Lincoln cent


Seems as if I need to grid this little site!

Thank you for looking.

What it takes

19 Mar

This weekend I was invited to hunt a very interesting site. Much human activity happened there from the late 1800’s to the 1950’s. As interesting as the site itself was the story of how our host was able to gain permission to hunt it.

He heard of this site via an old timer in his 80’s who mentioned casually that as an eight year old, he used to buy fireworks there. The old guy couldn’t remember anymore where the place was or what happened to the site nor who may own the land now. So my friend went on research mode but quickly ran into a dead end.

He continued to make inquiries around with no results until he decided to visit the local nursing home. He visited there until he found a person who not only remembered the site but knew where it was.

This was the breakthrough my friend needed! Using his research tools, he was able to find the plot and find the owner. Turns out the owner is in his 90’s, hard of hearing and cantankerous to boot. My friend was undeterred and worked hard at meeting the owner in person. After much perseverance, he managed to meet the owner one day only to be told no.

Now, you and I may have given up at this time but not my friend. He continued his quest until the owner told him that the reason he would not allow any hunting there was because the land was being leased. Aha! So on went my friend until he found the two people who shared the lease. One of them is the owner of a famous and successful chain of BBQ restaurants in Kansas. After some letter and email writing he got permission to hunt the place.

How’s that for perseverance?

The story was an invaluable lesson for me. Now I know what it takes to be a successful hunter!

Thank you for looking!

Private property disappointments

15 Feb

I say that private property is the new frontier in metal detecting since most public places have been hit pretty hard since the 1960’s. With that in mind I have been working to get permission to hunt private properties and having some success. Plus, my metal detecting friends have invited me to hunt private properties they got permission to hunt.

Of the ten or so private properties I’ve hunted since last Fall, I got exactly five silver coins and one Indian Head. Come on! And all those houses were 90+ years old!

Now, I am not counting my neighbor’s house, which was built in 1958, and yielded four silver coins -two Washington quarters and two Rosies. That’s the sort of results I expect from every private property.

But I will continue to solicit permission to hunt private properties. I have two 100+ farm houses lined up, one of which gave up a silver spoon already, plus a 90+ year old house that I will hunt with the owner, who wants to try his hand at this “sweeping” (his term) business. He will use my At Pro. Thankfully, his yard is pretty big, so we won’t be bumping elbows.

And just so you don’t think I only complain about private properties, my friend has a line on a sweet property. This is what he was told:

The owner of the property was a rich doctor who buried hundreds(!!) of jars with silver and gold coins in them in the property. According to his son, or grandson, the jars were never retrieved.

I don’t know how true any of this is. If it is true, I don’t know what arrangements, if any, have been made regarding any possible finds.

If I get to hunt this mythical farm, I hope it doesn’t turn out like the properties I’ve hunted so far.

I really need to find something cool soon!!

The old trashy park

6 Feb

I went to the old trashy park this evening. The park is not trashy on the surface. It is actually quite clean. It is below where all the metal junk is at.

Thank you for looking!