Remembering Old Haunts…

Now that I live in Texas and not able to get out detecting that much I find myself thinking about all the old haunts of years ago, most of them now extinct. I’ve probably mentioned them here before but since I’ve been labeled over the hill I’m allowed to be amnesic….

When I started detecting…

…in the early 70’s, I was a novice coin collector living in New Jersey and got involved in the metal detecting pastime because I wanted to find old coins, not buy them. It was a smart move, albeit one that added a few unplanned twists and turns to my life.  All of that aside I did find coins – a boatload of them!  Now, 50 years later I’m living in Texas, a.k.a. tornado alley, pissing and moaning, wishing I could find just a FEW old coins. What an about face!

I was fortunate and very lucky in that the first place I took that big box Coinmaster was a large park area that had been in use since the early 1900’s. Over the years it was used for  carnivals, community celebrations, as well as high school baseball and football. My first beep, my first coin was a silver quarter and while I didn’t know it at the time the park became my “honey hole” and the subject of my first magazine article for Western & Eastern Treasures.

As a high school student I had attended football games at this site and knew exactly where the bleachers, parking lots, concession stands and entrance gates used to be.  I remembered sitting atop the bleachers throwing coins down to friends so that they could get a hot dog or soda for me. The most productive site however was the entrance area where bottlecaps and trash were less prevalent.

This site is still around though I haven’t been back there in over 33 years

Over the ensuing months and years I continued to detect the park and continued finding coins – lots of coins. It was my “go to” and if I didn’t come home with at least a half dozen pieces of silver it was a bad day.

Another favorite haunt?  The Flemington Fairgrounds, though it was an extremely difficult place to detect. I dealt with wall to wall trash and a LOT of digging but the return on my time was well worth it. It also led to my love affair with the smaller “sniper” coils.

The Fairgrounds, along with the Flemington Speedway, was in use from 1856 until it moved in 2001. The site is now (unfortunately) home to Walmart, Lowes and PetSmart. Given the age of the site and the number of people who visited over the years digging a coin was always exciting. Dating ranged from the early 1800’s through the 1980’s.

Old photo Flemington Fair…

Flemington Fairgrounds Marker

Third and finally is an old picnic grove located near my old home in Kingwood, New Jersey.  I discovered it only because I had joined the local historical society. At a meeting the mention of the “old picnic grove road” came up and after a few follow-up questions I, and my detecting buddy Dan Hamilton, discovered a small overgrown and camouflaged lane that was once called Picnic Grove Road.

We wandered into the woods, found what we thought was the area, and after a check of the tax records the owner was contacted, permission was given and we were in old coin heaven. Best part, hardly any trash!

This very recent Google image now shows Picnic Grove Road with a paved culvert and a manicured grassy entrance…

Over the years there were a lot of other very productive sites but these three were close, accommodating and very rewarding.


The notorious Willy Sutton, who stole an estimated 2 million dollars over 40 years was once asked why he robbed banks and he replied “cause that’s where the money is”. Well if you are a coin hunter it’s pretty much the same thing. You need to spend your time at sites that necessitated the use and exchange of money and you better do it quickly – they are disappearing at an alarming rate.


If you’re a vidiot and watch “The Worst of Oak Island” you’re gonna love “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch”.  Different story, same BS…


Was going through boxes in storage and found the booklet from the 1988 Lost Treasure Classic. The follow is the list of events. Lots of fun and great memories!


“There are two reasons why we don’t trust people. First – we don’t know them. Second – we know them.” – Source unknown



Filed under Metal Detecting

7 responses to “Remembering Old Haunts…

  1. Joe

    Talk about timing…was checking my morning messages (yes, I’m a late riser), and your email came through about the newest blog post!

    Mark my words, the only form of hunting left 20 years from now will be the beach. Ordinances and places being depleted due to the influx to the hobby will kill the turf game almost completely. Glad I got my taste when I did.

    P.S. – Always remember, Dick…wine improves with age, but YOU improve with wine.

    • “Mark my words, the only form of hunting left 20 years from now will be the beach….” Ah but we’ll still have “The Curse of Oak Island” to watch.

      And yes I do improve with wine. Absolutely!!

  2. Brian Obitz

    The old town field that you detected back in the day has seen a lot of dirt pushed around,soccer field ,new housing next door, etc.I can remember the 20ft high piles of dirt pushed from fairgrounds sitting there as free topsoil.I didn’t detect then but had some of it trucked to my place when bldg, fast forward 8 years trying out my new ace350, silver nickel and wheat pennies in my yard most likely from that dirt.Picnic grounds are in walkin distance from my house a lot of colonial coins down low by creek and 1930’s swimming hole,more houses now though.Was Sal desapio the historian then for Kingwood twsp?

    • Brian don’t see “new housing” in the Google image but you’re there so I will take your word for it. Can’t remember who all was in the historical society….it was 35 years ago or more. Miss the area a lot.

  3. I’ve found a few good spots investigating where the old groves were, unfortunately these places are fewer and far between now. Makes finding one all that much better though. Great read.

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