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Mining People Magazine

Day shift underground mine crew at

Thomasville Industrial Mineral Plant.

The limestone mining operation in Thomasville, Pennsylvania, has been there for 117 years;

this historic photo of the operation is from the early 20th century.

Jim Bollinger, haul truck driver, retired in May

after 42 years on the job.

Russell Weaver, a third-generation employee,

has been there since he was 18 –nearly 30


ground,” says Kessler. “Most people

don’t think about what goes into their roof

or the paint they’re putting on their walls

or the spackle coating their drywall.”

In addition to providing crushed stone

to industrial customers – which is used

in producing these things—the plant

also includes a bagging operation for

pelletized lime. It produces millions of

bags a year of the stuff that’s sold at

hardware stores for people to put on their


“If someone has a cat, they might be

putting in their litter box stone that came

from our mine. If they’re eating pork or

chicken, that animal – when it was on the

farm – might’ve been eating food with a

calcium supplement that came out of the

mine,” Kessler says. “It’s just something

to think about: how that dinner got on

your table. We don’t grow the dinner; we

just help the farmer who’s growing the


In the rural community where it’s

located, the mine has provided work for

generations; a lot employees have been

there 20 years, 30 years, even longer –

and many of them are the second or third

generation of their families to work there.

“I came by the crusher one day, and I

got drafted,” jokes Russell Weaver, who

started working there when he was 18

and has been there almost 30 years. “I

actually wanted to be in a different field –

actually never wanted anything to do with

mining – but I fell into it.”

His dad and his dad’s uncle worked there

before him, he says – “It’s been a family

thing” – and he went to work as a young

man knowing the mine would likely

continue to operate long enough for him

to retire there.

Jim Bollinger, who retired in May after 42

years on the job, arrived with a similar


“I was 24 when I started, came out of

the army, had a job or two, then I finally

settled in down here back in 1976,” he

says. “Basically, it’s been a good place

to work. People really didn’t quit back

then. They got hired on here, and they

stayed…. It’s still like that today.”

Thomasville continued