Even so, Fred Parker didn't become completely "hooked" on Maryland minerals until 1987. That happened when he and Maryland's "Mr. Garnet," John Ertman, uncovered a major pocket of gem quality grossular at Hunting Hill in Montgomery County. Twenty two years later, Fred still likes to refer to this locality as "my baby." In 2005, when The Mineralogical Record published the definitive Fred J. Parker piece, "The Minerals of Hunting Hill Quarry, Rockville, Maryland," the mineralogy of the Free State received a level of recognition not seen in decades
When addressing the Baltimore Mineral Society, Fred described history as where "the real adventures begin." He mentioned two long out of print books as especially relevant: They were Minerals of Maryland, by Ostrander and Price, published in 1940 by The Natural History Society of Maryland and Minerals of the Washington, DC Area by Lawrence R. Bernstein, published in 1980 by the Maryland Geological Survey.
To share the anecdotes that made his point would extend beyond the allocated space for this post. Just about every story deserves its own post. For example:
- The road cut near Columbia where autunite and torbernite ! covered the pegmatite.
- Rediscovering a long forgotten smoky quartz occurrence (check out our title picture) near Clarksville in excavations making way for future McMansions.
- The amazing amethysts near Laurel that the workmen threw into the pit to permanent burial.
- The man who took home a quartz boulder laden with gold from the Cabin John Bridge excavation and used it as a door stop.
- Buck Keller's major gypsum find in 2007 amidst excavations for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
- The presence of quartz crystals in soil beginning just south of Thurmont and extending almost to Harpers Ferry.
These stories are history now. But others are in the works. And there should be plenty more before too long.