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Grafton’s Ruggles Mine changes hands

  • Joseph Su and his daughter Anwen, of Nashua, N.H., look around Ruggles Mine in Grafton, N.H., on June 15, 2016. They had come to the mine not knowing it was closed. A real estate agent overseeing the mine property was there when they arrived so they were able to see the site. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/27/2019 12:25:51 PM
Modified: 9/27/2019 10:04:52 PM

GRAFTON — Ruggles Mine, a onetime mineral mine and former tourist attraction off Route 4 in Grafton, has been sold, said Beth Decato, an agent with Keller Williams Realty, who confirmed the sale on Friday.

The Searles family, who bought the mine more than a half century ago, sold it this week to Exciglow LLC, which Decato described as being “affiliated with a production company.” The 235-acre property sold for an estimated $500,000, based on the property transfer tax attached to the deed.

Christopher DiPetta is listed as the manager of New York-based Exciglow, according to the mortgage deed. Attempts to reach DiPetta were unsuccessful. 

Decato said the buyer has “big plans” for the property. Although she believes Exciglow hasn’t “exactly pinpointed” what it aims to do at the site, reopening it to the public is in the cards, Decato said.

“The intention is to reopen it and to allow the community and visitors to the state to be able to visit the caves and Ruggles Mine as it was when (the Searles family) owned it,” she said. “I think that it is really exciting for the community and for people in New Hampshire and the people that visit for tourism.”

Asked about a timeline, Decato said the mine could be open to the public next year.

Another agent with Keller Williams Realty, Doug Martin, told New Hampshire Public Radio that the new owners plan a “major upgrade” before it reopens, and that they have been talking to local and regional colleges about getting them involved for geology studies. 

The mine closed in 2016; Geraldine Searles, now 94, put it up for sale. The asking price started at $2 million but had fallen to $900,000 by October 2018.

Geraldine Searles is happy about the sale and hopes the new owners keep the tradition alive, said Searles’ guardian, Priscilla Gosselin. Gosselin deferred further comments to Dan Connolly, a New London-based attorney. Connolly declined to comment on Friday.

The Ruggles Mine has been a staple in the town of Grafton for decades. Sam Ruggles discovered the mine in 1803, and it was mined for minerals such as mica and feldspar for 160 years. In the 1960s, it was turned into a tourist attraction.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance last year listed the mine on its 2018 “Seven to Save” list, which highlights endangered historic landscapes and important buildings across the state.

State officials last year also explored the possibility of purchasing the property for use as a state park.

Grafton Selectboard member Steve Darrow welcomed news that the mine might reopen. However, he said, the town hasn’t yet heard from the new owner.

“To me, that’s good news that somebody’s bought it and plans to make good use of it,” Darrow said Friday.

Staff Writer Tim Camerato contributed to this report.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reach ed at or 603-727-3248.

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