BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — The Museum of the Berkeley Springs recently received a specially crafted display surface that mimics an authentic mining cart for its prized 800-pound silica quartz crystal.
Rick Kidwell, protoype designer for Gat Creek, created the mining cart. When told the Museum needed a display table for the crystal, Kidwell went to see for himself.
“The rock deserved more than just a table,” Kidwell reported back to Gat Creek owner, Gat Caperton. “My father retired from U.S. Silica and I remembered the mining train car they had sitting there. That’s what inspired me.”
Caperton gave Kidwell the go ahead and he spent about eight hours fabricating the cart from pieces of West Virginia hickory. The wood was left over from a desk Gat Creek made for the new Dean of Agriculture at West Virginia University. Kidwell had Hank DeLosi, another Gat Creek employee, fabricate and weld wheels onto the cart. The entire cart sits on metal rails and wood rail ties.
Kidwell has worked first for Tom Seely, then Gat Creek for 32 years. “This factory wouldn’t be here without him,” commented Caperton.
Museum staff were impressed when Gat Creek employees delivered the cart then proceeded to hoist the rock from the table to its new display. “We have really strong guys in our warehouse,” commented Caperton.
“The original table was cracked beyond repair so I asked Gat if we could have one of their round tables for the crystal,” said museum president Jeanne Mozier. “I never imagined what they would do.” She was profuse in expressing thanks to Caperton for the remarkable display piece.
“We are always proud to help capture and display our local history,” said Caperton. “And we were especially pleased to make this strong connection with U.S. Silica.” The crystal was presented to the Museum by U.S. Silica in May 2012 and immediately became the centerpiece of their collection.
The Museum of the Berkeley Springs is located on the second floor of the Historic Roman Bath House in Berkeley Springs State Park. The museum is open daily through the end of August from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.