Zinc Miner Statue, Franklin, New Jersey

Michael Bachmann

In the small northern New Jersey borough of Franklin, the Zinc Miner statue depicts a man in mining clothes carrying a pick axe. The statue and plaque are dedicated to the memory of the men who worked in the Franklin mines for over two centuries. The town and surrounding areas were the epicenter of zinc ore mining for the country and was the town’s main driving force in the local economy. The statue is meant to represent the men who worked in the rough and dangerous industry and the sacrifices they made for their families and for their work.

The most interesting aspect of this monument is the lack of detail in the facial features and physical makeup of the miner’s body. I believe, after much research, that this is intentionally done so as to make the statue universally interpretable. The industry in Franklin was not dominated by any one ethnic group and in fact was comprised of waves of vastly unique heritages- Hungarian, Mexican, Spanish, Polish, and Irish. In leaving the statue’s features vague, it can appeal to a wider audience and allow the public to apply their own narrative to this memorial.


About urba0090

is an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the American Studies and History departments at Rutgers University.
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