From left, professor Christopher Kelson, junior Mitchell Haller and Geology Department Chair Robert Badger pose with samples from one of 14 wooden crates that held a rock collection recently donated to SUNY Potsdam.
POTSDAM -- Potsdam residents Beth and Jerry Patterson recently donated a rock collection discovered in a Norwood carriage house to the SUNY Potsdam geology department.
The rocks were discovered in a pile of 14 wooden crates in the carriage house. The assorted collection of rocks and minerals was wrapped in farm journals, postcards and newspapers dating from 1904 to 1958.
The donation will significantly expand the college’s existing rock collection, according to Robert Badger, chair of the geology department.
“We didn’t expect anything like the variety we found,” said Badger. “There are very good minerals coming from nationwide. This is from someone who really knew what they were doing.”
The Patterson’s contact the department about donating the collection after it was found in the barn of Jerry Patterson’s stepmother, Laura Bishop Patterson, who passed away in 2011.
Uncertain of the identity of the original owner, the family decided to share the collection with those who will appreciate it the most.
“This is a very healthy and welcome addition,” professor Christopher Kelson said. “There are some fairly exotic species in the donated collection. I would argue some specimens are museum-quality.”
“We can’t tell if the owner had geology training or was just an avid rock hound, but the labels and the extent of the collection indicate that the owner had a passion for rocks and minerals. They collected some spectacular specimens,” Kelson said.