Treasure hunters dig up history in Chippewa Valley

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - Antique bullets, silver coins and jewelry may be buried under our feet, and one group is out to find them.

The Three Seasons Treasure Hunters club started five years ago, but many have been finding hidden gems for decades, in their own backyards.

“I found an 1874 seated dime and it's probably about the oldest coin I’ve found at the park here,” Dan Hamilton said at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls.

“This spoon here is 1893 from the Chicago World's Fair. And I found that out in our street,” club president Kenneth Briggs of Chippewa Falls said.

“I found a dime a number of years ago worth $138,” along with 39 other silver dimes near an old movie theater, Mike Schoonover of Cornell said.

Briggs, Hamilton and Schoonover said they've been hunting for buried treasure for more than 20 years.

In 2008, Briggs said he started the metal detecting group that now has about 40 people devoted to digging for history, in hopes of finding something special.

One member had a special find earlier this month.

“We were doing a street construction dig in Stanley and he happened to come up with a class ring from one of the girls over there, that lost it I think 12 years ago, and he was able to locate her and get the ring back to her,” Briggs said.

Hunting in construction zones, public parks and private land, with permission, the group has uncovered thousands of dollars’ worth of coins and silver, but other than some common coins, they keep their finds, without selling them.

Monday, Schoonover found a silver Catholic cross necklace known as a four-way medal.

“A lot of the stuff has been under ground for 100 years. Someone may never see it, and the neat part about that is being able to pull that out of the ground and you're actually pulling out a piece of history,” Schoonover said.

“You find out where and when it came from. And you find out that they're back in the 1800s or 1700s, it's kind of awesome, wow, here in Chippewa you find this and it's made back then,” Briggs said.

“When we were kids, we were treasure hunters, and now we're old guys that are treasure hunters, so that's the whole thing too, you kind of relive your childhood too in some respects it's just a lot harder to get up and down now,” Schoonover said.

“You just never know what you're gonna dig up,” Hamilton said.

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