Every once in a while, long buried pieces of Carthage’s history quite literally come to the surface.
On May 19, a Carthage City Council member is sponsoring a day that could bring even more of Carthage’s history to light.
Council Member Ed Hardesty, owner of Hardesty Enterprises, is planning a metal detector’s day in Carthage’s parks, in conjunction with National Metal Detector’s Day, an industry sponsored day for metal detector hobbyists.
Hardesty said he’s inviting homeowners to give their register if they would like someone to bring a detector to their property, especially if that property lies on the possible routes taken by Civil War soldiers who tore through town on July 5, 1861.
That was the day when approximately 1,100 Union and 6,000 Missouri State Guard soldiers battled through Carthage in what some historians say was the first real battle of the Civil War.
Hardesty told the Carthage City Council he decided to plan the event after what he called was some miscommunication last year when a metal detector hobbyist found artifacts that could date back to the 1860s in Carter Park.
After the find became public in a Springfield newspaper, professional archeologists protested and the Carthage City Council considered an ordinance severely regulating metal detecting in city parks, but they backed away from the limitations when more facts after talking to the person who made the find and finding out more about what happened.
Hardesty, who abstained from the March 27 vote approving the event, said he hopes to attract metal detector hobbyists from across the area to Carthage for a day of exploring and searching for Carthage’s history.
He said the city will set rules and monitor and try to document what the metal detector owners find and where they find it.
“Anything that’s found of historical value will be given to the city,” Hardesty said. “Anything they find that is not of historical value they’re allowed to keep. They have a list of rules to follow that is very comprehensive about respecting property and fixing what they dig if they dig and there is a hold harmless agreement they have to sign.”
Hardesty said he’s working with Wendi Douglas, with the Carthage Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, to get registration forms for hobbyists and for people who want to have a detectorist come to their property.