Produced by Heritage Productions
The Discovery | The Documentary
The Discovery

In August, 1996, Dr. Ephraim K. Smith, a Professor of History at California State University, Fresno, was photographing old barns in Clinton County, Michigan. On a back road east of St. Johns, he noticed a solitary brick chimney standing in an overgrown meadow. Upon closer investigation, he discovered that the chimney stack was connected to a large boiler set in a brick arch. Within fifteen feet of this massive boiler were two large cylindrical tubs, their heavy covers, and a rectangular tank. Scattered around the site were pieces of lumber, sheet metal panels and rusty piping.

Dr. Smith inquired of a nearby resident what it was he had been frantically photographing in the fading light. It was, he was informed, an old mint still! Although curious about these unusual ruins, Dr. Smith was unable to conduct any further investigation at that time; within two days, he was back in California.

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