The Mineralogical Record
The Mineralogical Record - Join us on Facebook!  The Mineralogical Record - Sign up for our newsletter

Erwin C. Gilman

Erwin Clinton Gilman was born in Hinesburg, Vermont on November 20, 1894, the son of Lucy E. and George W. Gilman, a farmer. He and his wife Maria (Elizabeth) McFaden were married in 1918 and lived for a while with Maria's father in Brooklyn (1920), then moved to Philadelphia where Erwin worked as a salesman for a radio battery and tube company in 1930. That same year they purchased the Lost River Caverns in Hellertown, Pennsylvania (where a flowing underground stream passes through and disappears), and opened it as a tourist attraction. They also founded an adjacent shop that was to become Gilman's Rock and Mineral Shop. At first, they sold only a few samples of local rocks and gift items as tourist souvenirs. As time went on, however, interest grew in rockhounding, and so they added more rocks and minerals to there stock, as well as lapidary equipment, jewelry findings, tools, and eventually fine jewelry. By the 1960s he had married Naomi Peiffer, and by the 1970s his son Robert Gilman had become active in the business as well.

Today Lost River Caverns is still operated by their grandchildren, and the adjacent Gilman Museum (where Erwin and Maria's colorful mineral collection is on exhibit) can also be visited. A collection of fluorescent minerals is displayed underground as part of the tour through the cavern's five chambers, and fluorescent minerals are also for sale in the shop, now called "Gilman's at the Cave."

Maria Gilman died May 10, 1973. Erwin Gilman died March 1, 1977.

ANON (1961) Lost River Caverns. Rocks & Minerals, 36 (9-10), 472-476.
Social Security Death Index.
U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards,1942.
U.S. Federal Census, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.
To contribute more information please E-mail us at:

[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.
Number of labels found: 4 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 4

The Mineralogical Record - Erwin C. Gilman A photo of Robert Gilman and his wife from their 1974 buying trip to Europe.
The Mineralogical Record - Erwin C. Gilman 53 x 56 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Erwin C. Gilman 43 x 56 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Erwin C. Gilman Four labels,
each 32 x 71 mm
Contents copyright © 2019 The Mineralogical Record, Inc. All rights reserved.  
Graphic design of this website by Wendell E. Wilson. Website programming by