ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Dahlonega, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites in Dahlonega, Georgia
|Dahlonega Gold Museum
History is written in gold in the North Georgia city of
Dahlonega. It was home to America's first great gold
rush and gold still comes out of its hills.
Georgia Gold in Dahlonega
The tower of Price Memorial
Building at North Georgia
College & State University in
Dahlonega shines with gold.
The historic city of Dahlonega
is noted for its unique charm
and is popular with visitors to
the North Georgia mountains.
Dahlonega, Georgia - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
The Gold City of North Georgia
|Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Golden Past & Future
The Consolidated Stamp Mill
is one of the many gold
related sites in Dahlonega.
Mining continues there today.
These beautiful waterfalls are
just 18 miles north of town in
the North Georgia mountains.
The nation's first significant gold rush took
place at Dahlonega in the North Georgia hills
in 1829. And gold is still being mined there
A charming city with a rich history, much of it
tied to gold mining, Dahlonega is a gateway
to the mountain country of North Georgia. It is
also believed to be the place that gave birth
to the famous exclamation, "Thar's gold in
them thar hills!"
The name Dahlonega originates from the
Cherokee word "talonega" (also spelled
"dalonige"), which means "yellow" or
"golden." It is a reference, of course, to the
yellow metal found in the area. The name
was first applied to the community in 1833,
five years after the discovery of gold there
ignited the young nation's first major gold
The prosperity that gold brought to the city is
clearly visible in the form of the old Lumpkin
County Courthouse, which stands on the
square in Dahlonega and is now home to the
Dahlonega Gold Museum. Built in 1836, the
courthouse is one of the oldest standing in
U.S. Vice President and Southern rights
proponent John C. Calhoun was among
those operating gold mines in Dahlonega.
His Calhoun mine was worked in part by
slaves, although most gold mining in the
region was done by free whites and blacks.
A free black miner named James "Free Jim"
Bosclair was so successful at pulling gold
from the ground at his "Free Jim" Mine, in
fact, that he became one of the city's leading
merchants. Not only did he run a mine and
large general store, he also owned an ice
house and saloon.
The amount of gold coming out of the North
Georgia mountains had reached such a
volume by 1837 that congress chartered the
U.S. Branch Mint at Dahlonega. Located at
what is now North Georgia College & State
University, the Dahlonega branch mint turned
out an estimated $6,000,000 in gold coins in
less than three decades.
The mint operated until 1861 when it was
closed by the Confederate government. It did
not reopen after the Civil War.
The easiest to find gold was beginning to
play out by 1849, when the discovery of gold
at Sutter's Mill sparked the California Gold
Rush. So many miners left Georgia for
California that the assayer for the branch
mint, Dr. Matthew Stephenson, took to the
steps of the courthouse (now the Gold
Museum) in an effort to persuade them to
"Why go to California?" he asked. "In that
ridge lies more gold than man ever dreamt
of. There's millions in it." The speech gave
rise to the popular phrase, "There's gold in
them there hills!"
Stephenson was right. There was millions of
dollars of gold still in the ridges around
Dahlonega. There was a resurgence of
mining in Georgia during the 1850s when
miners returning from California brought
back new techniques and put them to use
extracting ore from the hills.
Gold mining has always been an up or down
proposition in the Dahlonega area, but the
recent surge in gold prices has sparked new
dreams of striking it rich in the Georgia
The Chattahoochee-Oconnee National
Forest allows recreational gold panning in
many area streams and creeks and many
visitors to the region are taking advantage of
the chance. The rules are that panning can
only be done in approved areas and nothing
can be done that damages the environment.
Please click here to learn more.
If you want a little more guidance in how to
look for gold, there are businesses in the
area that specialize in helping visitors look
for gold. One of these, the Consolidated Gold
Mines, offers tours 200 feet down into a
century old gold mine, followed by a chance
to pan for a little of your own.
The Dahlonega Gold Museum is a great
place to begin your journey to the North
Georgia gold country. Located at 1 Public
Square, it is open 9-5 (Monday through
Saturday) and 10-5 (Sundays). Admission is
$3 to $5 per person.
The campus of North Georgia College &
State University also is a great place to
explore local gold history. The Price Memorial
Building stands on the ruins of the U.S.
Branch Mint and is topped by a spire leafed
in pure Georgia gold.
Dahlonega also offers a variety of other
historic sites, unique shopping opportunities,
access to beautiful mountain country as and
unique places to stay and eat. If you love
waterfalls, be sure to check out DeSoto Falls.
They are located on U.S. 19 eighteen miles
north of town in the national forest.
Please click here to learn more about things
to do and see in Dahlonega.
|Photos by Savannah Brininstool