ExploreSouthernHistory.com - U.S. Branch Mint at Dahlonega, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - U.S. Branch Mint at Dahlonega, Georgia
Site of the U.S. Branch Mint at Dahlonega
The Price Memorial Building on the campus of North
Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega
stands on the ruins of the U.S. Branch Mint.
U.S. Branch Mint Ruins
A display a Price Memorial
Building shows the ruins of
the U.S. Branch Mint at
History of Gold in Georgia
The U.S. Branch Mint at
Dahlonega turned out over
$6,000,000 in gold coins in
just twenty-five years.
Site of the U.S. Branch Mint - Dahlonega, Georgia
Historic Price Memorial Building
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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Golden Steeple
The steeple of the Price
Memorial Building is covered
with North Georgia gold.
U.S. Branch Mint
The building stood until 1878
when it was destroyed by fire.
The Price Memorial Building
was completed the next year.
Between 1838 and 1861, the U.S. Branch
Mint at Dahlonega turned out more than
$6,000,000 in gold coins. A landmark of
America's first real gold rush, its ruins can be
found today beneath the Price Memorial
Building on the campus of North Georgia
College & State University.

The discovery of gold in the North Georgia
mountains during the winter of 1828-1829
sparked a gold rush unlike anything ever
before seen in the United States. By the
summer of 1829, eyewitnesses reported, as
many as 3,000 miners were already digging
and panning for gold.

Many of them were successful and hundreds
of thousands of dollars in gold was quickly
discovered. This prompted a boom in the
region, with thousands of people settling in
the gold towns of Dahlonega and Auraria.

Much of the mining activity focused on the
mountain streams and rivers around the
boom towns. By 1832 so many people were
living and working in the region that the state
created a new county, Lumpkin County, in the
edge of the mountains.

The U.S. Congress also took note of the big
strike and in 1831 a select committee was
appointed to investigate the possibility of
opening a new U.S. Branch Mint in Georgia.
The results of the committee's work proved

By 1831, for example. Georgia led the nation
in gold production. Within just 3 years of the
first strike in the mountains, the state had
turned out $212,000 in pure gold. Since gold
during the years of the Georgia strike was
worth $19.39 an ounce, it can be estimated
that the state produced 10,933 ounces (683
pounds) in just three years.

In modern terms, that much gold would be
worth somewhere around $18,586,900 (at
$1,700 an ounce). And all indications were
that production was only going to increase in
coming years.

Congress approved the construction of a
U.S. Branch Mint at Dahlonega, with furnaces
and machinery for making gold coins.

Work on the complex was well advanced by
1837. According to a government report, the
machinery was delivered to Savannah in May
and despite difficulties in transporting it so
far into the interior, it was finally put in place
by November.

That same report indicated on January 13,
1838, that the mint was nearly finished,
"except as to the enclosure and

One of the most remarkable structures of its
kind in Georgia at the time, the main mint
was a large two-story structure set on a
foundation of solid stone.

For a better idea of its appearance, please
see the artist's conception of the building on
the left side of this page.

The U.S. Branch Mint was completed in 1838
and began operating that same year. Over
the next 23 years, it would manufacture over
$6,000,000 in gold coins.
Photos by Savannah Brininstool
The production of the branch mint took a
serious hit in 1849 when news reached the
Georgia mountains that gold had been found
in California. Many of the men working the
mines there set out on the great gold rush of

In an effort to convince many potential 49ers
to stay in Georgia, Dr. Matthew Stephenson,
the assayer for the branch men, spoke to a
crowd of miners at the Lumpkin County
Courthouse (now the Dahlonega Gold
Museum). Point at nearby ridges, he told his
listeners that a million in gold remained
there, waiting to be found.

Legend holds that, pointing at one nearby
ridge, Stephenson proclaimed, "There's gold
in them there hills!"  The phrase became an
important part of American culture and history.

The U.S. Branch Mint at Dahlonega operated
until Georgia seceded from the Union in
1861. The new Confederate government shut
it down and the U.S. government did not
return it to operation after the Civil War. Gold
from the area was shipped to other mints.

The main mint building was destroyed by fire
in 1878, but Price Memorial Building of what
is now North Georgia College & State
University was built atop the ruins. The
historic building now features a glass
viewing panel through which visitors can see
the ruins of the old the mint.

The steeple atop the building is leafed in
pure Georgia gold. Gleaming in the sun, it is
a perfect reminder of the rich history of gold
prospecting and mining in Dahlonega.

A historical marker on the grounds outlines
the site's history. More can be learned at the
Dahlonega Gold Museum on the city square.

The Price Memorial Building is located on
College Circle just off West Main Street in
Dahlonega, Georgia.