Don't be surprised if you spot the glitter of a bit of gold in our North Carolina streams. After all, the first gold discovery in the United States occurred in North Carolina in 1799 at the now famous Reed Gold Mine. Local records indicate the first discovery belongs to a 12-year-old boy named Conrad Reed, son of a Carolina farmer named John Reed. The young boy went fishing one day along Little Meadow Creek, located on their family farm in Cabarrus County. While fishing along the creek, the youngster spotted an unusual yellow colored rock shining in the water. He waded into the creeks and brought the “rock” home to his father.
John Reed had no knowledge of gold, and had no idea that his son had just discovered a huge gold nugget, the first ever discovered in the U.S. Although intrigued by the interesting find, it remained unidentified and little attention was given to it. The interesting “rock” was used as a doorstop for the next three years. It weighed approximately seventeen pounds, and was said to be shaped like a flatiron.
The nearly seventeen pound nugget was later sold for $3.50 because the farmer still did not know what had been found. In later years, the same farm and creek bed became the Reed Gold Mine and started the first Gold Rush in America.
In North Carolina, recreational gold panning at gold mines is a popular hobby. Visitors at a gold mine like Gold City get free admission or pay an admission fee and may keep what they find. Visitors to state parks and recreation areas are not allowed to carry off rocks or minerals, but visitors to a national forest can engage in gold panning if they only remove small quantities for personal, noncommercial purposes.
In addition to finding gold, many of our local prospectors prefer to concentrate on gemstones and rare minerals.
If your mine would like to be included in our Mines Nearby List, reach out and let us know!
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