Tour the site of America’s First Gold Rush
When a 17-pound rock of gold was found on John Reed’s farm in 1799, the first documented gold find in the United States, it was used as a doorstop for three years before its identity was realized. The gold discovery in Cabarrus County forever changed the state and John Reed’s farm became Reed Gold Mine. America’s first gold rush followed and North Carolina became the home to a Federal and a private mint while leading the nation in gold production until 1848. Today, visitors can enjoy guided tours of the site as part of a trip through North Carolina’s piedmont. Reed Gold Mine includes a visitor center with exhibits on gold and historical mining equipment as well as trails that cross mining areas. Visitors can even try their hand at gold panning, which is offered April through October for a small fee. Guided tours take visitors into the tunnels dug by the miners as they followed gold-bearing quartz veins deep underground. During the summer months, it’s one of the coolest places in the state.