Gold Mining in the 1850s Program at Reed Gold Mine April 28


Gold mining at Reed Gold Mine was in its heyday in the 1850s. This was before the California gold rush, when gold mining in North Carolina was the place to be. In 1799, young Conrad Reed discovered a 17-pound gold nugget while fishing in Little Meadow Creek, giving rise to America’s first gold rush. Historic interpreters at Reed Gold Mine, Saturday, April 28, will recall that time.

Reed will highlight the 1850s-mining era with living history demonstrations of surface and underground mining, hands-on mining activities and other demonstrations. Costumed interpreters will show cradle and log rockers, used to sort through dirt and find large nuggets on the surface. Others will show how blasting holes were drilled and gold-bearing quartz rock was removed from the mine. The California-type 10-stamp mill will show how rock was mixed with mercury to extract gold.

Visitors will also be able to pan for gold during the event, for an additional charge of $3.21 per pan for those 8 years old or older. Younger children can assist in panning for gold. Visitors also will be able to take turns on the cradle rocker.

Gold mining began in earnest after 1802 at Reed Gold Mine, after the rock Conrad Reed brought home was determined to be gold. It had served as a doorstop for years, until a jeweler’s inspection revealed that it was gold. The mine closed during the Civil War and reopened in the 1870s. The mine closed for good in 1912, and became a state historic site in 1977.

Admission for adults is $5 plus tax, and $4 plus tax for ages three to 12, ages two and younger are free. Panning will cost $3.21, tax included, for ages eight and older. Panning tickets are not sold to those younger than age eight because adult assistance would be needed.

For additional information, please call (704) 721-4653 or email Reed Gold Mine is located in southeastern Cabarrus County, 12 miles southeast of Concord, 25 east of Charlotte and 18 miles west of Albemarle.

Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The site is closed on Sunday, Monday and on major holidays. Admission is free. Reed Gold Mine is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of State Historic Sites, Office of Archives and History. 

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