Celebration of 23 Pound Gold Nugget Discovery in 1896 at Reed Gold Mine April 9

Shinn nugget displayed after discovery

The 1890s saw new owners of Reed Gold Mine and the discovery of one of the largest gold nuggets in North Carolina history. Celebrating this 23 pound discovery, known as the Shinn Nugget, Reed Gold Mine will host a day of re-enactments and tours April 9 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the find.

In 1896, three local gentlemen - Jacob Shinn, A.M. Cox and Dr. J.R. Jerome, along with their workers - started digging along the old road bed leading from the creek to the top of Middle Hill. Much of the area had been dug several times over, but the road itself was untouched.

They discovered a rather large rock April 9, about 3 ½ feet below the surface. Since it did not appear to contain gold it was moved aside. Eventually, Jacob Shinn took the rock to the creek, washed it and immediately yelled to his companions, "Boys I've got it!"

Shinn borrowed a wagon to take the rock back to his store in Georgeville. So jubilant were the prospectors as they passed Georgeville Academy that principal William Brooks observed, "Either all are drunk or found a nugget."

The nugget was displayed at the Widenhouse and Shinn store before being taken to the Charlotte Assay Office to be melted down. It was later valued at $4,800. Research later verified the date and weight of the nugget.

Special events for the anniversary will include tours near the old road where the nugget was found, a highlight of improvements to the mine from 1899 to 1912, and a re-enactment of the discovery of the Shinn Nugget at the exact spot where it was found. Tours begin at the visitor center and will be offered at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Admission is $2.14, tax included, for ages eight and older; ages seven and younger are free. Panning will be available and costs $3.21, tax included, for ages eight an older. Tickets are not sold to those younger than age eight because they would need adult assistance to pan.

Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The site is closed Sunday, Monday and on major holidays. Reed is located 12 miles southeast of Concord, 25 miles east of Charlotte, and 18 miles west of Albemarle. 

Regular admission is free. Panning costs $3.21 and is done April through October. Reed Gold Mine is part of the Division of State Historic Sites, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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