Friday, March 15, 2013

The First Georgia Gold Rush!

So, where was the first gold rush in the United States? California, you say?


Would you believe, West Georgia?

History has the first gold being discovered in Dahlonega, if you live, in or near Dahlonega. If, however, you live in, or near Villa Rica, then it started there!

I choose to believe, along with most of my fellow Villa Ricians, that gold was first discovered in 1825 near Hixtown, the name of the settlement until it was changed (fortunately) to Villa Rica, Spanish for City of Gold.

Due to a law giving all mining rights to the state, those sly Hixtown miners kept their gold a secret until the law was overturned in 1829. Meanwhile, Dahlonega laid their, "We found gold first" claim.

I'm not one to argue who was first. Let historians figure that out. Meanwhile, here are some fun facts from the Villa Rica, Pine Mountain Gold Museum Website:
  • Land Lot 206, known as Pine Mountain, was drawn by Robert Fleming of Jefferson County as part of the Second Georgia Land Lottery in 1826.
  • The first mining town to spring up in the area was known as Hixtown. It was located about one mile northeast of the present downtown area. It was changed to Villa Rica (Spanish for City of Gold) in 1832.
  • Between 1830 and 1840 about 20,000 pennyweights of gold were produced in the area.
  • Most of the gold found here was in the form of gold dust, rather than flakes or nuggets, making it harder to find.
  • Villa Rica gold is among the purest in the world at 98% pure from the ground.
    Most geologists agree that less than 20% of the gold in the area was mined. However, the cost of mining the gold exceeds its value at today's price per ounce.
  • The Pine Mountain site was commercially mined off and on for over 100 years, making it one of the longest running mining operations in the state of Georgia.
My dog, Lucy, and me exploring the old mill on Pine Mountain
So, why all this promotion for the Pine Mountain Gold Museum?
Glad you asked!
Cynthia's Attic Series has reached its conclusion with the 5th book (sniff), but I've moved on to another series with adventurous 13-year-old friends, Max and Maddie. And guess where their adventures begin?
The Pine Mountain Gold Museum in Villa Rica, GA!
Excerpts and BUY links to come!
While you're waiting, check out Cynthia's Attic!

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