There’s a lot to say about Reed’s Gold Mine! So much, in fact, that we are going to recap a little history on this state historic site, and refer you to their link for more extensive information.
Reed Gold Mine
** Reed’s Gold Mine will be closed Friday, July 3rd, and will reopen with their regular hours:
Tuesday – Saturday–9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The site is closed on Sundays and Monday, and the majority of national holidays. Please call if traveling a long distance, or check their website for hours.
There are no fees at the mine, however, if you plan to pan, the price is $3 plus tax, per pan. A group rate is available for parties of ten or more. Please contact the site for more details.
Most North Carolinians know the story of Reed Gold Mine, but just in case, let’s recap it here:
In 1799, a young man named Conrad Reed found a strange rock in an area known as Meadow Creek. This 17 lb “rock” acted as a doorstop for three years in the family home. At one point, Mr Reed, the father, took the “rock” to a local silversmith, who was unable to identify gold.
Three years later, in 1802, Mr Reed again took the “rock” to be identified, this time to a jeweler in Fayetteville, and although he did identify it as gold, he paid a small token price of only $3.50 to obtain the metal, and consequently came into possession of roughly $3,600 worth of gold.
The Reed Gold Mine was born a year later.
The light at the end of the tunnel.
Quick note here. I have actually been to the mine, and I believe this is the very end, where you emerge back above ground. The mine temperature is much lower than can be expected, so you might want to bring a light jacket or sweater, even if it is sweltering outside.
*Mr Reed did eventually recover an additional rough sum of $1000.
This was the first confirmed finding of gold in the US
Please note: the image below is an example of gold, and not a photo of gold actually found at Reed’s Gold Mine.
Mr Reed took in three partners, and it was not long before another nugget came to light: this one weighing in at 28 lbs, and worth around $6,600.
At the height of the gold heyday, it was second only to farming in our state.
Today, you can take tours of some of the underground shafts, and there is also a Visitor’s Center. Along with some wonderful walking trails, you can also pan for gold yourself!
The Visitors Center is a wealth of displays and information, with many examples of mining equipment, etc. All in all, Reed’s Gold Mine makes for a great day trip, well worth the visit. To view a map of the mine features and site structures, please click here.
Suggested reading from the state historic website:
“Golden Promise in the Piedmont: The Story of John Reed’s Mine”
Richard Knapp, author
“Gold Mining in North Carolina”
Richard F. Knapp, Brent D. Glass, authors
“The Reed Gold Mine Guidebook”
Linda Funk, Designer and Editor
“The First Gold Rush: A Master Plan for Reed Gold Mine”
Published by the National Park Service, 1972.