“There’s gold in them hills”. Scattered through history are many tales of who found the first gold in the North Georgia mountains. One story claims Benjamin Parks was walking along a deer path and found gold in a rock. Other claims put John Witheroods (there are different versions of his last name too!) finding a three-ounce nugget. Maybe Thomas Bowen’s tale of an uprooted tree with roots covered in gold is the beginning of the quest for wealth.
Either legend, puts the 1828 Gold Rush in North Georgia; twenty years before the famous Gold Rush in California. As word spread, the miners headed to discover their fame and fortune deep in the Georgia mountains some 200 feet below ground.
No matter who stirs the romantic, golden account of Georgia’s gilded past, you are sure to find the mining details fascinating and intriguing. And, the best place to take a walk back in time is on a tour of the Consolidated Gold Mining Company in Dahlonega.
They began when a vein of quartz containing gold was found on the Dahlonega mountain side. A vein so large it was measured to be 22 feet thick. Actually, quartz veins containing gold are usually measured in inches – not feet.
In 1895 the area, including several small mines, was purchased by a group of northern investors. They created the Dahlonega Consolidated Gold Mining Co., lasting only 11 years.
Today visitors can go underground and experience history come alive. The guides make the tour educational and entertaining.
When you visit, you will want to make the most of your experience. Here are Travel Bags With Annita’s top seven things to do:
1. Take in a movie
Before you start your tour, watch history come alive with a short video highlighting the stories of miners who have been in the trenches discovering treasures from deep within tunnels of gold.
Viewing the video helps put into perspective the struggles and hard work of miners who dedicated their time, efforts and skills to bring riches from the earth.
2. Take a 200 feet underground tour back in time.
For 40 minutes you will journey underground in a real mine. Relive what it was like mining for gold. What were the challenges, the struggles and the rewards of working underground, blasting for gold?
Come prepared to walk down three flights of stairs and two ramps. Strollers are not permitted and pets are not allowed. Wear tennis or closed toed shoes.
Open 7 days a week
Adults – $15
Children (4-14 years) – $9
3. Try Your Hand at Panning for Gold
Pan for gold!! This is an age-old endeavor and everyone can have fun – young and old. With instructions from a miner on staff you master the technique in no time. Will you strike it rich? Head over and give it a try with regular panning for $6 per pan or for $11 per pan, go for the big-time gold with high grade material. This pan offers a higher concentration of ore – more and better ore equals more gold!
4. Get stoned!
After panning for gold, next on your list must be panning for gemstones. A bucket filled with sand and gemstones is delivered to you; next step, scoop up gem-filled sand, in water swish back and forth to wash out the sand, discover Emeralds, Sapphires, Topaz, Amethyst, Quartz, Garnets, Rubies and so many others! Eye-popping treasures are what’s left after the sand flows away.
5. Adorn Yourself!
Do you believe in magic? Transform rough stones into beautiful jewels while you wait. Fingers cry out for a lovely Topaz ring and of course an Emerald pendent perfectly adorns any attire. The best part – you panned the gems yourself. Now, let Miner Rick or Miner Austin turn a ruby in the rough into a keepsake you will cherish for a life-time.
6. Capture The Moment
All around the area are inspirations for group photos, selfies and videos. Make sure you capture golden moments with a snapshot perfect for Facebook, Twitter or the family photo album. Who knows, 100 years from now, your photo will be proof of the joy and fun of a visit to this historic place.
7. One-Stop Shop
From mining gear to toys to walking sticks. Take home a souvenir or gift which captures the day and your special time as a miner – in the Consolidated Gold Mines.
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