Thursday, November 5, 2009

Charlotte's golden

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 12:27 PM

San Francisco might have gotten all the glory, but the first gold ever found in America was found near Charlotte. It's a fact. Why do you think we've got "Gold Hill Road," "Mint Hill," "The Mint Museum," the "Gold Rush" ride at Carowinds, "Norm the Miner"?

From the 1830s until the end of the Civil War, so much gold was unearthed around these parts that Charlotte even had a federal mint in town. The eagle that once adorned graced the entrance of the mint was restored in the 1930s and now hangs above the Mint Museum's back door. Go look.

Interest in hunting for gold has ballooned in recent months. That's because gold prices have surged to record levels, as people seek safer investments in these uncertain economic times. On Wednesday, gold futures hit an all-time high before closing at $1,087 an ounce – about 50 percent higher than a year ago.

Local prospectors and mine operators say they're flooded with calls as the unemployed and underemployed turn to the hobby, drawn by its cheap startup costs and the potential payoff. One has even declared it the start of a “new gold rush.”

There's always been an interest in this region – nearly 60 gold mines have operated in Mecklenburg County over the years, and experts say there are trace amounts of gold on most properties in and around Charlotte. North Carolina was the nation's only gold-producing state from 1803 until 1828, and it remained a leading producer until the California gold rush of the late 1840s.

Read the entire Charlotte Observer article here.

We even have a gold festival:

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