Gold! Find it here...

Georgetown, NC - GOLD! No, it was not California, but here in southern North Carolina that the precious metal was first found, and later exploited as a natural resource. For a short period of time, gold mining employed nearly as many people in North Carolina as did farming. The Reed mine was small in comparison to most, yielding only 100 pounds of refined metal during its lifetime. This was the very first gold mine in America and as such was the impetus for many families to migrate and establish their homes in the Tar Heel State. Wander through the local graveyards and look for Cornish or Welsh names and you'll find the family that came here for gold.

Bikers running up and down NC-200 will find the Reed Gold Mine about 2 miles west of the highway on Reed Gold Mine Road. Use caution when you turn from NC-200; there is a small storage yard on the corner for landscape materials and there is frequently a large patch of rocks and aggregate in the roadway.

There is a very complete museum and visitor center and frequently there will be period interpreters, like the smithy that will gladly spend time explaining how his work was so important to a pioneer town. Clad in leather breeches and apron, he recruits volunteers from the crowd to help tend his fire as he heats and works lumps of iron into the commonplace items found in every household.

Guided tours lead visitors into an enlarged shaft that extends about 250 feet into a small hill. The immediate impression in the summer is that somebody is paying a huge electric bill to keep this area so cool, about 55 degrees. And then it becomes evident that you really are going underground where, like most natural caves, it is a comfortable temperature ever day of the year, regardless of the heat or cold outside. The original miners of the Reed gold mine would have crawled, or stooped, hours at a time as they worked narrow veins of quartz, blasting out only a few pounds of ore each work day. It was difficult and dangerous not only due to the possibility of a cave in; but because of the long term affects of silicosis, a lung disease that often plagued miners and consderably shortened their lives.

The tour takes about 20 minutes. Allow at least 90 minutes for a good visit that includes a bit of panning for gold in the creek. There is a small picnic area adjacent to the parking lot that can accommodate about 10 or 15. This would be a nice stop for a small group of riders that want to turn a short run up and down NC-200 into an all day excursion. Every rural road for miles around is a twisty treat. The immediate desire for most rides is to go as fast as possible, but that can get expensive, the local police patrol heavily and WILL tag you quickly.

Enjoy your stop!

08/2005

{phocamaps view=link|id=16|text=Click / Area map sponsored by Roads and Riders}

Click HERE for NC-200 ride video.
Click HERE to visit Reed Gold Mine web page.
Reed Gold Mine
9621 Reed Mine Rd
Stanfield, NC 28163
704-721-GOLD