The first gold in the USA was not found by a miner in California as I would have thought. Instead it was discovered by a 12 year old boy, Conrad Reed. Conrad decided to skip church one fine Sunday morning and go bow fishing in 1799. While shooting at some fish, he went to recover his arrows and was drawn to a shiny object in the creek. He picked it up and brought it home to his father who thought it was interesting, and being that it weighed 17 pounds it made a great door stop.
The story is that 3 years later John Reed took the rock to Fayetteville, where he was told to “name his price” for the rock. At the time a farmer would make $3.21 a week, so he asked that in return, and the proprietor paid him quickly the amount for the rock that was worth over $3,000, even in that day.
The Reed Gold Mine is still open for tours in Midland, North Carolina. You can do a self tour or on the hour they do a guided tour through the mine.
For $3.21, the same amount John Reed was paid for the first gold found, you can get a pan of dirt and pan for some gold.
Touring the mine and panning for gold gave you a little feel of how hard our ancestors before us worked. Panning gives your arms a good work out, and I can’t even imagine the work that went into digging those mines before the days of electronic machinery, “INVENTION IS THE MOTHER OF NECESSITY”
Though we did not walk away from Reed Gold Mine rich, we were treated to a wealth of knowledge, our tour guide Brie and our mining guide Katy shared with us stories that were fun and factual.
One of the guides, Barry was a fun wealth of knowledge, the kind of guy you wish you could take out for a beer and listen to him tell his stories about the area and the history of the mine and other fascinating areas.
If your in the Charlotte area and looking for something fun and historical I definitely recommend this tour. Plan to spend a couple hours, and bring a picnic lunch, its a beautiful place to hike and sit under the trees for a picnic after a good work out of panning and climbing.
The Reed Gold Mine 9621 Reed Mine Road Midland NC 28107
Open Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 5pm Closed most holidays