Reed Gold Mine – Midland, North Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Reed Gold Mine

Midland, North Carolina

The first documented commercial gold find in the United States. 


Reed Gold Mine is the first documented commercial gold found in the United States, triggering the first gold rush. The land was owned by John Reed, a former Hessian soldier, who fought for the British in the Revolutionary War. Reed and his family settled onto a farmstead in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Northeast of Charlotte. 

The story of the gold discovery began in 1799 when Reed’s son found a large yellow rock in a nearby creek. The rock weighed 17 pounds. Not originally recognized as gold, legend has it that the family used the rock as the doorstop for the family house. 

A nearby jeweler from Fayetteville identified the rock as gold in 1802 while visiting the home. It was purchased for a portion of its true worth. Eventually, word got out and gold was discovered in nearby creeks and land, triggering a gold rush. At its peak, the estimated value mined each year in the mine and surrounding areas topped over one million dollars, including a 28-pound gold nugget that was also found at Reed’s farm. 

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Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 9 am - 5 pm. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Admission is free, and fees for underground guided tours.

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July 18, 2023

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