The first authenticated discovery of gold in the U.S. occurred on the Cabarrus County farm of John Reed in 1799, sparking the nation's first gold rush. During its peak years, more than a million dollars of gold was recovered a year, making North Carolina a leader in gold production until 1848. This mill, built by the Mecklenburg Iron Works of Charlotte, North Carolina, is original except for the timber work. Two groups of five 750-pound stamps with 5- to 7-inch lift, rose and fell thirty-five times a minute to yield a finely crushed ore. It is typical of those used in the late nineteenth century, not only in this state but in the western regions as well.
Reed Gold Mine Historic Site
9621 Reed Mine Road
Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.