Happy Friday everyone!
From 1804 to 1828, North Carolina was the source of all the gold produced in the United States! It was discovered in Cabarrus County, NC on the Reid family farm, nearly 50 years before the boom in California. Today, this farm is called the Reed Mine and is designated as a North Carolina State Historic Site.
Gold was discovered in the southwest area of Charlotte by Samuel McComb in 1825. McComb discovered on his land a gold bearing lode that was a half mile long and approximately 100 feet wide. The McComb Mine, later renamed the St. Catherine Mine, led to further prospecting and the development of at least one more mine along the vein, the Rudisil, named for its location under Rudisil’s Hill.
The Rudisil Mine came into being soon after 1830 when Count Chevalier Vincent de Rivafinoli arrived in Charlotte from Italy with a group of miners from England, Germany, Italy, Ireland and France. Rivafinoli bought property in the vicinity of Mint and Summit Streets and established his mine. The Rudisil Mine placed Charlotte at the center of the most productive area of the Southern Gold Fields that stretched across the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The Rudisil was mined for over 100 years, remaining active through the period of the Great Depression. Operations were suspended in 1938.
This 1882 photograph shows Robert M. Miller (right) and John W. Wadsworth who, at one point, co-owned the Rudisil Mine. Miller was a founding director of the Commercial National Bank of Charlotte, NC that was chartered on February 18, 1874. It was one of of Charlotte's first banks. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, this bank is known today as Bank of America.
The Mecklenburg Iron Works was established in 1846. From a single blacksmith shop, it evolved into a company capable of melting and casting iron. The company's ability to make and improve equipment guaranteed its role in Charlotte's gold mining industry for at least 50 years.
Early machinery at The Mecklenburg Iron Works.
The size of the St. Catherine Mine was expanded through the purchase of a flour mill and cotton gin house. It was considered America’s most advanced mining operation in its day. The St. Catherine Mine was the site of the first deep shaft, 60 to 80 feet below ground, on one gold vein. The inclined shaft was built on a 45 degree angle to follow the vein. The mine was last worked in 1887.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library
Charlotte Museum of History
Reed Gold Mine
State of North Carolina Department of Human Resources
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass