Reed Gold Mine
The first documented discovery of gold in the United States happened right here in Cabarrus County when 12-year-old Conrad Reed discovered a 17-pound gold nugget in Little Meadow Creek. After using it as a doorstop for three years, Conrad’s father John Reed sold the nugget for $3.50 to a jeweler in Fayetteville without realizing its value. Upon his return, he and three friends began searching the creek bed for gold, effectively starting the nation’s first gold rush, about 50 years before the one in California. The original mint building was established in Charlotte and now houses the Mint Museum of Art.
Today, Reed Gold Mine is a state historic site and the only underground gold mine in North Carolina open to the public. Visitors can experience the mine’s history by panning for gold (April-October), exploring restored portions of underground tunnels as part of a guided tour and viewing exhibits of gold and historic mining equipment. Walking trails are also available onsite. Admission is free; panning is $2 per pan.