Dahlonega’s ‘Gold Rush Days’ celebrates area’s past

Dahlonega’s fortunes changed forever in 1828 when gold was discovered in the area.

The U.S. Mint opened a branch mint in the city, which remained in operation until the start of the Civil War; the Confederate Treasury Department took over the facility following secession. The dome of the state capitol in Atlanta has 60 ounces of gold panned in Dahlonega.

Today, the 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse located on the town’s square – the oldest in the state – is home to the Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site. The state park tells the story of the nation’s first major gold rush, which happened two decades before California’s major rush.

Each year, the city hosts “Gold Rush Days,” a celebration of the city’s past. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend this year’s festival, scheduled for Oct. 15-16.

The festival features everything one would expect from a festival – from arts and crafts to food to a gold panning contest.

Dahlonega, a city of about 5,000, is located about 70 minutes north of Atlanta. For more information on Gold Rush Days, visit www.dahlonegajaycees.com.

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