As I mentioned in my entry on Reed’s Gold Mine in my 5 of the 22 journal, gold actually was not first discovered in California as many people believe. Instead it was discovered in a tiny town, right near my home, in NC by the Reed family. Shortly afterwards gold fever spread in these parts and gold mining operations began to set up all over. To include Gold Hill.
The town was established in 1843. One of the early families in town was George Bernhardt, son-in-law of John Reed. Prospectors were lured into Gold Hill in 1823 when geological surveys showed that there were 3 areas rich with the shiny stuff. At one point it was considered the richest mine town east of the Mississippi.
As miners moved into the area, so did commerce. Soon stores, hotels and taverns were established. There would soon be a need for some sort of police power and eventually a jail was built to hold the rowdy drunks. In 1843 Gold Hill was officially established as a town.
Gold Hill transitioned from a rough and tumble mining town into a social and economical center. Soon Gold Hill would become a major social center. There were numerous events labeled Grand Affairs. Tickets were sold for high society functions and only the most elite were attending. The once elaborate Gold Hill Hotel allowed guests to dine on fine china and linen tablecloths.
Much like the fate of many other towns, the gold rush soon moved out west and life here eventually began to fade into non-existence. In 1969 Vivian Pennington Hopkins heard about one of the old mine offices burning down and decided to start reaching the history of the town. But it wasn’t until 1989 that an effort to start bringing back business here began with the first annual Founder’s Day.
In 1982 the Gold Hill Historic Foundation was started with Hopkins on the steering committee. A 16-acrea donation, from Carolina Stalite, returned the land George Newman sat aside for the park in 1912. Eventually other land donations were made or purchased. One of the first restorations projects was the old jail. From there other buildings were restored. A shelter for locals and visitors was built. One of the latest projects has been the newly built amphitheatre. The Gold Hill Rail trail has also developed the first mile of what will eventually be an 8 mile trail. They are also working on a nomination for the National Register of Historic Places.
Today the town has reinvented its self as a small, charming village. It offers a glace into our past as well as offers a place to slow down the pace and escape the hassles of a major city.
Gold Hill is alive again as visitors and locals converge to shop, dine, and explore. Cathy Cain’s studio is a bevy of beautiful things for your yard including fountains, art, and you can purchase a variety of plants here as well. There is a bakery, florist, antique shop, and music shop. There is Miss. Ruby’s, but you can see my Fall Funery entry for this place. E.H Montgomery General Store sells local crafts, souvenirs, and snacks. They also double as a picking parlor. Come Friday night, visitors are greeting to some of the best bluegrass performers around. Mauney’s 1840 Store carries local made crafts, products, and antiques. Downstairs though, you can find a museum on the history of the town.
Walk though Gold Park and enjoy the old jail, the Bernhardt Barn, mine shafts, and places to sit and relax. Cross over and enjoy the nature trails which lead down to the peaceful Gold Hill Pond. It is now a favorite place for an afternoon walk for Jaz and I.
There is also plenty to see just walking through town. There is the restored Assay Office, the picturesque United Methodist church, and a number of lovely private homes.
Throughout the year there are a number of events held. Included are:
Founder’s Day (4th Saturday in September)
Oyster Roast (in the spring)
Lighting of the Fall Fires (Monday before Thanksgiving)
Haunted Gold Hill (Saturday before Halloween)
There are quite a few places in town for large gatherings and receptions.
I have lived in this area for 6 years now and it wasn’t until I was at Reed’s, did I discover this gem. I have attended several events here and Jaz and I love to come and just stroll around. I am looking forward to the spring and headed over to Cathy Cain's to get some new thing for my yard. This place has quickly become of one of my new discoveries. So I hope you will take the time and discover it for yourself.
For more information please visit www.historicgoldhill.com. Highly Recommended