Other Lumpkin County mines
Barlow Cut mine
Battle Branch mine
Boley Fields mine
Boston Cut mine
Bunker Hill mine
Dry Hollow mine
Fish Trap mine
Liberty Bell mine
Logan Hill mine
Long Branch mind
Lumpkin Chestatee mine
Mary Henry mine
Mtn Valley mine
Turkey Hill mine
Whim Hill min
America’s political and gold mining pasts collide on a nearly 500-acre tract in Lumpkin County.
Its future is another matter, as a Green Bay, Wisc.-based real estate auction firm has the Calhoun gold mine and surrounding property on the auction block.
“It was the site of where, the story goes, Benjamin Parks first discovered gold, which started the Georgia gold rush in 1829,” said Chris Worick, president of the Lumpkin County Historical Society.
A historic sign on the property confirms that, saying Parks’ find “was so rich in gold that it was yellow like yolk of eggs.”
The property, listed at $5.1 million, has ties to John C. Calhoun, who served as the nation’s seventh vice president from 1825 to 1832.
After the Georgia gold rush in 1829, he bought the tract of land, which included the mine.
Calhoun started a company to mine the land and later allowed his son-in-law, Thomas Green Clemson, the founder of Clemson University, to manage it, according to the Lumpkin County Geneaology website. According to the sign on the property, some of the gold was used to found the college in South Carolina.
With all this rich history, the Calhoun Mine was added to the National Register of Historic Places and named a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
The property, some 3 to 4 miles south of Dahlonega, off South Chestatee Street, includes the Calhoun Dam and Stamp Mill, a 560-square-foot shed and three homes on the property that could be used for potential additional rental income, according to the online auction firm, Micoley.com.
“The Calhoun Mine is a National Historic Landmark for a reason, and we want to honor the seventh vice president’s legacy the best way we can,” Micoley.com founder and Chief Executive Officer Wade T. Micoley said in an Oct. 27 news release. “It’s simply a beautiful piece of land and we cannot wait to match a buyer with the property who will continue to uphold its tradition with the same zeal the Calhoun family did in the 1800s.”
The land was in Hall County at one time, before Lumpkin was even formed, Worick said. The property became part of Lumpkin once the county was established in 1832.
The Georgia historic sign says shortly after the gold discovery in 1828, the mine was sold to Calhoun, then a U.S. senator from South Carolina. Specimens from the mine are on display at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta.
By the time Calhoun owned the mine, he had served as vice president under President John Quincy Adams and secretary of war under President James Monroe, according to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
Calhoun died in Washington in March 1850.
“Until 1939, the property changed hands a number of times, but it had always been one of the significant producers of gold all those years,” Worick said.
The last “big gold strike” in Georgia happened in the fall of 1939 and took place at the Calhoun mine.
“It was kind of short-lived,” Worick said.
A couple years later, the United States got involved in World War II.
“Once the war started, it really put an end to mining in this area because (workers) couldn’t get explosives for dynamite and the manpower was being depleted because the guys had to go off to fight the war,” Worick said.
The auction was slated for Wednesday, but neither Micoley officials, nor the property owner, could be reached for comment.
The firm’s website had detailed information about the property, including homes on the site were between 1,718 and 3,046 square feet in size and were built between 1960 and 1974.
Two of the homes are being rented, according to Micoley.
Also, 135 of the acres are under “permanent conservation” but has an area that allows for hiking, hunting and all-terrain vehicle use.
“Property can be subdivided and/or annexed into the city of Dahlonega,” the website states.
The “highly motivated sellers of this property have indicated that they plan to entertain early bids and offers,” Micoley stated in the news release.
“Buyers are most likely already researching this property and coming to decisions about whether to make a purchase, so potential buyers are advised to act fast.”
Potential development of the property doesn’t particularly concern Worick.
“You would hope that (new owners) would not intrude on the actual mining area — just leave that alone for the time being,” he said.
“If you build a subdivision there, I think one of the major things they’re going to have to take a look at is that someone is literally not building over the mine shaft,” Worick said. “I think that because the mine sits off back in the woods, I think a subdivision ... would probably be closer to the road.”
Worick added, “even though the property is fairly expensive, I don’t think the mining area is as large as people might think.”
The property is near a couple of high-end subdivisions, including Achasta Golf Club, which features homes in the $700,000 price range.
As far as any public concern with the auction and potential development of the property, Worick said, “I don’t think people up here are too aware of it. I happen to catch it by accident “