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Dahlonega's courthouse on the square  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > North America > USA > Georgia > Dahlonega

Dahlonega Travel Guide

  
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Gold has always bedazzled man. It has driven explorers to their deaths in the quest for its glitter. It brings out the best in mankind and the worst.  It has opened new frontiers and destroyed entire cultures.  The settling of the American West owes much to the California Gold Rush of 1849.  But long before the cry of “Gold” rang in the western deserts, the Appalachian foothills of northwest Georgia echoed with the excited shouts of successful prospectors.

It all began in 1828 when Benjamin Parks was out deer hunting and kicked at a rock. The rock was a gold nugget and the rush was on. Before it ended, thirty three million dollars of the purest gold ever mined in the United States was taken from the ground and the city of Dahlonega was born. It was also one of the prime factors in the “Trail of Tears” which resulted in the death of over 4,000 Cherokees. The fact that the land was the Indians by right of treaty and backed by the decision of the Supreme Court could not stand in the way of gold fever. Over 16,000 Cherokee were rounded up, housed in makeshift forts and driven overland on a grueling trek to Oklahoma

Word of Mr. Parks golden pebble spread like wildfire. Prospectors, fired by the dream of instant riches, flocked to the area even though it was official part of the Cherokee Nation and off limits to white settlers.  They settled mainly in an area about six miles south of present day Dahlonega around the William Dean cabin. The settlement was first informally called Deans but when Nathaniel Nuckolls provided a tavern for their entertainment, the grateful miners changed the name to Nuckollsville. In spite of the name, the miners were generally law abiding and only one murder was ever committed in the town. As the town grew the citizens adopted a more dignified name Auraria, meaning “gold mine or gold region.” 

By this time, the thriving city was locked in battle with its neighbor to the north for the right to be Lumkin County Seat.  Dahlonega was the victor eventuallyu engulfing what was once Auraria.  The courthouse was built in 1836.  Auraria’s final death knell was sounded in 1838 when the nation’s first branch mint opened in Dahlonega. Today all that remains of Auraria is a few old ruins and one operating business, Woodie’s grocery. Instead of gold, today Dahlonega mines the golden tide of tourism. 






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