Prior to my son leaving for the summer, my friend and I needed to throw in a little day trip. Being tight with money due to car issues and strapped with time I looked for something cheap and not too far. What I came up with was not only those two but educational as well and fun! So we jumped in the car (hers, because mine wanted to get punched) and headed out for a short 1 hour drive to Dahlonega to the Consolidated Gold Mine.
Unlike Gold Mine’s you may have been to before, this one allows you to actually tour a real Gold Mine that was use in the early 1900’s. We learned so much from this place and had the best and most knowledgeable tour guide! As you enter the building, you of course pay for your tour, we had a time slight that was about 20 minutes out, so we did our Gold Panning while we waited. With the Gold Panning, you watch a quick informative video, then go and use the techniques you just learned and apply those with the Gold Panning. You literally only get a couple of flakes, nothing to quit your job over! My friend actually joked she was quitting, the man working mentioned that she may not want to quit, but could probably she up a few minutes late, haha. We had a good laugh and then made our way to the entrance of the Gold Mine so that we could get the party going.
As we were waiting we noticed that the gate on the entrance to the Gold Mine has a bit of history itself. It was from a prison located in London back that was built-in the 1200’s! Pretty interesting seeing something so old with so much history.
Prior to the tour beginning, we watch another informational video that educated us on the history of Gold Mining, the various types, Gold Mining in Georgia and the history of the Gold Mine that we were about to set foot in. It was a pretty interesting video that didn’t put you to sleep. It was a great way to get some insight about Gold Mining prior to exploring the Mine.
They give you a hard hat to wear if you wish, we opted in with that and followed our guide down the metal stair to set foot a real Gold Mine!! As you enter the Gold Mine, you see a huge opening with the perfect amount of light shining through. It was here where they found their biggest piece of gold and what lead them to dig deeper into the stone. Literally the whole opening you see in the picture was filled with quartz, and inside that was the gold. It was their biggest breakthrough!
Note that this whole area was completely solid! It was manually dug out, there were no natural openings!
Be careful as you make your way through and remember to wear comfortable shoes that have some grip. Some areas can be slippery. When the Mine closed down just a few shirt years after it was opened, it stayed closed for 80 years!! During that time the Mine was completely filled with water, COMPLETELY! This Mine, all the way through is about 4 miles. That’s a lot of area that was covered. There are still spots that they haven’t even explored and it has been reopened for 30 years! Please note that it did take time to get ll that water out of the Mine! There’s even areas where it is still filled with water!
One of the amazing things we learned was how they Mined for the gold. Using the chisels in the picture below, they would chisels for up to 12 hours a day! Back then the average pay was about .20-.25/hour. They were making about $1.5o/hour!! Talk about a come up! But work they did as this job was very time-consuming. What is also awesome is that all the tools that you see in these photos were actually down there when they drained to Mine of all the water! So they have been down there for over 80 years!
As you walk through the Mine you see all these areas cut out that don’t lead to anywhere. What we learned is that when they would explode areas of the Mine, they workers didn’t leave the Mine. They would go in these areas and wait. When they dynamite went off, it wouldn’t affect these areas, but would just go past it. Interesting, right?!
At one point during the Mine being active, they added electricity. If one light went out, they all went out. They Miners were to sit where they were and wait until someone from up above would check to see where they problem was and rectify it. This could take to upwards of 2 hours!! Great for them as it was break time!
Once the Mine was equipped with electricity, they were able to have powered tools to work. When the Mine was closed and even with the Mine filling up with water, there was one tool that STILL WORKS today! Our guide actually turned it on so that we could hear how loud it was, imagine hear several of these; to say they didn’t have problems when hearing after they left work would be an understatement.
We didn’t go too deep into the Mine, as I mentioned, they still have to explore a lot of it and keep it safe for tours coming through. With that being said, there is always a reason to go back in the future as you may see a whole new section that you haven’t seen before!
All-in-all, it was very interesting! It was totally worth the drive just for this reason alone. However, there are many other things to do in the area for family fun! Hiking, camping, Babyland and tubing to name a few.
Consolidated Gold Mine is located at:
185 Consolidated Gold Mine Road, Dahlonega, GA 30533
Hours of Operation:
Open 7 Days a week Rain or Shine
Sunday – Saturday
To keep up with all the latest; you can follow Consolidated Gold Mine on Facebook!