Cities Near Dahlonega, GA
Local city information for Dahlonega, GA
is a city in Lumpkin County, Georgia, United States, and is its county seat. As of the 2000 census, it had a total population of 3,638.
Dahlonega is located at the north end of Georgia 400, which connects Atlanta to many affluent suburbs to the north. It is consistently named as a best place to retire by many different publications, due to its low cost of living, vibrant activities, continuing education for seniors, festivals, and beautiful setting.
The Dahlonega Gold Museum Historic Site sits in the middle of the town square, housed in the old Lumpkin County Courthouse built in 1836. From its steps in 1849, Dahlonega Mint assayor Dr. M. F. Stephenson tried to persuade miners to stay instead of joining the California Gold Rush, saying "thar's gold in them thar hills" and "there's millions in it."
Dahlonega, Georgia was the site of the first major gold Rush in the USA in 1828. It was a boom town in the Georgia Gold Rush and became the site of a United States Mint branch mint between 1838 and 1861. The facility was then controlled by the Confederate Treasury Department and operations continued until June 1, 1861.
Numerous gold mines were scattered around the area, a major reason for the forced relocation of the Cherokee nation to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. The city's name since 1833 comes from the Cherokee-language word "Talonige
" or "Dalonige
", meaning "yellow money" or "gold." The city is just east of Auraria, and each city claims to be the authentic site of the first discovery of gold. Senator John Calhoun of South Carolina (7th
Vice President of the United States) also owned the Calhoun Mine, just south of the City Square.
The Dahlonega Mint, like the one established in 1838 in Charlotte, North Carolina, only minted gold coins, in denominations of $1.00, $2.50 (quarter eagle), $3.00 (1854 only) and $5.00 (half eagle). It was cost effective considering the cost, time, and risk shipping gold to the main mint in Philadelphia. The Dahlonega Mint was a small operation, usually accounting for only a small fraction of the gold coinage minted annually. The government did not consider it necessary to reestablish the facility after the Civil War.
By then, the U.S. government had established a mint in San Francisco. Given the large amount of gold discovered in California, that mint handled the needs of gold mint production.
As a result, surviving Dahlonega coinage is today highly prized in American numismatics. The mint building burned in 1878 - but the North Georgia College campus built Price Memorial Hall on its foundation. The building is clearly identifiable by the gold leaf steeple.
In recent years, Dahlonega and Lumpkin County have been recognized as "the heart of Georgia Wine Country." The county features five vineyards and wineries that attract many tourists. The quaint Dahonega Square is a popular tourist destination with gift shops, restaurants, art galleries and artists' studios.
Dahlonega's local festivals also draw many tourists. Bear on the Square, an annual three-day festival held the third weekend in April which marks the day that a black bear wandered onto the square, features bluegrass and old-time music while celebrating the authentic culture of the Southern Appalachians with a juried artists' market and other activities. Gold Rush Days attract over 200,000 people for the two-day event every year on the third weekend in October.
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