Gold mining in Virginia

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Most gold mining in Virginia was concentrated in the Virginia Gold-Pyrite belt in a line that runs northeast to southwest through the counties of Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford, Fauquier, Culpeper, Spotsylvania, Orange, Louisa, Fluvanna, Goochland, Cumberland, and Buckingham. Some gold was also mined in Halifax, Floyd, and Patrick counties.

History of Virginia gold mining[edit]

The earliest recording of gold mining activity in Virginia began about 1804 as placer mining, followed quickly by lode mining. Mining continued unabated until the onset of the California Gold Rush, at which point most serious speculators moved west. Production continued at a low level until the Civil War, when it virtually ground to a halt.

Near the end of the war, Union troops began a systematic campaign to destroy the economic base of the South. Many gold mines were subsequently damaged beyond repair. Most were, by this time, marginal producers, their ores of such low concentrate as to stretch the limits of the mercury amalgam (chemistry) recovery technology of the day. Many of these mines never reopened.

Other mines did, however, and gold production in Virginia continued until World War II, when, on October 8, 1942, the War Production Board issued Limitation Order L-208, which branded gold production as a non-essential and directed all but the smallest of gold mines to shut down so their labor force could be used elsewhere to support the war effort.

Economic conditions following the war were such that few miners returned to mining, so only a handful of mines reopened. For all practical purposes, commercial gold production in Virginia ceased after 1948.

At its peak, Virginia was the third largest gold producing state,[citation needed] and the heart of the gold production area was at the junction of Spotsylvania, Culpeper, Greene, and Orange counties near Wilderness.

Modern era[edit]

More than 300 prospects and mines are known to have existed in Virginia, yet very few, if any at all, are commercially active at this time. Amateur and hobby prospecting continues to this day, primarily consisting of individual or small scale placer operations. Many hobbyists simply use a gold pan or a sluice box.

Museums and displays about gold mining[edit]

List of gold mines, claims, and prospects[edit]

Since most commercial gold activity ceased in the late 1940s, records are scant. This list is not complete. quadrangles are USGS 7.5 minute quads and the coordinates are UTM.

Mines in Buckingham County[edit]

Mines in Carroll County[edit]

Mines in Culpeper County[edit]

Mines in Cumberland County[edit]

Mines in Fairfax County[edit]

Mines in Fauquier County[edit]

Fauquier County's Gold Mining Museum at Monroe Park

Mines in Floyd County[edit]

Mines in Fluvanna County[edit]

Mines in Goochland County[edit]

Mines in Halifax County[edit]

Mines in Loudoun County[edit]

Mines in Louisa County[edit]

Mines in Montgomery County[edit]

Mines in Orange County[edit]


Mines in Patrick County[edit]

Mines in Prince William County[edit]

Mines in Spotsylvania County[edit]

Location: N 4,240,150 E 262,150 (Zone 18)

Mines in Stafford County[edit]

Mines in Warren County[edit]

Other mines, claims, and prospects[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 7
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 8
  3. ^ Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 9
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 11
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 12
  6. ^ Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 13
  7. ^ Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 14
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 16
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 17
  10. ^ a b c d Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 18
  11. ^ a b c d Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 20
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 22
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 23
  14. ^ a b c d e f Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 25
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 26
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 27
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 28
  18. ^ a b c d e Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 29
  19. ^ a b c Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 31
  20. ^ Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 32
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 34
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 35
  23. ^ a b Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 36
  24. ^ Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 37
  25. ^ a b c d e f g Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 39
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 40
  27. ^ a b c d Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 41
  28. ^ Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 42
  29. ^ a b c Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 44
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 46
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 47
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 48
  33. ^ Likely also known as U.S. Gold Mine, From http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Spotsylvania/088-0137_Rapidan_Dam_Canal_of_the_Rappahannock_Navigation_1973_Final_Nomination.pdf
  34. ^ a b Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 49
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 51
  36. ^ Sweet, Palmer C., Gold in Virginia, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 19, pg. 52

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]