We visited the abandoned Russell Mine, sometimes mistaken for the Coggins Mine, located in the Uwharrie National Forest, near El Dorado in Montgomery County, North Carolina.
During the 1820s and 1830s North Carolina experienced a gold rush, and became the United State’s largest producer of gold until the California rush of 1849. The Russell Mine actually reached its height of production post Civil War. The mine was a surface and underground operation, with numerous excavations, and an underground shaft that extended over 100 feet below the surface. While gold was the primary commodity here, the mine also produced copper, zinc, and iron. Despite this, the Russell Mine was considered only marginally successful and was shut down by the turn of the 20th Century.
There are currently no active commercial gold mines in the Uwharrie Mountains, but there is still gold in them hills!
Visiting the Russell Mine site is not difficult. There is some limited parking along the highway and a somewhat defined path leading to the mine. Please note, however, that there are no signs or official trails. The area is not maintained. There are numerous holes “filled in” with leaves and debris, and walking around the mine site can be dangerous. To see the entire site, you will also need to cross the creek, which could be difficult at times of high water (you can always walk back to the road and cross the highway bridge). Consider this an off trail hike and exercise caution around the site. Thanks for watching!
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