The first courthouse in Lumpkin County was a log structure that stood in the vicinity of the present day village square in Dahlonega. In February 1834, John Humphries agreed to build the courthouse for two thousand dollars. The two-story brick building was completed in 1836. Lumpkin County sold the courthouse to the state of Georgia in 1966 and the state spent a sizeable sum to refurbish and stabilize the structure. Today the building serves as the Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site and is, reportedly, the oldest surviving county courthouse in Georgia.
What is now Lumpkin County was part of the Cherokee Nation and the area in which gold was discovered. The gold was one of the reasons that the State of Georgia was behind the Indian Removal Act of the federal government in 1830. When Gold was discovered in these hills in 1829, white intruders entered the Cherokee Nation—The first major gold rush in the United States. The first gold strike is attributed to Benjamin Parks, a white intruder, in 1828/1829.
The Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site is a wonderful place to learn more about the North Georgia Gold Rush. The museum is chock-a-block full of delightful exhibits. A small fee is charged for admission (group rates are available with advance notice). Current house are Monday-Saturday, 9am–5pm, and Sunday, 10am–5pm.
For additional information on the Georgia Gold Rush see:
1. Williams, David. The Georgia Gold Rush: Twenty-Niners, Cherokees, and Gold Fever. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1993.
2. Cain, Andrew W. History of Lumpkin County for the First Hundred Years, 1832–1932. Atlanta, Georgia: Stein Printing Company, 1932.
© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.