18 Jun Sittin’ on a Gold Mine
The proud claim, “We’re sittin’ on a Gold Mine”,is the motto of the town of McCormick, SC and it’s true. Back in 1852, the second richest vein of gold in the state was discovered on the site of the present gold mine at McCormick. Dorn Gold Mine is named for William Dorn, a local prospector, who sought his fortune in western South Carolina.
Dorn owned and operated the gold mine at McCormick from the discovery, in 1852, but had exhausted the mine prior to 1860, after excavating close to $1,000,000.00 in the precious metal. He then sold the property to Cyrus McCormick, who eventually created the town of the same name. The placer mine is listed on the national register of historic sites.
Early Operations and Present Day Fun
Placer mining is mining in stream beds, which are prevalent in and around McCormick, and Old 96 District. Placer mining is the most common form of mining for gold and gemstones. Gold, particularly, settles in the sand and gravel of these stream beds, due to the it’s weight. The gold mine at McCormick produced a fair amount of gemstones in it’s time. Gems, likewise, are placer-mined and are fairly prevalent in the region to this day.
As a placer mine, the gold mine at McCormick is still yielding treasure, and those who are fortunate enough to uncover the gems, and precious metals, know that the Dorn Gold Mine is a worthy stop on a visit to Old 96 District. Now part of Heritage Gold Mine Park, the Dorn Gold Mine is open for prospectors of all ages from May through October, the 1st and 3rd Saturday and associated Sunday, from 9 am until 4 pm. Should you uncover a treasured gemstone or gold, you get to keep what you find.
In addition to guided gold-panning, the Heritage Park gold mine at McCormick offers tours of the historic mine. The original features of the mine, which show how the mining operations were conducted, include an open trench, dewatering pipe, and several shafts, pits, and points of interest. There’s a horizontal tunnel which runs beneath the town and is a tour favorite, especially for the kids. Group tours are available by appointment.
Festivals are Pure Gold
A Spring Festival takes place in April, at the park. The festival is a fun time for everyone and provides an opportunity to learn about mining from the 1800’s though today. Plenty of hobby prospectors come to the festival and the gold mine at McCormick to join in the fun and try their hand at prospecting the mine.
The annual Gold Rush Festival, held in September, is a huge regional draw to the gold mine at McCormick, as well as the town itself. Music, local crafts, food, and entertainment abound in this celebration of the town’s successful run as a source of gold, gems and precious metals. Visitors and locals alike attend the festival in droves. The Gold Rush Festival provides an excellent opportunity to explore the Gold Mine at McCormick, Heritage Park, and all of the sites and landmarks around the Old 96 District.
An Easy Get Away
A short drive from Atlanta, Charlotte, and Greenville, the Old 96 District has everything you and your family need for an ideal get-away. The area is rich in untamed wooded green space for camping, hiking and exploration, and the historic downtown McCormick is not-to-be-missed. A day of sightseeing, followed by some shopping and dining, is a fine time in McCormick, SC. Plan your next visit to the gold mine at McCormick and uncover the gem of Old 96 District.