Rutherford County played an integral role in the NC Gold Rush and was a hot spot for mining activity during the early 1800s. The Town of Rutherfordton was home to Christopher Bechtler, who minted the first one-dollar gold coin in 1832, approximately 17 years before the U.S. Mint made one of their own. Today, you can visit Bechtler's home and mint site to learn more about how this small town had a national influence.
The Bechtler House serves as the headquarters for the NC Gold Trail. You can begin your journey here to learn all about the NC Gold Trail and Bechtler's contribution to the gold rush. Here, you can see the coin press as well as a rare handcrafted Bechtler rifle.
The Bechtler Press
Bechtler’s original press from the 1830s is on display in a room dedicated to this exhibit. This valuable piece of history came from the collection of the American Numismatic Society in New York and is on loan to the Bechtler Heritage Center from the ANS. Bringing the press back to Rutherford County was a substantial effort facilitated by many people, and we are proud to have it on display in its hometown.
Bechtler's original piano is also on loan for display inside the historic Bechtler House.
Bechtler Rifle & Coin Display
The only Bechtler rifle known to exist, until recently, was crafted in the 1800s, has returned home to Rutherfordton, North Carolina and is on public display along with a set of three original Bechtler coins. In addition to jewelry and currency, Bechtler was also an accomplished gunsmith. The rifle, which displays the name of Bechtler’s son and protégé, “Augustus Bechtler,” on the stock, and “N Carolina” in gold inlay on the top section, is a wonderful continuation of the Bechtler story.
Fridays: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Saturdays: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Call 828-351-9575 to arrange a tour for another time
130 W. 6th Street ~ Rutherfordton, NC 28139
When the English geologist George Featherstonhaugh visited Bechtler at this site in 1837, he wrote that Bechtler had driven a tunnel along a mineral vein. Was this one of those tunnels?
Explore the mint site and decide for yourself. Beyond this gated entrance, the tunnel extends over 80 feet before turning north for another 30 feet. It then narrows to less than one foot in height. Pick marks are still clearly defined on the rocky walls.
For many years after Bechtler's death, this property was sold and resold to speculators and mining companies, once selling for $1 million.
Hidden Floor of Gold
At the Bechtler Mint Site, learn more about Bechtler's ingenuity while examining the Hidden Floor of Gold. Discover this clever way Bechtler was able to collect even more gold simply by customers visiting his mint.
Bechtler Mint Site and Historic Park
342 Gilboa Church Road ~ Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Thermal City Gold Mine is the best recreational gold and gem mining facility in the Eastern United States. For great family fun, Gem Mining in North Carolina, Gold Panning NC, Camping Mining North Carolina and much more, Thermal City Gold Mine is the perfect find!
Thermal City Gold Mine offers a unique experience hosted by real prospectors. We are dedicated to keeping the tradition and history of Gold Mining in North Carolina alive. Anyone who wants to pan or prospect for gold is welcome. We enjoy teaching and talking about mining!
The Gold Mile is a commemorative trail around downtown Rutherfordton that begins at the Bechtler House on W. 6th Street and makes its way through the boutiques and
businesses on Main Street. The trail is marked by replica
Bechtler one-dollar gold coins donated by those who support the rich history of Rutherford County. Although the coins are not real gold like the original, they are crafted by a local artist to
resemble Bechtler's famous one-dollar coin. Each one is
hand-made and customized with a dedication message. If you are interested in leaving your mark and becoming a part of the Gold Mile, you can pick up a donation form at the Bechtler House or by clicking on the link below.
Rutherford County is located in Western North Carolina at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy the beauty of this region where the stressors of everyday life fade into fresh air amidst a parade of peaks and waterways, all singing Mother Nature’s finest song.
Come experience “Small Town Friendly" and everything else we have to offer. We promise you will have the time of your life!