You've all heard about the California Gold Rush in 1849. Well, there was another Gold Rush right here in Maryland, that very same year, when they discovered gold on Ellicott's farm in Olney, just 15 miles northeast of here.
There's a long gold vein that runs from Alabama all the way up here to Maryland. It's called the Appalachian vein.
And it was here during the Civil War that a Union soldier discovered gold. And by 1867, the Maryland Mine Company had sunk a 100 ft. shaft into the ground and operations were in full swing. A lot of gold was sent to the U.S. Mint and one newspaper article said, "It is rumored they sent off $25 to $30,000 worth of gold."
Of course, no one knows if all that gold was sent.
There was an ebb and flow to the gold fever here, but at the height, there were 30 gold mines in Montgomery County, 3 of which were right here in what is now the C&O Canal National Historic Park.
Even a Mr. duPont got into the act. Around 1912, he sent an agent to start buying up land. Bought about 2,000 acres. The mine was not a success, though, so duPont traded the land for a hotel in Washington.
The last "gold rush" was during the Depression in the 1930's, when gold prices soared from $20/oz. to $35/oz.
The high point was 1937, when 2,700 tons of ore were mined and receipts totaled over $37,000. But just 2 years later, only 58 tons of ore were mined, and receipts plummeted to $1,500.
In the 1940's a Canadian Company, Ventures Ltd., did some research into opening the mine again, but they never followed through. (Canada was at war with Germany, and the government in Ottowa passed a law that no assets could be taken out of the country.) And that spelled the end to the gold mining era in Montgomery County.
One fellow, who had been a foreman, Mr. Ingles, found some gold in the early 1950's. About 20 ounces. Not too bad.
So what would you do if you found some gold on the ground? Would you pick it up and try to sell it? Would you tell anybody where you found it? Or would you try to keep the whole thing a big secret? Well, just remember this saying, "Where's there gold, there's no secrets."
By the way, if you do find any gold here, and you probably won't, please treat it as you would an animal or a flower, and just leave it right there. We ask you to take only photographs and leave with memories.