On December 4, 1837, a branch of the United States Mint opened in Charlotte.
The 1799 discovery of a 17-pound nugget by John Reed in Cabarrus County secured North Carolina’s place as the epicenter of the nation’s first gold fever epidemic. Since miners in North Carolina supplied almost all of the gold sent to the U. S. Mint in Philadelphia, Charlotte residents were determined to attract a branch office. The U.S. Mint agreed, and construction began in 1835. It was completed two years later on West Trade Street.
Prior to the Civil War, the Charlotte mint processed more than 5 million dollars of gold currency in $1, $2.50, and $5 denominations. During the war, the building was converted into a Confederate hospital and command center, but it reopened as a U.S. Assay Office in 1868. It tested precious metals and minerals for public quality assurance until 1913.
The building remained vacant until the expansion of a post office threatened it and a group of citizens relocated the structure to the exclusive Eastover area. In 1936, the mint underwent extensive renovations. It opened as part of the Mint Museum of Art in June of that year, a century after its original dedication.
Visit: The Mint Museum of Art in Eastover and its second branch Uptown.
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