CANCELED Frank Walker, historian, on Gold Mining in the Virginia Wilderness (we will reschedule for May or Sept.)
Gold Mining in Orange County’s Wilderness
Until the rich gold fields in California were developed in the mid-1800s, America’s gold came from the Volcanic-Plutonic Belt running through its South Atlantic states. Some of the earliest commercial operations were in North Carolina, but Virginia soon became a top producer. Its era of commercial production went from about 1827 to 1937.
The most productive area in Virginia was its Wilderness, a roughly 70 square mile region existing primarily in eastern Orange and western Spotsylvania counties. It was a Temperate Zone jungle, created when its forests were clear-cut to provide fuel for the iron production that had taken place there in the 1720s. Especially “hot spots” existed along Wilderness Run in eastern Orange County, but many sites were worked elsewhere, including outside of the Wilderness proper.
Frank Walker’s talk, Gold Mining in the Virginia Wilderness, gives highlights of the history of some of the major mines and of the people who “mined” the investors as well as the ground while producing both gold and the stories of a fascinating era in Virginia’s past.