This structure is all that remains of the Creighton/Franklin Gold Mine Complex, a once prosperous gold mine in Cherokee County, Georgia, located about two hours north of Atlanta. Most people associate the Gold Rush with California, but gold was discovered here first and mined from this site for about 70 years, from the 1830s to around 1907. In 1896 the complex included a complete mining plant with a large stamp mill, which is used to grind the ore down into sand-like material, a blacksmith shop, stables, miner’s cottages and a dam with 2 large turbines to generate power for the site. Built during the 1880s, the “Shingle House,” shown above, was used as a post office, boarding house, and a small stamp mill, where locals could sell gold ore.
I had seen pictures of this building on flickr and other blogs, and was very surprised to drive right by it one morning on the way to an area known as Big Canoe in Northern Georgia. It was on a return visit that I met the current owner of the land, a gentleman farmer who renamed it Gold and Grass Farms; “gold” for its mining history, and “grass” for the hay he bales and sells to local horse farms. Evidently accustomed to crazy people like me standing at the fence gazing at the old structure with camera in hand, he was gracious enough to let me drive through the gate behind his tractor to get a closer look for a few minutes.
I scrambled around while my new friend cleared overgrowth on the property, and I did the best I could to get shots that had to be directed at the setting sun to keep out of his way. It was a very overwhelming couple of minutes for me because I was absolutely charmed by the house and intrigued by its history. Before I left, he shared with me that the production company from the movie “The Hunger Games” had considered filming a scene from the sequel here and had spent many days planning logistics until that scene was ultimately cut from the movie. I could sense his disappointment that the filming fell through by the way he spoke of the characters of the story, and was impressed that he knew each of them by name. I read all three of the books from the trilogy, but will have to reread Catching Fire to see if I can pinpoint which scene they were thinking of filming at this sight.
*Creighton/Franklin Gold Mine information from the Cherokee County Historical Society.