Gold and Grass, and Hunger Games

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.

After the gold rush.
What is left of the main room on the first floor.
A spider web glows at the top of the staircase.
The owner maintaining his fields.
The main gate to Gold and Grass Farms
The ghost from the gold rush at sunset.

*Creighton/Franklin Gold Mine information from the Cherokee County Historical Society.

76 Comments

    1. It looks like mother nature is helping out a little bit. There are large vines growing upward that seem to be offering some support, almost like fingers taking hold. Its kind of cool.

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    1. Thank you, there are many layers of history in this area, including Cherokee Indian history, which I wish I had been able to work into the post! I appreciate your reading and for the thoughtful comment.

      Elisa

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    1. Ack! I’m still catching up and haven’t responded to your earlier comments…..I’ll get there. Thanks for always stopping by and offering your interesting insights, Madhu.
      Elisa
      🙂

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  1. I applaud you for going in and capturing the spiderweb up the staircase. Really atmospheric shot. Interesting bit about The Hunger Games shooting there. Thanks for your wonderful storytelling about the house.
    x Laura

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  2. lovely shots!
    Funny you should say that this was a possible shoot location for Hunger Games. While we were waiting at the Rise and Diner, near Emory campus, I started a chat with an interesting woman who was sitting next to me. She introduced me to her husband, a nice fellow, 60ish, tall, good looking with short cropped here. He shared that his hair usually is longer, and the reason why it was so short, was, he had just finished shooting his scenes in Hunger Games. He is plays Cray. My daughter was very excited. She too has read all the book and is a budding actor. THe Woman, was shot in Boston and she had a small part in it, and has been also doing commercials and anything else she can. He was very kind to her and offered his assistance in helping her obtain an agent. Small world!

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  3. That is a GREAT house! And yes, it really would be perfect for a Hunger Games shoot, be it for the first, second or third films (or fourth…I think they’re splitting the last book into two movies, right?) Anyway, it is a beauty, and a wonderful set of captures by you…love love love.

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  4. I agree, the structure still has its charms. I’ve seen hunger games the movie, and I can imagine why it is disappointing that the frames shot on this farm were cut. I think it would have been wonderful to see this place in the movie. I love the last photo on this series, you definitely brought out the beauty on this structure, Elisa. Well done!

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  5. Elisa, those are wonderful pictures and, even without the words, they tell a story. Thank you for filling in the blanks. I wonder how many other buildings are just waiting to have their stories told?

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    1. Ha, yes, it was. But to be honest, it was difficult to concentrate with the tractor whizzing by, and knowing that when the chores were over, so was the photo shoot. Still a great moment, but as often happens, a funny story. I would love love to get invited back inside the gate someday.
      e.

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  6. Whatt a beautiful, skilled combination of photos and story, I’m impressed. Old buildings are great, deserted they tell lots of stories, yours though is brilliant.

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  7. The state ought to piece this old building back together! 🙂 It’s something of a treasure that will fall down before many years. I love the photos of it and the story. I didn’t know about the gold mining in Georgia.

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  8. This is exactly what I love to do, and when it leads to friendly conversations, and you learn more, it’s the best. And on top of that, you took really nice photos – I found a tobacco barn covered in vines in rural North Carolina that had a similar look, but was much smaller. The history behind this is wonderful – thanks!

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed! I passed that structure on my way to another adventure last week, and I almost stopped again! Thank goodness I exercised self control or that is all I’d blog about!

      Thanks for visiting,
      Elisa

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