Charlotte NC history, heritage, gold rush, historic neighborhoods | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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Charlotte Itinerary: History & Heritage

Learn how the nation’s first gold rush helped shape Charlotte’s future and other fascinating history.

Day 1: Charlotte Past and Present

Explore Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont’s past at Levine Museum of the New South, covering the history of the area since the Civil War. Visitors can relive a civil rights era sit-in at a lunch counter or watch original television news broadcasts in the timeless and award-winning exhibit “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers.” Travel back in time at Historic Latta Plantation, a circa 1800 cotton plantation and living history farm.

Revel at the beautiful revitalized Victorian homes in the historic Fourth Ward neighborhood with a Fourth Ward Walking Tour map from the Visitor Info Center. See Charlotte’s roots and appreciate the growth of this trade town at your own pace, or hop on board with Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours for a horse-drawn ride.

Stay Uptown to continue your walk along a trail of history. The Liberty Walk connects Revolutionary War historical sites in Uptown with marked pavers and an app that allows walkers to watch video clips on mobile phones or tablets. Stop at 15 sites in less than a mile, starting with the Liberty Hall Monument erected in 1913 by the Daughters of the American Revolution and including Settler’s Cemetery in Fourth Ward and the Thomas Polk Homesite.

Celebrate the cultural achievements of Charlotteans with exhibits at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and Mint Museum Uptown, both part of the Levine Center for the Arts. Explore North Carolina’s long history with pottery making and revered collage artist Romare Bearden’s colorful works. View artists in residence at work in open studios creating the masterpieces of tomorrow at the McColl Center for Visual Art.

Day 2: Charlotte's Gold Rush

Start your day’s journey where the nation’s gold rush began in 1799 at Reed Gold Mine. Conrad Reed discovered a 17-pound nugget here, which he sold for $3.50 before realizing its true worth. Explore restored mine tunnels and pan for your own treasure.

Venture to Center City, where gold was discovered as late as the 1990s under the home of the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Today, the new Wells Fargo History Museum lets visitors try their hand at panning electronically and shows mining methods as well as ways to test its purity (gold found in Charlotte took on an orange tint due to the area’s indigenous clay.).

Almost all of the gold discovered between 1799 –1828 came from the region’s 80+ mines, helping Charlotte secure one of the first branches of the U.S. Mint. Years later, the Mint’s façade was reconstructed in the Myers Park neighborhood. Now known as the Mint Museum Randolph, exhibits display art of the ancient Americas, ceramics and decorative arts, fashion, European and African art.

Get to know Charlotte’s historical side and view how the gold rush helped shape the second largest financial center in the U.S. with a guided tour by Charlotte NC Tours. Explore the city’s many sides with themed tours highlighting spooky ghost stories, Southern food favorites and historic buildings and neighborhoods. Bike, walk, ride a Segway or take a van to unlock the Queen City’s secrets.