Home to America's first $1 gold coin

In 1831, Christopher Bechtler minted America's first $1 gold coin, almost 17 years before the U.S. Mint made one of their own.

Imagine Rutherford County in the 1830s - dirt roads, horse-drawn carriages, a community on the brink of an economic boom. The Bechtler Family moved to North Carolina right when gold fever was hitting the state. Local miners and businessmen appealed to the U.S. government to establish a mint to meet the needs of the burgeoning gold industry. Congress ignored the request. Christopher Bechtler did not. During the 1830s Bechtler minted more than $2.24 million dollars in gold coins, stimulating commerce in the Southeast and leaving a permanent legacy to both Rutherford County and American history.

Bechtler Today

A plan to preserve and promote the Bechtler Heritage began over two years ago and reached a significant milestone in 2015 with the purchase of the original 1837 Bechtler House as a heritage center. Today, the Bechtler House is open to the public and showcases period artifacts and exhibits that transport visitors back to the 1830s and tell the Bechtler Story. The house also serves as the headquarters of the NC Gold Trail, which connects over 27 counties with historical significance from the NC gold rush.


Take a walk, preserve a legacy

What is the Gold Mile?

The Gold Mile is a 1-mile loop around downtown Rutherfordton that leads to the Bechtler House. Travelers can experience an easy stroll past historic homes and buildings, downtown galleries and boutiques, and other points of interest along the way. The developing sidewalk trail is minted with commemorative gold coin replicas of Bechtler's $1 gold coin. The coins are made by a local artist and donated by people passionate about Rutherfordton and preserving the Bechtler Legacy.

Leave your mark on the Gold Mile

You too can help preserve this important part of North Carolina history by purchasing your own coin through a donation to the Bechtler Fund. Each coin can be customized with a dedication message. Coins are included with donations of $200 or more. You can download a form by clicking here.

Visit the Bechtler House and Mint Site

While in town don't forget to visit the Bechtler House located at 130 W. 6th Street in Rutherfordton and the Bechtler Mint Historic Park just three miles north of the Bechtler House where you can walk on the "Hidden Floor of Gold" and peak into the old mine.