Twenty years before the 1849 gold rush to California, thousands of gold seekers flocked into the Cherokee Territory of northeast Georgia, beginning the nation's first major gold rush.
According to an interview conducted by the Atlanta Constitution in 1894, Benjamin Parks first discovered gold in the Lumpkin County area while deer hunting in 1828.The courthouse building was built using locally made brick which includes trace amounts of gold. The building served as the seat of Lumpkin county government from 1836 to 1965. it is the oldest existing courthouse in Georgia of 132 historic courthouses.
The building was restored by the state of Georgia as a State Historic Site and adapted for use as the Gold Museum and is one of the most visited Historic Sites in the state.The Dahlonega Courthouse Gold Museum offers visitors a look at the mining history of Georgia. A 23-minute film describes the mining techniques and lifestyles of the prospectors through interviews with members of long time mining families of the area.