Construction on a park highlighting Sugar Hill’s gold mining history is set to begin this month.
Clearing and grading for the parking lot area for Gold Mine Park is the first step in bringing this project to fruition. The city purchased the property for the park in 2016.
The 9.2-acre park will be located along Level Creek Road and will serve as a trail head, a designated public access point, for the Sugar Hill Greenway, an 11.5-mile greenway around the city that will boast approximately 16 miles of trails.
The trail will highlight the city’s gold mining history, as many of the initial settlers in the area were likely gold miners.
“Gold mines are a surprising and unfamiliar part of Sugar Hill’s history,” said Sugar Hill City Council member Brandon Hembree. “In fact, many believe the name of our city could be related to gold versus the common tale of an overturned wagon spilling sugar on a hill. Pulverized quartz, in the areas where this type of gold mining took place, looks like sugar crystals. The connection could be coincidental or both stories could contain an element of truth.”
Hembree said gold was mined in the area as early as 1830 and several mines operated along what is now Level Creek Road until the early and mid-1900s.
“We want to tell the story and talk about how (gold mining) precipitated development and the relocation of folks to this area,” said Troy Besseche, assistant city manager for the city of Sugar Hill.
Besseche said most of the city’s focus will be on developing an overlook to a horizontal access shaft to an old portion of one of the last known mines in existence in Sugar Hill, which is about 8 or 10 feet below grade in a small ravine.
“We would provide some visual perspective by locating a platform to look down into the entrance,” Besseche said.
“The mine in Gold Mine Park is about 50 yards long, with a cathedral-like entrance,” Hembree added. “Chisel marks are visible along the quartz walls and ceiling. Bats, cave crickets, and blue spotted salamanders are common in the damp environment.
“Gold Mine Park will help the Sugar Hill community honor our unique gold mining past,” Hembree added.