On a drive to my cousin Daphne’s house in Gold Ridge, Alabama, a question popped into my mind. “I wonder why it’s called Gold Ridge?” Born and raised in Cullman County, I’d never heard of anyone panning for gold. I reasoned with myself that it was more than likely named for a ridge of poplar trees. Anyone in the South can attest to how leaves of poplar trees glow like gold during the height of Autumn.
A few days later as I drove through the tiny town of Baileyton, a street sign caught my attention. Though I had driven by it daily I had never really thought about its name “Pan Creek Road” Okay…..now my curiosity is peaked. When I got home I started searching on-line. In deed gold has been found in numerous places in Alabama! It was stated that Alabama is one of the better gold producing states east of the Mississippi! Actually mentioning the “Southern Gold Belt” that enters the state from central Georgia. It’s about 60 miles wide and 100 miles long. In case you aren’t familiar with the geography of Alabama. Cullman is in north Alabama and quite a ways from this gold belt but it does increase the probability that gold could have been found locally sometime.
In a conversation with my friend Suzy and her husband Butch, I shared my astonishment of never knowing about Alabama’s history of gold. Then Butch said “Heck, you ain’t never heard about ole’ Colonel Cullman and that Indian chief with the cave filled with gold?” With my eyes sparkling like nuggets I listened to an incredible story!!
Stay tuned for my next blog “Gold in them there hills, of Alabama? part 2”