Locate It: Villa Rica

Discover Gold in Villa Rica, Georgia

Villa Rica is home to the first gold strike in Georgia (1820s) as well as being the birthplace of Asa Candler, Coca-Cola legend; Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father of Gospel Music”; and Edna Teal, missionary to China 1910-1943. Experience the feel of an old mercantile, or stroll along the city’s raised sidewalks dotted with crepe myrtles.

Villa Rica is home to the first gold strike in Georgia (1820s) as well as being the birthplace of Asa Candler, Coca-Cola legend; Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father of Gospel Music”; and Edna Teal, missionary to China 1910-1943. Experience the feel of an old mercantile, or stroll along the city’s raised sidewalks dotted with crepe myrtles.

Visit the Pine Mountain Gold Museum in Stockmar Park where you can walk in the footsteps of miners, pan for gold and gems, enjoy the museum, and ride the train. The C.P. Huntington engine #310, an extremely rare tender car, fronts the rail line that travels around the base of Pine Mountain and goes directly through the heart of the ruins of a huge gold mining station. The train allows visitors to see other exhibits at Pine Mountain, including the Stockmar homestead ruins, T-Block factory and live animal exhibit. Stockmar Park also has 3 miles of walking trails.

In its heyday, there were as many as 19 commercial gold mining operations in and around Villa Rica. Of the original 19, only the Pine Mountain Gold Mine was commercially mined seriously after 1900. Today, the Gold Museum is the only gold museum located on an actual gold mine with gold and gem panning on-site. The museum houses many exhibits of artifacts used to mine gold as well as regional artifacts, some of which date back to 12,000 B.C.

Villa Rica has many wonderful greenspace and recreational resources. For relaxation and recreation, visit Villa Rica’s Gold Dust Park which offers both active and passive recreational opportunities for adults and children including baseball fields, walking trails and tennis. The award-winning Villa Rica

Parks & Recreation Department’s Administrative offices, Leisure Programs, and Athletic and Senior Divisions are housed at Gold Dust. With a full range of team sports for kids, gymnastics, karate, aerobics, tennis, children’s playground, summer day camp, teen dances, concerts, senior activities, and a variety of special events, the Villa Rica Parks & Recreation Department provides leisure activities for many different interests.

Also in Villa Rica, the Lamar Moody Recreation Center is a 130-acre park that includes an 8-acre lake and one small pond that is stocked periodically by the City of Villa Rica. The park is open daylight until dark every day and admission is free. Boats are permitted with electric motors only and a fishing license is required, according to state regulations.

For community events and recreation, the “city of gold” is equipped with the Villa Rica Civic Center and Sports Complex, known as the V-Plex, which includes nine lighted softball and baseball fields.

Villa Rica is home to Clinton Nature Preserve, 200 acres of recreational land that includes a nature trail, mountain biking trails, camp areas, and a walking track that encircles an ADA-accessible playground.

Those who like to camp will appreciate Sweetwater Valley Park, a locally owned and operated, quiet, family-oriented park. Sweetwater Valley has 36 shaded sites nestled under a canopy of 100-year-old oaks and sycamores along Sweetwater Creek. Tent and RV sites with hookups are available. Campground activities include walking trails, gem mining in the on-site sluice, playground, and equipment for such sports as tetherball, horseshoes, badminton, volleyball, and ladder golf.

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