The home of the man who minted America’s first gold dollar coin is open to the public as part of the celebration of the founding of Rutherfordton, N.C., 225 years ago.
The former home of Christopher Bechtler Sr. is serving as a visitor’s center and museum in honor of the town’s year-long celebration.
Bechtler’s private mint was in operation from 1831 to 1852 and produced more than $2.25 million in gold coinage from gold found in North Carolina. Coins were produced in $1, $2.50 and $5 denominations of various weights and sizes. German-born metallurgist Bechtler struck and issued the coins with the assistance of his son, August, and nephew, Christopher.
The Bechtler family continued to issue their private gold coins even after the United States Mint opened Branch Mints in Charlotte, N.C., and Dahlonega, Ga., in 1838. Those facilities struck U.S. gold coins from the locally mined gold. Both Branch Mints operated until 1861, when they were taken over by the Confederate States of America, operated briefly under that government and then closed.
The Bechtler House Museum & Visitor’s Information Network Center is open from 3 to 7 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
The Bechtler House is located at 130 W. Sixth St. in Rutherfordton, N.C.
For more information, contact Jackie Wallace, Rutherford County Tourism, at 828-287-6113 or email her at email@example.com, or visit the town’s website at www.rutherfordtown.com. ■