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Atlanta road trip: Visit a Georgia ghost town

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Auraria was the first gold-mining town built in Georgia. Located in the North Georgia Mountains, it is not far from Dahlonega, which was the second mining town built.

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From 1828 until 1832, Auraria was the county seat, before that moved to Dahlonega. Auraria had over 1,000 citizens, 20 saloons and 5 hotels and its own newspaper. But by the 1840's the main gold rush was over and mining started to decline. The miners moved on to California and Colorodo (Auraria, Colorado, was named for Auraria, Georgia.) While Dahlonega turned into a tourist center over time, Auraria did not and most of the old buildings are long gone. However, you can still see the old general store, which is closed and privately owned. The old hotel stood until fairly recently when it collapsed into a pile of rubble. You can see the chimney from the general store and the rubble from the road but the owner does not want people to wander around there and he only allows photos of the store from the road. Please respect his wishes.

Aside from the general store and the ruins of the old post office, which I would not have recognized if not for the information provided by the lady who owns it, who runs a second-hand store across the road and a short distance from the general store, the thing that makes Auraria worth a visit is the cemetery. It is still in use but is loosely divided into older and newer graves, although some newer graves are in the older section. I love graveyards and this one provided some interesting stones and epitaphs and even some that made me cry (they were for children mostly and it is that sort of place.) Please enjoy the slideshow to get an idea of what you might see.

If you like graveyards and old buildings as much as I do, Auraria is worth the less than two hours from Atlanta to get there. Follow the directions on the website at ghosttowns.com and you will find it fairly easily. You can also see what the hotel looked like before it fell down on the site.

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