Mints Across America
As a result of the Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. encompassed a much larger area than it had previously. As the country expanded, so did its need for currency! Did you know that during most of the 1800s and some of the 1900s the United States had a Mint facility in New Orleans, LA to help with the extra need for American coins? It's true! In fact, there were once Mint facilities all over the South and in other parts of our country as well.
Break your class into small groups and assign each group to a Mint Facility (these have been listed below). Have each group research what was going on in the U.S. when these facilities were opened. See if the students can find out why each facility was opened in its particular town. Are there any similarities in the reasons for opening these branches? What types of coins were produced at each site? If the particular branch no longer exists, have your students find why it was closed.
Current and Former United States Mint Facilities
- Philadelphia, PA (opened in 1792)
- San Francisco, CA (opened in 1854)
- Denver, CO (established as an Assay Office in 1863 — became a Mint in 1904)
- West Point, NY (established as silver bullion storage facility in 1937 — became a Mint in 1988)
- Fort Knox Bullion Depository (opened in 1937)
- Charlotte, NC (opened in 1838 — closed as a federal Mint in 1861)
- Dahlonega, GA (opened in 1838 — closed as a federal Mint in 1861)
- New Orleans, LA (opened in 1838 — closed in 1942)
- Carson City, NV (opened in 1870 — stopped coinage operations in 1893 — closed as an Assay office in 1933)
- Seattle, WA Assay Office (opened in July 15, 1898 — closed March 31, 1955)
- New York, NY Assay Office (began operations October 10, 1854 — closed December 30, 1982)
- Boise, ID Assay Office (first deposits received March of 1872 — closed June 30, 1933)
- Helena, MT Assay Office (began operations January 15, 1877 — closed June 30, 1933)
- St. Louis, MO Assay Office (opened July 1, 1881 — closed June 30, 1911)
- Deadwood, SD Assay Office (opened April 20, 1898 — closed June 30, 1927)
- Salt Lake City, UT Assay Office (opened February 1, 1909 — closed June 30, 1933)
The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education. These standards are listed below:
Social Studies Standards
Time, Continuity & Change: Through this activity, students will identify changes in the geography and culture of the United States. They will then relate these changes to the development of the United States Mint.
Power, Authority & Governance: Students will analyze the way in which the United States Mint has evolved to meet the needs of American citizens.