Alaska Gold Rushes

There were at least 5 important gold rushes involving the State of Alaska between 1861 and now. The 4th or Klondike Gold Rush was the largest.

The first Gold Rush was on the Stikine River and began in 1861. The Stikine River Gold Rush created the town of Wrangell, but not that much gold was found. It was a minor but important gold discovery. Many prospectors arrived but many of them never made it past this river’s mouth even though steamboats plied this river looking for gold.

The 2nd major rush was the Cassiar in 1871 exactly 10 years after the Stikine gold find. Cassiar is now a ghost town, but only one significant 72 ounce gold nugget was found during this gold rush.

In 1880 2 prospectors guided by a Tlingit Chieftan named Kowee found gold at a place appropriately called Gold Creek near what is now the city of Juneau. The town was built during the subsequent gold rush and over time 150 million dollars of low level gold worth 7 billion dollars was produced in the area. Many placer mines were established, and between 1830 and 1840 Juneau was the scene of the largest low grade gold mine in the world. This mine closed in 1944 after many came to Juneau to strike it rich. World War II and inflation closed the mine that Richard Harris and Joe Juneau established.

The Klondike Gold Rush was the most successful. Gold was discovered in the Canadian Klondike in 1896, and 100,000 miners were eventually lured north. Reportedly, 30,000 prospectors made it to the Klondike, but only 20,000 of them became actual miners. The city of Seattle, WA, a major supplier, doubled in size before the gold fever abated by 1899. Only early gold seeking arrivals made money. The Stikine River was only one of the many routes to the Klondike Gold Field.

The final gold rush involved the town of Nome. Many of the prospectors who made it to the Klondike went to Nome where between 1899 and 1909 gold was found lying on the beach there. No claim was necessary to collect it. This gold rush actually continues.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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