U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Alaska
 
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Alaska Gold Rush

You can relive some of the excitement of the Alaska gold rush era by visiting locations where history was made. From the southeast panhandle to the far north, BLM manages a variety of gold rush sites—places with lively names such as Coldfoot, Dalton Cache, and Iditarod.

Fort Egbert, a National Historic Landmark, is a former United States Army post established in 1899 to bring law and order to the region being overrun by miners heading for, and spreading out from, the Klondike Gold Rush in nearby Canada. After abandonment in 1911, an Army Signal Corps contingent remained to operate a telegraph and wireless station until about 1925. Presently, the BLM manages 5 standing restored structures in cooperation with the local Eagle Historical Society. Exhibits and an interpretive trail on the fort grounds are accessible to visitors.

 

 

The Davidson Ditch was constructed during 1925-28 to transport much-needed additional water into the Fox mining district north of Fairbanks for gold mining purposes. It is the longest, most elaborate water transportation system built in the region. It represented a new phase in the evolution of gold mining in the area beginning in the early 1900s. Portions of the ditch, including siphons (elevated pipes), can be seen in the Chatanika Valley along the Steese Highway, including at U.S. Creek (Milepost 57.3) and near the BLM Campground at Cripple Creek (Milepost 60).

 

 

The 1909 gold discovery led to the flourishing, but now abandoned, town of Iditarod and a mail trail between Seward and Nome. Today, portions of the Iditarod Trail are used during Alaska's annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Along the trail are a variety of historic and prehistoric remains including cabins, roadhouses, and other structures and sites. Ownership of the trail is mixed, with BLM's management including some of the more remote regions with limited public access.

The Dalton Cache is a pre-Klondike Gold Rush outpost built around 1895 by Jack Dalton for storing trading goods before transport over Chilkat Pass into the Yukon Territory. When the Klondike Gold Rush hit in 1897-98, the cache became a stopping place for miners streaming toward Dawson. Though partially restored, it is not open to the public today. It is marked by an interpretive sign.

 

 

Coldfoot is the unique name of one of Alaska's northernmost gold mining camps established about 1899 on the east bank of the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River. It was deserted in 1912 when miners rushed northward to a strike at nearby Wiseman. Today, a mixture of standing and collapsed structures can be seen from a dirt road off the highway, as well as a small cemetery. The Interpretive Center, open daily during the summer, includes photographs of historic Coldfoot and adjacent areas with evening talks given by BLM volunteers.


Gold Rush Timeline

1861
With a gold discovery at Telegraph Creek near the former Russian settlement of Wrangell, gold seekers turned new attention to Alaska's mineral wealth. These first photos dating to 1868, show some of the community's Tlingit population.

1880
Major gold strikes on Gold Creek near Juneau led to the establishment of Alaska's capital city, and inspired more mineral exploration in the North.

1886
Gold found in the Fortymile River by Howard Franklin caused the first rush to interior Alaska, setting the stage for further strikes throughout the region.

1893
Gold discoveries near Rampart and Circle focused new attention on the Yukon River drainage as a place to prospect.

1896 ~ 1898
The enormous Klondike strike in nearby Canada on Bonaza Creek, a tributary of the Yukon River, drew thousands of new prospectprs tp Alaska.

1898 ~ 1899
Gold discoveries at Nome by the "Three Lucky Swedes" caused another massive rush north with prospectors continuing to search all parts of Alaska for gold. In 1899 more gold was discovered on the beaches of Nome.

Gold discoveries in the Koyukuk drainage brought prospectors to the foothills of the Brooks Range, the northern-most extent of Alaska's gold rushes. Small strikes led to short-lived mining camps at Beaver City, Dillman Creek, Coldfoot, and elsewhere.

1902
Italian immigrant, Felix Pedro, discovered gold on Pedro Creek, and Fairbanks was founded. Enormous amounts of gold are still being mine there today.

1903
Discoveries at Valdez Creek, near the current Denali Highway, set off a small stampede to a district by the late 1980s and early 1990s contained the largest gold placer mine in North America, before closing in 1995.

1909
Gold discoveries at Iditarod and Flat set off another rush, sometimes called "The Last Great Rush," although small strikes continue to this day.


 
Last updated: 05-16-2012