U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Four of Fort Egbert's remaining five buildings can be seen in this view from nearby Eagle Bluff.
In 1899 the Fortymile region and upper Yukon valley were awash with gold miners and settlers lured in by the Klondike Gold Rush. Reports of lawlessness among the newcomers eventually reached Washington D.C. through the tortuously slow communications available at the time. The Army's response, the establishment of Fort Egbert on the Yukon River a few miles from Canada, was to bring profound changes to the region and reshape Alaska's ties to the rest of the nation. Although the fort was largely abandoned in 1911, an Army Signal Corps contingent remained there to operate a telegraph and wireless station until 1925. Today the BLM, in cooperation with the local Eagle Historical Society and Museums, manages five restored structures at Fort Egbert, which is part of the Eagle Historic District National Historic Landmark. Exhibits, an interpretive trail, and a campground are available for visitors.
Company L, 7th Infantry, musters in front of its barracks at Fort Egbert in March 1900. The soldiers, which had arrived the previous year, worked hard to construct the barracks and officers' quarters before the onset of winter. Fort Egbert's soldiers faced extreme cold, subarctic darkness, loneliness, and limited supplies at their isolated post. The barracks no longer exist. Photo courtesy of Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.