The Gold Rush in Alaska
Gold was noted on the Kenai River in 1848, the same year as the California strike, by Russian engineer Petr Doroshin. After the California boom, many prospectors drifted north – in 1858 to the Fraser River, and in 1861 to the Sitkine, bordering Alaska. The first Alaskan rush was in 1880, to the site of Juneau. The big Treadwell mine across the channel became the largest producer in Alaska. Gold was soon found in Cook Inlet and in the interior. George Carmack’s discovery on Bonanza Creek in 1896 touched off the stampede to the Klondike. By 1898, 20,000 people had come, by steamer to Skagway and over the Chilkoot or White Pass , or up the Yukon from St. Michael to Dawson. Another wild rush that year created the town of Nome, where prospectors set up sluice boxes on the beach. In 1902, yet another surge created Fairbanks. Smaller rushes followed, to Willow Creek, Kantishna, Chandalar and Ruby; but most gold seekers left Alaska poorer than when they arrived. A few miners remained, working mainly for wages.