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Gold Mining Gallery

a picture plaque portraying a young girl“Welcome to Alaska and her golden history.”

From earliest recorded history, Alaska has been a land of natural  wealth,  be it her abundance of sea mammals & wildlife that fed and clothed her earliest residents, the Alaskan native, with such feasts as fish, shell fish, caribou, moose, whales, mammoths & bison, wolves and bear.

The Russian explorers of the early 1800’s found what they believed to be an unlimited supply of sea otter and fur seal in Alaska’s coastal water for their lucrative fur trade in Europe. 

As early as 1848 Alaska was giving up her golden riches from the Russian River on the Kenai Peninsula, and by the 1880’s, gold discoveries were being made all over the state. There had been several large strikes made before the Klondike discovery, most notably in the Forty Mile & Circle Mining Districts.  Everywhere you went, you found men eagerly digging and panning  the creeks and rivers for gold dust and nuggets.

spectaclesJust after the turn of the century, in 1902 the discovery of “black gold”, oil, was made near Katalla, Alaska and that field produced until 1933.  It was 1968 before the now famous Prudhoe Bay oil discovery was made and the 800 mile long trans-Alaska pipeline built.  In 1977 the first barrel of oil arrived in Valdez from Prudhoe Bay. Today more than one million barrels of oil travel the pipeline to Valdez,  the most northerly ice-free port in the Western Hemisphere.  Within the next five years, a gas line will be built from Prudhoe Bay to the lower-48 to harvest Alaska’s huge reserves of natural gas.

The pictures seen here have never been published, and we were unable to identify any of the men in the photo’s, but have identified the area’s they were taken in.  These are a small sample of the negative found, and depict the hardships of life in early day Alaska.

click thumbnails for more details
Historical Mining

The dreaded gallows

Gold dredge hard at work

Saturday evening haircuts

Thomas hard at work

Going down in the shaft

A quite moment

Writing home

Pulling paydirt up from below

Easy Listening

Christmas Dinner

Modern Day Mining


Gold pouchToday's mining practices are still very similar to the methods of the sourdoughs, except there are no longer any large dredges operating, here you will see the methods we employ at our two mining operations, which give you a fair idea of how it's done.  Any panning done today is for the week-end recreational panner, or for the miner checking to see that the cut paydirt is still following the pay streak. Below are pictures of a typical mining operation today.

A loader feeding the sluice Sluice box and part of crew at the mine in Circle Mining District
Click on thumbnails for more details
Riffles – loosening riffles in box at start of cleanup
Sam washing out the astro turf mats in cleanup tub Sam doing final cleanup using a long tom
an old trap
ten days of work - 357 ounces of gold

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Tok Alaska 99780


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