Prince William Sound, & Copper River Gold Rush Timeline
Busby and others make first mining claim in Prince William Sound area on
Middleton Island and form Prince William Sound Mining District.
prospecting activity by cannery personnel from Orca, prospectors from Hope
area on Cook Inlet and businessmen from Juneau and Sitka leads to first
claims in areas that would later be important: A. K. Beatson files copper
claims for Latouche Island; M. O. Gladhaugh and others file
for copper and gold deposits at Virgin Bay [Ellamar] area; Nels Jacobsen
and Louis Thorstensen file claims at Landlocked Bay; and first claims made
in Solomon Gulch, Port Valdez.
Gold Rush begins:
Excelsior arrives in San Francisco with $400,000 in gold from the Klondike.
On July 18th, the Portland docks in Seattle with $700,000 in Klondike gold.
Newspapers spread the word rapidly across the country. The gold rush
most stampeders would go to the Canadian Klondike, about 3,500-4,000 listened
to the newspaper reports of even greater amounts of gold waiting to be
discovered in Alaska's Copper River area and chose to pursue the Valdez
Glacier trail to the Copper River gold fields.
Swan, "The Father of Valdez," arrives in at the head of Port Valdez with
Tanner is lynched for shooting members of his party who planned to cast
him out. The Valdez Trail becomes known as a "law and order" trail.
first party crosses Valdez Glacier and establishes this as the route to
the Copper River area.
to May 1898
to 4,000 gold rushers stampede across Valdez Glacier to the Copper River
Bourke arrives in Valdez.
citizens, opposed to a few people trying to make a profit off of townsites,
meet to organize a Valdez Townsite and elect Trustees. Townsite lots made
available to anyone able to pay $2 and willing to build on the lot.
major snow storm dumps 8 feet of snow on the gold rushers ascending Valdez
Glacier causing numerous avalanches which account for at least 5 deaths.
Brookfield and U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey geologist Frank Schrader
make the first survey of the Valdez Glacier route.
Brookfield and party cross the mountains and make the first raft trip through
Abercrombie employing horses leads a military expedition across Valdez
Glacier and into the Copper River Valley.
to Oct. 1898
Heiden's party finds the All-American glacier-free route to interior found
and clears the first trail through Keystone Canyon. Thompson Pass
is identified as a route to the interior.
Cashman, "King of the Mountain Guides," and two companions become the first
to go from Valdez to Copper Center via Keystone Canyon, Thompson Pass,
Quartz Creek, and the Klutina River Route.
to April 1898
strikes prospectors in the Copper River area and along the trail.
Babcock and crew complete a 5 foot trail through Keystone Canyon; first
parties of prospectors and government officials use the trail.
and prospectors complete trail from Valdez to Thompson Pass and Worthington
Logan party of fleeing the Copper River scurvy "epidemic" back across Valdez
Glacier perish in a storm.
gold placer claims are made at Chisna, Miller Gulch, and Slate Creek area.
Chief Nicolai's copper deposits are located in the McCarthy area.
completes All-American trail to Camp. No. 3 (Tsaina Lodge Area).
claims are made in the Chisna, Miller Gulch, Slate Creek Area. Clarence
Warner and "Arizona Jack" Smith find the Bonanza Copper Mine also in the
Chamber of Commerce incorporated.
votes to become an incorporated city and elects its first city council.
discovered in the Fairbanks area.
relocates Red Ellis' copper/gold deposit at the head of Solomon Gulch starting
a minor gold and copper rush in the Port Valdez area.
major transportation and supply center for Fairbanks gold rush and development.
Port Valdez area center of considerable prospecting and mining claims.
Valdez becomes an enterprizing Gold Rush port town similar to th Skagway
Ellis discovers the gold vein for the Cliff Mine on the north side of Port
1912, over 120 gold claims had been staked in the immediate vicinity of
Valdez and 42 more claims between Valdez and Columbia Glacier. Two
of the Sound's productive copper claims, the Midas Mine in Solomon Gulch
and the Ellamar Mine on Tatitlek Narrows, were undergoing
stamp mills were in operation in the Valdez area employing from 250 to
300 people. Sixteen claims were active in the Mineral Creek Area.
continues as an important transportation and outfitting center for prospectors
and miners in Prince William Sound, Valdez area, and the interior until
World War I halts prospecting and mining development.