was the Gold Rush?
was the Gold Rush?
have been many gold rushes in the history of the United States. The
two most famous are the 1849 in California and the Klondike Stampede in
the the late 1890s in Alaska and the Yukon Territory of Canada.
gold rush that affected Valdez and the Prince William Sound Region was
the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. It began when the ships Excelsior
and Portland reached their "lower 48" ports in July 1897, laden
with gold. The stories spread like wildfire and people rushed to
find riches beyond imagination. An All American route to the gold
fields was desired. Valdez and a route over the Valdez Glacier were
marketed by steamship companies as the "All American" route to the Klondike.
Thus began Valdez's history as a transportation hub for interior Alaska.
for many, by the time they reached the Klondike all the claims had been
staked and they were forced to look elsewhere. Others decided not
to attempt the arduous journey from the coast to the Interior and elected
to find their fortunes closer to their ports of entry. This is the
way many of the gold and copper mines in the Prince William Sound Region
a miner landed in Valdez, they had to pack their 1500 pounds of gear to
the foot of Valdez Glacier to begin their ascent. The Glacier rose
approximately 4,800 feet and it was a twenty mile hike to the top.
Miners were victims of storms, avalanches, crevasses; all which claimed
some of the intrepid souls. Provisions had to be packed up
the Glacier in stages. The miners had arrived in Valdez only to find
their trips had only really just begun. Some chose not to go further
and either stayed in the Prince William Sound Region or returned home.
stories of these pioneering men and women provide a rich context in which
to understand that period of American history and the beginnings of the
discovery of Alaska's natural resources. We welcome you to visit
our web site and explore some of this history and also to visit Prince
William Sound and the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive to learn more
about the people, places and events that make Alaska and Valdez unique!