Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Mining

Mining

Hope Sunrise HS

Hope Sunrise Historical Society

Throughout much of the 19th century, the Kenai Peninsula was a quiet, sparcely settled area. This all changed in 1889 when Alexander King returned from the upper Cook Inlet region with four pokes of gold. The rush was on. The towns of Sunrise and Hope sprang up to service the mining industry.  At one point, Sunrise had the short lived distinction of being the largest city in the territory of Alaska. Though the rush was comparatively brief, it laid the ground for the economic development of the region.


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CANYON CREEK / THE FORKS

This is Now and That was Then:  Episode 9
Relevance: *

If your students are studying the mining of the Kenai, start with this episode. Matt first discusses the formation of gold within the Chugach terrane, then describes the glaciers’ role in grinding and dispersing the lode deposits into placer gold in streams. Then various techniques of extracting the ore are illustrated.

HOPE

This is Now and That was Then:  Episode 10 
Relevance: **

Much of this episode is set in the town of Hope during the gold rush at the turn of the century and beyond. We get a sense of how the gold town evolves economically in order to survive once the gold was played out.


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GOLD STRIKE!

Trails Across Time: Pgs 50-63
Relevance: ***

In the late 1800’s, Alexander King ventured up Cook Inlet and returned two years later with four pokes of gold. The Kenai Gold Rush was on! Although short, this rush had huge implications for the development of the Eastern Kenai.

FIELD TRIP NOTES

Trails Across Time:  Pgs 61-63
Relevance: ***

Taking a field trip? Eleven roadside sites of mining significance are located and described.


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HOPE CUTOFF

Explore the Corrdor: Site 4
Relevance: ***

The area around the Hope Cutoff was ground zero for placer mining operations in the region. The rest area has a plethera of informational panels pointing out the history specific to The Forks.

RESURRECTION CREEK

Explore the Corridor:  Site 6
Relevance: ***

This area was turned upside down by hydraulic giants in order to expose placer gold deposits under the glacial till.

COOPER CREEK

Explore the Corridor: Site 14
Relevance: ***
This hillside was washed and eroded by hydraulic ‘giants’ in order to expose placer gold deposits. Old bits of pipe and machinery can also be observed at this location.

GILPATRICK

Explore the Corridor:  Site 10
Relevance: ***

The mountains to the west are crisscrossed by straight ribbons of alders. This is what is left of roads leading up to the Gilpatrick and adjacent mining operations. The roads lead upward to where long tunnels (audits) were drilled into quartz veins to exploit the lode deposits of gold.


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TALES OF OLD SUNRISE

Entire Book
Relevance: ***

This autobiography by Albert Weldron Morgan provides a wonderful perspective of life in the Kenai Gold Rush of  the late 1800’s.  “Memories of Old Sunrise” chronicles one man’s experiences during the pivotal Kenai Gold Rush.  In his own words, Morgan tells of the triumphs, disappointments, and high adventures…and mind-numbing isolation in the Last Frontier”


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ALASKA’S HOPE AND SUNRISE MINING DISTRICT

EICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal
Relevance: ***

By the end of the 1800’s, Hope and Sunrise Mining District was a flurry of activity as prospectors flocked to the region to strike it rich. This site provides information specific to the Hope and Sunrise mining district.

GOLD PANNING ON THE KENAI PENINSULA

Alaska Outdoor Journal
Relevance: ***

So now you know all you could possibly know about how gold on the Kenai is formed and the cultural history behind the Rush.  Why not go do it yourself?  This site will tell you how and where to do it.


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KENAI DISTRICT MINING MAP

Relevance: ***

MAP:  This highly detailed 1910 map shows mining claims and geographic features.