The Klondike Goldrush
June 27, 2006 7:16 AM   Subscribe

The Klondike Gold Rush, the last great gold rush of the 19th century.
On August 16, 1896 huge quantities of gold was found in the remote Yukon region of Canada. Word spread slowly, until eleven months later, the steamship Portland arrived in Seattle from Dawson with "more than a ton of gold". Within six months, approximately 100,000 gold-seekers set off on the perilous journey north to the Yukon. Only 30,000 completed the trip.
Resources: Eric A. Hegg's photograph's of the gold rush, stories from the gold rush, women of the gold rush, Klondike Gold Rush Historical Database, info and teaching resources (warning: annoying frames), links, Librarians' Internet Index.
posted by MetaMonkey (11 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Spectacular post! Thanks.
posted by LarryC at 7:47 AM on June 27, 2006

Thanks for an interesting post. Reading the story seems like something so distant in the past and foreign to me that I struggle to accept it as non-fiction. But then the pictures brought it home, and I can picture the people and realize how not all that foreign these people were. Heck, I've posed for this picture myself and it looked quite similar. Same with the bar photo.

Thanks for the post. Thanks doubly for the post for ending the steady stream of utter crap in the last ten or so posts.
posted by dios at 7:50 AM on June 27, 2006

Ah the memories! I worked a summer as a tour guide in Skagway, Alaska. The Klondike Gold Rush is a pretty insane chapter in American/Canadian history. Of course, Soapy Smith is my favorite Gold Rush Gangster. That guy never ran out of ways to scam someone. Well, that is until the infamous gunfight down by the dock.
posted by witchstone at 8:21 AM on June 27, 2006

William Speidel's book "Sons of the Profits" says that the "Ton of Gold" actually landed in San Francisco, and that the publicity saying that it landed in Seattle was a marketing scam put on by the city of Seattle to draw people there to provision for the Klondike.
posted by teatree at 8:27 AM on June 27, 2006

Actually, there were 2 ships: the Excelsior went to San Francisco and the Portland went to Seattle. From this link:

But the world didn’t know what was happening in the Yukon until July 14, 1897 when the steamship Excelsior landed in San Francisco. On board was more than half a million dollars worth of Klondike gold. News of the great discovery travelled over the wires like wildfire. When the steamer Portland landed in Seattle three days later, a crowd of 5,000 greeted the 68 miners on board. Over a million dollars worth of gold was carried down the gangplank in a battered assortment of suitcases and rope-tied bags.

At least that's what I was taught when I was in Skagway.
posted by witchstone at 8:49 AM on June 27, 2006

What a fantastic post.
posted by dazed_one at 9:54 AM on June 27, 2006

I actually do some work for the Klondike Goldrush museum here in Seattle (all the streaming video on their website? That's me). If you're in the area, you should DEFINATELY go and visit the museum. It's way interesting, and the multimedia presentations in the new building are from the 60s-70s, and have just been digitally restored (also me), so it's got some retro-kitch going on.

TRIVIA: Did you know the Klondike Goldrush museum is the only indoor national park? It is!

Go visit. Ask for Ranger Sean O'Marra, tell them Matt the Video Guy sent you. :)
posted by mattoly at 10:26 AM on June 27, 2006

As the person who inherited the administration of the State Library's Goldrush pages, I will agree that the frames are a huge bitch. YUCK! Trying to get a bunch of historical librarians to change something is like trying to slog through waste deep honey. Needless to say, those frames aren't going away any time soon. A few more places to go from the Alaska State Library Historical Collections. The digital archives is rockin' cool in my opinion. Far more Alaskan pictures than just goldrush. Also, how to find your goldrush relative!
posted by Foam Pants at 10:56 AM on June 27, 2006

Great post, thanks.
posted by freebird at 11:28 AM on June 27, 2006

Holy cats! So many terrific links! Thank you!
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:13 PM on June 27, 2006

If you like Historical Fiction, then this may be the best book about the Klondike Goldrush out there.
posted by UseyurBrain at 7:39 PM on June 27, 2006

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