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Near Moose Pass in Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska — The American West (Northwest)
Gold Discoveries Trigger Stampede
Prospectors found gold in 1895 under the present Canyon Creek Highway Bridge and on Mills Creek. Those discoveries launched a rush to Turnagain Arm more than a year before the Klondike Gold Rush.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 28, 2010
1. Gold Discoveries Trigger Stampede Marker
[Photo captions proceeding counter-clockwise from the top left]
W.R. Alexander, Harry T. Alexander and friends, Canyon Creek, 1896, Martha Black Collection, Hope and Sunrise Historical Society; F.R. Mott, photo #196, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver; Miners on Alder Creek, a tributary of Sixmile Creek, 1896; The Frost Claim at the confluence of Canyon and Mills creeks, 1897.
Prospectors Poke Around
After gold was discovered near Hope in 1890, prospectors organized the Turnagain Arm Mining District. The number of gold seekers grew to 300 by 1895. Some searched along Sixmile Creek, and its tributaries. Sanford J. Mills and Benedict C.[bullet hole] found gold and filed claims here at the mouth of Canyon Creek. John Renne [bullet hole] Robert Michaelson did the same upstream at the mouth of Mills Creek.
Exaggerations Set Off Stampede
The Mills/Pilcher and Renner/Michaleson claims yielded good returns. Miners spending the winter in the States exaggerated the richness of the claims. Newspaper accounts of the discoveries, enhanced by the minerís stories, set off a stampede to Turnagain Arm in 1896. More than 3,000 gold seekers poured into the area. About half mined on Sixmile Creek and its tributaries, with 327 of them on Canyon Creek. Claim jumping was a problem. Miners settled most disputes in meetings, and only one miner was shot over a disputed claim.
Riches of Canyon Creek
Canyon Creek produced more gold during these early years than any other creek in the Turnagain Arm area. The claims that triggered the stampede ended up being the richest.
Erected by Alaska Gold Rush Centennial.
Location. 60° 46.794′ N, 149° 25.72′ W. Marker is near Moose Pass, Alaska, in Kenai Peninsula Borough. Marker is on Seward Highway (Alaska Route 1 at milepost 56.6). Touch for map. This marker is located 56.6 miles from Seward near the Canyon Creek Bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Moose Pass AK 99631, United States of America.
Categories. • Natural Resources • Science & Medicine •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 17, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 727 times since then and 85 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on November 17, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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