Gold Fever: The Klondike Gold Rush

2119 words - 8 pages

In today’s world, gold is viewed as something that a person would put on their fingers, in their ears, or around their necks to show wealth. In the late 1800s, gold was used a lot differently than how it is today. Symptoms of gold fever were making their way around the United States at an extremely rapid pace. Everyone wanted to jump on the chance at possibly making more money than they would ever need on finding gold. These men and women would literally go to the extremes just to sink their picks and shovels into gold rich ground. Everyone who wanted to jump on the chance at becoming rich had to bear treacherous trails to arrive at Dawson, a city in the Klondike where miners thought they could finally pull some gold from the ground.

On a midsummer day in 1896, a man named Robert Henderson tested gravel at a remote creek that had no name (Cooper 1). Expecting to see nothing, he grew excited when he looked in his pan and found a few flakes of gold (1). While digging for gold, Henderson was confronted by three moose hunters named George, Jim, and Charlie and told them about his discovery (McGill). These three hunters showed no interest in finding gold until they found a thumb-sized nugget and found gravel worth four dollars a pan in Rabbit Creek (Klondike Kraze). George Carmack had his brothers watch the land while he went and staked four 500 feet claims for him and his brothers (Blackwood).

Carmack hurried to Fortymile and showed off his finding of gold to people in a saloon that triggered people to start staking claims (Cooper 4). Carmack could have kept the discovery to himself but it was the code of the land to tell others when a person discovered gold (Klondike Kraze). People still did not believe him until July of 1897 when 68 miners got off of a boat with over two tons of gold (Blackwood). According to The Klondike Gold Rush Rabbit Creek was later named Bonanza Creek meaning “source of wealth” (Klondike Gold Rush). When word reached Circle City, Alaska, people did not believe the rumors but curiosity got the best of them and they packed their supplies and started their trek to the Klondike (Cooper 5).

On July 26, 1897, a steamboat dropped the first wave of miners off at Skagway and the Dyea Inlet which were both about 600 miles south of Dawson (19). This is where the miners began their adventure to the Klondike and it did not take long for these two towns to become bustling gold rush towns (Klondike Kraze). With all the people in these towns it did not take long for Skagway to be dubbed as one of the toughest places to live due to high crime levels and no police force. (McGill). From here, miners could either take the Chilkoot Trail or the White Pass trail which began in Skagway (Klondike Gold Rush).

Most Klondikers travel the White Pass Trail because it was less steep than the Chilkoot Pass (United States. National Park Service). White Pass Trail was a 45 mile long trail that wound through forests, bogs, up steep hills, and...

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