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Italian immigrant Felix Pedro’s initial 1902 gold strike coincided with Captain E.T. Barnette’s building of a trading post on the banks of the Chena River, and the gold rush to Fairbanks was on. The town has grown over the last century, but Fairbanks still has operating gold mines and embraces its colorful gold rush roots. Today, visitor attractions and fun-filled events celebrate the historic quest for gold. See the largest public display of gold in the state at the university’s museum. Visit the Pedro Monument or try your hand at gold panning. Find that perfect gold nugget souvenir to take back home. Discover one of the many reasons Fairbanks is called the “Golden Heart City.”
The amazing trans-Alaska oil pipeline is an engineering feat of the highest order. The 800 mile (1,288 kilometers) pipeline crosses three mountain ranges and 34 major rivers through some of the most rugged and remote terrain on earth. Starting at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean, the pipeline runs below and above ground to Valdez, the northernmost, year-round ice-free port in America. The iconic pipeline is one of the longest in the world and was built to withstand earthquakes and permafrost as well as to allow caribou migration. Construction started in April of 1974 and the first oil flowed through the pipeline on June 20, 1977. The pipeline transformed Fairbanks and the state of Alaska in many ways, providing a large number of jobs and infusing Alaska’s government with a large amount of capital.
What do the Argo Limousine, the McFarlan Type 125 and the Heine-Velox Victoria automobile all have in common? They are all part of Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum’s incredible 85-plus vehicle collection showcasing the best of America’s automotive history prior to World War II. Several of Alaska's earliest cars are also on display, including Alaska’s first automobile built in 1905 by a man who had never seen a car
Most of the vehicles date to Fairbanks’ gold rush era and as a result, vintage clothing and other exhibitions have been paired up with the automobiles giving visitors a portal into the past. The Valdez-Fairbanks trail that was followed by gold seekers in 1902 as they headed to Fairbanks for the big gold strike is featured in a popular display. Dress up in vintage fashions, climb into an antique automobile and have your photo taken using your own camera in front of a replica of the original Sourdough Roadhouse that was once situated along the Valdez-Fairbanks gold rush trail
Over time, the Fairbanks mining district became Alaska’s largest producer of gold, earning it the title “America’s Klondike.” 15.4 million ounces of gold, or about one third of all the gold recovered in Alaska, were won from mineral deposits within 25 miles of Fairbanks. Beginning in the 1920s, the renowned USSR&M Company built a fleet of eight bucketline stacker dredges to mine the Fairbanks area. From 1928 to 1965, the USSR&M Company dredges produced 4.2 million ounces of gold, about equal to that won earlier by gold rush era miners. Large-scale mining development resumed with the startup of the Fort Knox mine in 1996, and through the end of 2016, more than 6 million ounces of gold has been produced there by mine operator Kinross Gold Corporation. Smaller-scale gold miners still mine gold in the area.
Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, was once a thriving gold mining town like so many others in Alaska. Central to the industry of the area was the Alaska Gastineau Mill and AJ Mine. Constructed in 1913, the mill was a revolutionary gold production plant that was the first to utilize new technologies in the mining industry. A visit here will enlighten you on the realities of the era and the type of gold mining that was prevalent at the time. Explore Juneau’s mining heritage on a unique tour of what was once the world’s largest gold producing mill
If you like historic Alaska, Most People Don’t Know About These Strange Ruins Hiding In Alaska. Also in Juneau, Here’s Why You’ll Want To Explore What’s Left Of What Was Once Alaska’s Largest Gold Mine
Along Gastineau Channel across from downtown Juneau, the resilient alder trees grow, a sign that the earth was disrupted here years ago. If you look more closely, you will see rubble, rusted over pieces, and the ruins of a world now crumbling in the forest. Treadwell Historic Trail runs along Gastineau Channel across from downtown Juneau and the ruins of this incredible historic mine tell a tale of industry, civilization, disaster and abandonment. It’s mind blowing to think that these bits of antique machinery were once part of the largest gold mine in the world! Visit the Treadwell Historic Trail to see the site of a giant of industry from Alaska’s past
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