Alaska Gold Rush History and Genealogy




The Anchorage district is bounded on the south by Turnagain Arm, on the west and north by Knik Arm, and on the east by the divide between Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound.

Most of the placer mining in the district was on Crow Creek (4) near Girdwood. The creek, about 5 miles long, is fed by a glacier and drains an area where several gold-bearing lodes were explored and mined on a small scale. Bedrock is mainly interbedded slate and graywacke cut by numerous granitic dikes and sills. Crow Creek had a complex glacial and erosional history that involved the interaction of ice tongues that came down Crow Creek and Glacier Creek, the larger stream into which it flows. Any existing preglacial placers were destroyed and the material in them was scattered. Mining operations uncovered several old gravel-filled channels in the lower part of the creek. The gold was largely reconcentrated from glacial deposits; some may have been directly derived from lode sources uncovered after the ice fronts had retreated nearly as far as their present positions. Both coarse and fine gold and small amounts of native silver and copper are constituents of several pay streaks, the richest of which was at the base of the gravels and in the shattered top 2 feet of bedrock. Most mining was by hydraulic methods whereby all gravels excavated were run through a long string of sluice boxes. In the early 1900’s an attempt was made to mine a gravel-filled basin behind the terminal moraine of a glacier that had come down a small tributary valley and temporarily dammed Crow Creek (3). California and Winner Creeks (4), also tributary to Glacier Creek was mined with indifferent results.


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