Alaska Gold Rush History & Genealogy

Kaltag is located on the west bank of the Yukon River, 75 miles west of Galena and 335 miles west of Fairbanks. It is situated on a 35-foot bluff at the base of the Nulato Hills. It lies at approximately 64° 20' N Latitude, 158° 43' W Longitude (Sec. 29, T013S, R001E, Kateel River Meridian). The community is located in the Nulato Recording District.

Kaltag is located in Koyukon Athabascan territory, and was used as a cemetery for surrounding villages. It was located on an old portage trail which led east through the mountains to Unalakleet. The Athabascans had spring, summer, fall, and winter camps, and moved as the wild game migrated. There were 12 summer fish camps located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk River and the Nowitna River. The village was named by Russians for the Yukon Indian named Kaltaga.

There was a minor gold rush in the area in the 1880s. In 1906, gold seekers left for Fairbanks or Nome.

1909 ~ While Kaltag is more than 500 miles by river from the delta of the Yukon it is not more than seventy five miles across country to Unalaklik on Norton Sound. Kaltag is where the winter trail leaves the Yukon River and goes direct across country to Norton Sound. It is also the place where the military telegraph line to St Michael leaves the river. As a trading post it has recently come into some prominence owing to the lact that it is the nearest Yukon River station to the Innoko gold region.

Galena lead mines began operating in 1919. Kaltag was downriver from the mines and grew as a point on the transportation route for the mines. It declined in the 1940s as mining declined.


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