Alaska Gold Rush History & Genealogy

Named by miners after the wealthy land of Ophir mentioned in the Old Testament. The area was the site of a gold rush in 1906. Ophir reached a peak population of 122 in 1910.

There are a number of creeks near Ophir, all on the west bank of the Innoko, where gold placers were located starting about 1906. Yankee creek is the closest to the source of the river, then Ganes, Little and Spruce creek, all above Ophir creek. The original Iditarod trail ran above Ganes creek in the summer, down the Innoko valley in the winter.

Mining still goes on at Ganes and Little creeks, and probably at Ophir creek (2006). Further downriver, on the east side, there were mining operations at Folger, Cripple, Bear and Colorado creeks. Bear creek and Colorado still are actively mined (2006). Mining of tailings was underway at Cripple in 2010.
There were at least eight mining operations near Ophir in 1949, including two dredges, but $35 dollar gold winnowed them down to none by about 1955. There was sporadic mining after that, with new operations starting in the 1970s.

 

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