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Alaska Gold Rush: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1879, the Alaskan territory organizes its first mining district. This guide provides access to materials related to the “Alaskan Gold Rush” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"First Miners on Cleary Creek, the Banner Stream, and their wives" April 2, 1905. The Times Dispatch (April 2, 1905), Image 31. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

During the mid 19th century, eyes were focused on California's Gold Rush; however, little did many know, the next American Gold Rush would occur years later in Alaska which was not yet a state. When word spread among the public, prospectors rushed to the land of opportunity and gold. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


May 10, 1879 Organization of the first mining district in Alaska.
1880 Major gold strike at Silver Bow Basin by prospectors Joe Juneau and Richard Harris. More prospectors head to the area and found the town of Juneau.
1884 Congress creates a civil government for Alaska in the Organic Act of 1884.
August 1896 Gold discovery is made at Bonanza Creek which would prompt a great Klondike Gold Rush.
April 3, 1898 Deadly avalanche kills over 60 people on the Chillkoot trail.
1899 News of another gold strike prompts many to head to Nome.
1902 Gold Discovery in the Tanana Hills leads to the founding of Fairbanks.