Ghost Town USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

ALASKA

“The Last Frontier”

 

 

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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Alaska

A little over one hundred years ago the great Klondike Gold Rush focused attention on Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory. Ships flooded the Inside Passage and Skagway became a great city of 20,000 people. From Skagway thousands of boomers climbed Chilkoot Pass with a tremendous amount of food and provisions, as the Canadian authorities would not let anyone into Canada without a year's provisions. The great gold rush focused on the Dawson City area in the Yukon Territory of Canada, but there was a lot of overflow down the Yukon River and across the Canadian line into what is today Alaska. 

 

Please note that Alaska is not divided up into formal counties, but into less formal Boroughs, which are county-like, but without the county seat and county court issues.  These borough borders are somewhat flexible as are the names.  The listings below are accurate as of the 1995 edition of the Rand McNally Commercial Atlas & Marketing Guide.

 

Listed below are just a few of the 500 plus sites available in Alaska for exploration ...ENJOY!

 

Some of the vignettes below contain specific HIGHLIGHTED words that are listed on our Definitions page.  If you are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word in a ghost town sense, click on the link and scroll down to that term.  You can use the BACK button on the browser to return to this page.

 

HELP!  (NEW FEATURE) Please check here to find a list of ghost towns that various contacts are looking for.  IF you have any information on these places please e-mail me and I can respond back to those looking for info on these ghosts.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Where photos are indicated thusly (PHOTO!), please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this page.  More photos will be added over time.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

ANVIL CREEK

Nome

This former gold-mining camp is located along the Bering Sea, northwest of Nome.  Actual location not determined.

BELL ISLAND HOT SPRINGS

Prince of Wales - Outer Ketchikan

This small hot springs resort was developed by George Roe who homesteaded here in 1902.  He built a bath house, boardwalk, boat landing and several cabins.  When he died in 1914 his brothers ran the resort.  The Bell Island post office operated here 1932 - 1954.  It still has a few folks in the summer.  It is located on the north bank of the Behm Canal on the southwestern side of Bell Island, about 40 miles north of Ketchikan.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 55.9316667 / 55° 55’ 54” N

·        Longitude: -131.5652778 / 131° 33’ 55” W

BETTLES (Old)

Yukon-Koyukuk

The original community of Bettles was named after printer, prospector and trader Gordon C. Bettles, who established a trading post and community in 1898 on the northwest bank of the Koyukuk River, one mile southwest of the confluence with the John River, 4.5 miles west of present-day Bettles. A post office intermittently operated between 1901 and 1956. After World War II ended, the residents slowly moved east to a spot near a newly-constructed airstrip located a half mile southwest of Evansville. The last residents of the original community relocated in 1997.  A cemetery is located just west of the line of remaining buildings.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 66.9069444 / 66° 54' 25" N

·        Longitude: -151.6830556 / 151° 40' 59" W

BETTLES (New)

Yukon-Koyukuk

Shortly after WW II ended, the community of (Old) Bettles relocated to the northeast side of the Bettles Airport, which is located 0.5 mi southwest of Evansville (itself a tiny community), on the southeastern bank of the Koyukuk River north of the Arctic Circle, about 190 miles northwest of Fairbanks. After World War II, use of the airstrip increased, which drew people from the previously isolated community to the west. Bettles incorporated in 1985, but is not very big.

 

Population figures:

·        1970 - 57, 1980 - 49, 1990 – 36, 2000 - 43

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 66.9188889 / 66° 55' 08" N

·        Longitude: -151.5161111 / 151° 30' 58" W

CAPE YORK

Nome

This class A gold-mining camp is located at the western tip of the Seward Peninsula, 100 miles northwest of Nome. It was another beach camp that boomed during the 1898-1900 gold rush. 

 

The Cape is located at:

·        Latitude: 65.4150000 / 65° 24' 54" N

·        Longitude: -167.46361111 / 167° 27' 49" W

CHICKEN

SE Fairbanks

This old class D mining camp and post office (est. 1903) is located on State Highway (SH) 5 (Taylor Highway) on the west  bank of Chicken Creek a mile north of its confluence with Mosquito Fork, 58 miles southwest of Eagle, 140 miles west of Dawson City (Yukon Territory, Canada), about 30 miles west of the state line. (GBS)

 

According to a Dec 27, 2006 E-mail from Phoebe Kersula, “Chicken is not a ghost town - people still live there! OK, like 17 people live there, but still - that means it's not a ghost town. Yet.”  

 

I like Phoebe’s “YET” comment!  Chicken was a once booming mining town that is still hanging tough.  It’s good to know that like other faded communities, they still have a lot of spirit.  Maybe that spirit will keep Chicken from becoming a true ghost town. (GBS)

 

Population figures:

·        1980 - 37, 1990 – 30, 2000 – 17

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 64.0733333 / 64° 04' 24" N

·        Longitude: -141.9361111 / 141° 56' 10" W

DYEA

Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon

Located on the west side of the mouth of the Taiya River, at the north tip of the Taiya Inlet 3.5 miles north-northwest of Skagway.  Now part of Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park.  It was the bustling port of entry that led to the Dyea Trail over Chilkoot Pass, one of the most popular routes to the Klondike. In 1902, the White Pass and Yukon Railroad reached Skagway, and Dyea faded quickly.  A post office operated here 1896 - 1902.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 59.5047222 / 59° 30' 17" N

·        Longitude: -135.3583333 / 135° 21' 30" W

EAGLE

 

AKA – Belle Isle

SE Fairbanks

Eagle began life named Belle Isle in 1874, a log trading post established by Moses Mercier. In 1898, it served as a mining center, and the population zoomed to 800. At that time, the town was platted and called Eagle City. A post office opened in 1898, and in 1903 the Valdez-Eagle telegraph line reached the community. The U.S. Army established nearby Eagle City Camp in 1899, and in 1900 Fort Egbert was established. The fort was abandoned in 1911.

 

Eagle is a class D gold mining center located on SH 5 (Taylor Highway), only six miles west of the state line and is the first town inside Alaska to be reached by the road.  It is on south bank of Yukon River and has shown significant grown since 1970, reflecting the increase in travel along the state highway.

 

Population figures:

·        1900 - 383, 1910 - 178, 1920 - 98, 1930 - 54, 1940 - 73, 1950 - 55, 1970 - 36, 1980 - 110, 1990 – 168, 2000 - 129.

 

LOCATION

·        Latitude: 64.7880556 / 64° 47' 17" N

·        Longitude: -141.2000000 / 141° 12' 00" W

GLEASON

Kenai Peninsula

“I have heard of a old ghost mining town in Alaska that’s off the maps.  It’s called Gleason. It would be near Pturniggan (Turnagin ??  - GBS) Pass. My father used to try to get to it in an old Toyota Landcruiser, but never seemed to make it all the way there. He thinks since then they have made it easier to get to by horseback? I grew up in Alaska, right next to Independence Mine, were I would snowboard frequently in the mountains of Hatcher Pass.”

Contributed by Michael Dunaway, Dec 24, 2006

 

I have no information on this location, but Turnagain Pass is in the northern part of the Kenai Peninsula (southeast of Anchorage) just east of State Highway 1 (Seward Highway).  There is also a Gleason Creek about 12 air miles south of the pass that GNIS lists as a mile and a half long.  It flows west from Bench Peak into Bench Creek, south of the Granite Creek Guard Station, which is on the Seward Highway. A pack trail is shown following Bench Creek at the mouth of Gleason Creek.  I suspect this may be the location Michael is talking about.  (GBS)

 

The creek is located at:

·        Latitude: 60.6663889 / 60° 39' 59" N

·        Longitude: -149.2255556 / 149° 13' 32" W

HOMER

(1st site)

Kenai Peninsula

This former seaport is located near modern Homer, which is located at Homer Spit, on the north side of Kachemak Bay, on the east side of the Cook Inlet on the southwestern side of the Kenai Peninsula southwest of Anchorage.  Present Homer is at the south end of SH 1 (Sterling Highway).


It was probably established on or near Homer Spit in November 1895 and named after Homer Pennock, a prospector who worked in the Cook Inlet area. The post office opened in 1896.  At some time in the past, the town relocated to its present location.  Actual location of the original town not determined.

 

Present Homer:

·        Latitude: 59.6425000 / 59° 38' 33" N

·        Longitude: -151.5483333 / 151° 32' 54" W

HYDER

 

AKA – Portland City

Prince of Wales - Outer Ketchikan

This tiny, former mining town is the easternmost community in Alaska, and is the southernmost land border crossing into British Columbia (Canada).  It was established in 1907 and was first called Portland City.  However, in 1915 when the post office was to be established, that name was rejected.  It was then named after Frederick Hyder, a Canadian mining engineer who came to Portland City to examine some claims in 1914.  The claim he inspected was very rich, and the grateful owner of that claim proposed Hyder’s name be submitted for the post office.  It is located at the mouth of the Salmon River, about 80 miles northeast of Ketchikan, and southwest of Stewart, British Columbia.

 

Population figures:

·        1945 - 254, 1962 - approx 30, 1970 - 49, 1980 - 77, 1990 – 99, 2000 - 97

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 55.9169444 / 55° 55' 01" N

·        Longitude: -130.0247222 / 130° 01' 29" W

Independence Mine

 

Matanuska-Susitna

This class C gold mining camp is located on a gravel road northwest of Palmer, about 40 miles north of Anchorage. Today it is a state historic park. A number of buildings remain. 

 

This was Ghost Town of the Month for Jun/Jul 2006, and is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

 

For additional details, see our Independence Mine page

JACK WADE

SE Fairbanks

This old mining camp was named after Jack Wade, a local prospector.  The post office operated from 1901 to 1948.  It is located on SH 5 (Taylor Highway), along the north side of Wade Creek, 46 miles south of Eagle and about 15 miles west of the state line.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 64.1541667 / 64° 09' 15" N

·        Longitude: -141.4597222 / 141° 27' 35" W

KENNICOTT

Valdez-Cordova

This old mining camp is located at the foot of the Wrangell Range, in the southeast corner of the main part of the state, four miles north of McCarthy, 55 miles east of Chitina.  It is on the north bank of National Creek, along the eastern edge of Kennicott Glacier.

 

The Kennecott Mines Company, established a mining camp and offices here in 1906. The camp was named after the Kennicott Glacier, which was named after Major Robert Kennicott. The post office opened in 1908, and closed in 1938. The mining camp had 494 people in 1920. Spelling of the community has varied over the years.

 

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 61.4863889 / 61° 29' 11" N

·        Longitude: -142.8863889 / 142° 53' 11" W

Juneau area

Juneau

SEE Juneau area individual page listing for the ghost towns and mining camps around Juneau.

 

This was our featured Ghost Town of the Month for September, 2001

LIVENGOOD

Yukon-Koyukuk

“Robert D. and Marylou Wood with their five children were stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, Fairbanks, Alaska.  My father put in for this assignment because Alaska has no snakes. My father and mother enjoyed the outdoors very much and he was an avid hunter and fisherman. We went camping often and traveled to many places around the state. We traveled north most of the time.

 

“I have quite an extraordinary story to tell you. Mom and Dad are 70 now and could add very much to this story. Marylou and my youngest brother, 2 weeks old at the time, and me, the second son (48 years now) spent most of the time running the store and gas station (at Livengood) at the time when I was 13 to 15 years old. My father would come to bring supplies. We relied on a wood stove for people who came to eat. We also had to haul water from a spring for drinking and used the bottom half of a casket for bathing.

 

“In the mean time we had two dogs, a wolf and a husky-type dog. We had a serial killer, Native Americans, old men (some who were prospectors), claim jumpers, hunters, big oil companies and just regular people living in Westfork up the road. There is another ghost town I can't remember the name of, with a train sunk in the permafrost which can be proven. We have pictures and artifacts.

 

“If someone is interested about the ghost town of Livengood, Alaska, it is still very fresh in our family’s memories. Please contact us.” 

Contributed by Curtis Wood, Jan 30, 2007

 

If anyone wishes to contact Curtis, please email me and I will forward on your message.  (GBS)

 

Gold was discovered on July 24, 1914, on Livengood Creek by N. R. Hudson and Jay Livengood, after whom the camp was named.  The mining map established itself near their claim in the winter of 1914-15 when hundreds of people came into the Mining District. A post office operated 1915 - 1957.  

 

Located on Livengood Creek, 50 miles northwest of Fairbanks, at the junction of SH 2 (Elliott Highway)/Livengood Road.

 

Population figures:

·        1980 - 75, 1990 – 80, 2000 - 29

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 65.5244444 / 65° 31' 28" N

·        Longitude: -148.5447222 / 148° 32' 41" W

LOST RIVER

Nome

This former gold mining camp is located on the coast, 85 miles northwest of Nome.

McCARTHY

Valdez-Cordova

This mining camp was named after the creek, and was founded around 1908.  The post office was in operation 1912-1943.

 

It is located about 230 miles east of Anchorage, just south of the Wrangell Mountains, in the southeast corner of the main part of the state, at the confluence of McCarthy Creek, and Kennicott Rover, on the south end of the Kennicott Glacier, 12 miles northeast of the confluence of the Nizina and Chitina Rivers.  It is just south of Kennicott.

 

Population figures:

·        1920 - 127, 1930 - 115, 1940 - 49, 1980 - 35, 1990 – 25, 2000 - 42

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 61.4333333 / 61° 26' 00" N

·        Longitude: -142.9216667 / 142° 55' 18" W

NOME

Nome

This class E gold mining center is located on the underside of the Seward Peninsula, along the far northwest coast of Alaska. It is only included here, as the town is said to have peaked at 20,000 people during the gold rush, when thousands of boomers camped along the beach.  The 1900 census officially showed 12,488 people.  From 1920, when it bottomed out at 852 folks, Nome has shown slow but steady growth.

 

Population figures:

·        1900 – 12,488, 1910 - 2600, 1920 - 852, 1930 - 1213, 1940 - 1559, 1950 – 1870, 1960 – 2316, 1970 – 2357, 1980 - 2301, 1990 – 3500, 2000 – 3505, 2007 - est 3578.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 64.4980556 / 64° 29' 53" N

·        Longitude: -165.4025000 / 165° 24' 09" W

PROSPECT CREEK CAMP

Yukon-Koyukuk

Former Alaska pipeline construction camp located on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline route.  It is on the south side of the Jim River, just north of the confluence with Prospect Creek, which is about 15 air miles east of the confluence of the Jim River/Koyukuk River, 25 air miles east-southeast of Bettles and Evansville,

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 66.7944444 / 66° 47’ 40” N

·        Longitude: -150.7244444 / 150° 43’ 28” W

RAMPART CITY

Yukon-Koyukuk

In 1896, the supply center of Rampart City was established due to the discovery of gold in the Minook Creek drainage.  It was named for the "Ramparts of the Yukon." The post office opened in 1898.  The peak population in 1898-1899 was reported to have reached 1000-1500.  Across the river is an abandoned agricultural station. It is almost dead center in the heart of Alaska.

 

On the south bank of the Yukon River, north of SH 2 (Elliott Highway), 61 miles east-northeast of Tanana and 50 miles north of Livengood.

 

Population figures:

·        1970 - 36, 1980 - 50, 1990 – 68, 2000 - 45

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 65.5050000 / 65° 30' 18" N

·        Longitude: -150.1700000 / 150° 10' 12" W

SHALLOW WATER TOWN

Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon

On the Little Lost River, in the Yakutat forelands at Yakutat Bay, 30 miles from Hubbard Glacier.

SKAGWAY

Haines

Like Nome, this town is not a ghost, but a class E former mining supply center. It is a popular tourist destination, and was the jumping off place for the Chilcoot Pass route during the Klondike Gold Rush. It is at the north end of the Inside Passage, and the Alaskan panhandle, at the mouth of the Skagway River.  It is shown on most Alaska maps.

 

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

 

Population figures:

·        1900 – 1800, 1910 - ???, 1920 - 500, 1930 - 600, 1940 - 600, 1950 – ???, 1960 – 700, 1970 – 675, 1980 - 768, 1990 – 692, 2000 – 862, 2007 - est 3578.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 59.4583333 / 59° 27' 30" N

·        Longitude: -135.3138889 / 135° 18' 50" W

SULATNA CROSSING

Yukon-Koyukuk

Dates at least to 1923.  It is on the north side of the Sulatna River, where the Ruby-Poorman road crosses over that river, about a half mile northwest of the confluence of Spangle Creek and the Sulatna River, about 39 miles south of Ruby.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 64.1891667 / 64° 11' 21" N

·        Longitude: -155.4636111 / 155° 27' 49" W

THREE SAINTS BAY

Kodiak Island

A class B Russian trading post on west shore of Three Saints Bay on the southeast side of Kodiak Island.  This was the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska, and was established in the 1820s.  It served as the headquarters for the Russian American Company until that company relocated to St. Paul (later called Kodiak).  It is about two miles north of the abandoned site of the Native American village of Nunamiut.

 

LOCATION:

·        Latitude: 57.1500000 / 57° 09' 00" N

·        Longitude: -153.5166667 / 153° 31' 00" W

VALDEZ
(1st site)

Valdez-Cordova

This former seaport was devastated by the 1964 Alaska earthquake. It was at the northeast point of Prince William Sound, at the terminus of SH 4, and the Alaska Pipeline, about 125 miles east of Anchorage. It is about 3.1 miles southeast of the center of present (post 1964) Valdez, just southwest of the Valdez Airport.  It is shown on the GNIS topographic map as Old Valdez.

 

LOCATION:

·        NW¼ Sec 2, E½ Sec 3, T9S, R6W, Copper River Meridian

·        Latitude: 61.1158333 / 61° 06' 57" N

·        Longitude: -146.2663889 / 146° 15' 59" W

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns of ALASKA, contact us at

Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:

Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line. 

THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in ALASKA above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.

When you are exploring the ghost towns of ALASKA, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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FIRST POSTED:  January 12, 2001

LAST UPDATED: August 10, 2014

 

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