THE JUNEAU COLD BELT (Historic Alaska Information)

This gold belt runs from Sumdum to Berners Bay, the gold being usuallv found in the green-stone bell promiscuously. Going northward from the mines on the mainland already mentioned, the next of importance are the Snettisham Mines to the right of Stephens Pass, where a smelter has been operated at times since 1901, and from which $100,000 has no doubt been taken. Taku Inlet and Glacier are about twenty miles farther north, where many of the tourist boats slop to view the glacier, of marvelous beauty, hear the roar of falling ice and view the fields of blue and green icebergs. After crossing this inlet we enter the immediate vicinity of Gold Creek, Sheep Creek and Freadwell, where half the purchase price of Alaska is produced in gold every year, although the rock is not so rich in gold per ton as at many other places.

The successful production of gold from this belt again diminishes from here northward along Lynn Canal to Berners Bay, where considerable development has taken place during the last ten years. Three stamp mills have been erected at Comet, or along Sherman Creek above it, to which a small railway has been built, and a million or more dollars has been taken out in gold. At intervals of five or ten miles from Juneau northward are Salmon and Lemmon Creeks, Mendenhall River, McGinnis, Peterson and Windfall Creeks, each cutting substantially the same rock as Gold and Sheep Creeks. In the late eighties these streams were thoroughly prospected and both quartz and placer finds were numerous. "Old Diggins'," wrecked mining cabins, sluice boxes and even stamp mills lie rotting in the brush of the gorges, telling their own history; nevertheless many thousands of dollars have been taken out of these small camps. The enormous granite core of the range reaches Lynn Canal above Berners Bay and this seems again to prove that gold need not as a rule be expected within it, no gold being produced again until the range has been crossed, and the belt of older rocks reached on the east side, or in the Porcupine district. On the north side of Lynn Canal some encouraging prospects have been developed at Lituya Bay by the Lukan family, whose lives have been endangered once by starvation and once by being blown out to sea in a small boat, without foor for a week.

The glacier covered Fairweather range, and mountains to the north rise abruptly from the sea, affording no lodging place in the precipitous streams for placer, and making the country difficult to prospect. No mineral worth mention is known on the coast until near the Copper River and Prince Williams Sound, except a little placer at Lituya and Yaktag.

Back to Table of Contents