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Klondike Gold Rush►
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park commemorates the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s. From 1896 to 1899, 100,000 ‘stampeders’ set out to find their fortunes in the Yukon Territory. Of those who attempted the arduous journey, only 30,000 made it to the Klondike. Around 4000 actually struck gold.
Stepping into downtown Skagway is like stepping into the late 1800s. The National Park Service manages and preserves twenty historical structures here. The park seeks to tell the story of the boomtown days when hopeful prospectors passed through in search of a better life.
Skagway went from a tent city to a frontier town almost overnight. Stampeders sailed up the Inside Passage to Skagway. From Skagway, they trekked the White Pass Trail to the Yukon River. Once on the river, they had another 500 miles to go until they made it to the Klondike gold fields.
Authorities required prospectors to have a year’s worth of supplies in order to hike the White Pass. Transients arrived in Skagway without provisions and struggled to find work and and acquire the necessary supplies. Most of those who made the journey eventually returned home broke.
We stopped in Skagway on our Alaskan cruise. Once off the ship, we made beeline for the visitor center. We watched the movie and attended a ranger talk on the Buffalo Soldier outpost in Skagway. Then we toured Jeff Smith’s Parlor, walked through the Moore Homestead and finally rode the White Pass Railway up to the Yukon.
White Pass & Yukon Route Railway Broadway Depot►
The White Pass and Yukon Route became the primary means of reaching the Yukon upon its completion in 1900. Though the gold rush traffic had dwindled by then, the railroad remained active until 1982. The WP & YR built its first depot in Skagway with an administration building next door. The US Army commandeered the buildings and railway in the 1940s to facilitate the construction of the Alaska Highway.
White Pass transferred the buildings to the NPS in 1976. The Park Service restored them to their 1908 appearance in 1984. Today the Depot serves as the Visitor Center and the administration building is the museum.
- Klondike Gold Rush NHP
- White Pass Depot
- Jeff Smith’s Parlor
- The Moore Homestead
- White Pass and Yukon Route Railway
Location: Skagway, Alaska
Designation: National Historical Park
Date designated/established: June 30, 1976
Date of my visit: June 2, 2022