Information on the Inuit Indian people http://yukonalaska.com/klondike/beforegold.html
Getting to the “Fields” http://www.library.state.ak.us/goldrush/ARCHIVES/PHOTOS/384_81.htm
Preparation to go to the “Fields of Gold”
A 35-degree slope of snow and ice -- four miles long, requiring fifty trips ( six hours each ) to bring a year's worth of supplies per individual, as required by Canadian authorities, to the top. At the height of the rush, 22,000 seekers endured the ordeal.
Photos of a human chain of stampeders trudging up the Chilkoot Pass have come to symbolize the Klondike Gold Rush. In 1897-'98, the North West Mounted Police set up a border crossing into Canada at the summit of the Chilkoot. They ordered every stampeder to carry a year's worth of supplies. After all, there was no turning back once they were into the Klondike, and commerce was limited, to say the least.
Getting across the Chilkoot Trail Ice creepers, iron with commercially tanned leather straps. Found on the Chilkoot Trail Ca. 1898 Alaska Gold http://www.library.state.ak.us/goldrush/
Trails and Passage
Arrival at the “field of gold”
Reaching bedrock at last, Klondikers would hunt for the elusive streak of gold, then dump the rock in heaps beside the mine entrance where it would instantly freeze - until the three short summer months, the only time warm enough for the miners to sluice the heaps.
“Of the one hundred thousand people who set out for the Klondike, thirty to forty thousand got there, and only fifteen to twenty thousand prospected. Possibly 4,000 found some gold.” Source--- http://www.calliope.org/gold/gold4.html
Dawson was a gold rush city, a familiar pattern of accelerated growth. During a few weeks in 1898, the population grew to the size of Seattle - 28,000 people. The choicest corner lots on Front Street sold for $40,000, and two sawmills worked 24 hours a day turning out building materials.
Everyday life during the “rush” Some Klondikers took jobs in the mills or worked as watchmen. Others did as their Comstock forebears had done and signed on as pick-and-shovel laborers in the mines. But very quickly the rush ended - the large mining companies moved in with big dredges - and took out the Klondike's holdings - about $300 million.
Cabin luxury – home sweet home!
Danger was an everyday part of life.
Only about half of those who fought their way over the passes to the Klondike actually looked for gold. Those who did have a claim mined the earth in the most grueling method imaginable. The gold lay in bedrock under ten to fifty feet of permafrost, so they mined Russian fashion - spending the winter months softening the permafrost with fires, digging through it at a maximum of one foot a day.
Jack London in Alaska The monumental efforts of the Klondike hopefuls inspired Jack London, Robert Service and lesser talents to spin romantic narratives of the mining life. But history, just as in California, tells a grimmer story. http://www.calliope.org/gold/gold4.html
Who made the trip?
Martha Louise Black
Abandoned by her first husband en route to the Klondike in 1898, she hiked over the Chilkoot Pass, sailed pregnant down the Yukon River in a homemade boat to Dawson, bore her child in a log cabin, raised money, bought a sawmill, bossed 16 men on a mining claim, married George Black who became Yukon's Member of Parliament and upon his illness ran for, and won, his seat. Martha Black became Yukon's first, and Canada's second, woman Member of Parliament.
The Bishop Who Ate His Boots
This story was the inspiration for the famous scene in Charlie Chaplin's movie "The Gold Rush." Lost in an ice fog at 40 below with no more provisions, Bishop Stringer hit on the idea of boiling his and his companion's sealskin and walrus sole boots for seven hours, then drinking the broth. According to the Bishop, it was "tough and stringy, but palatable and fairly satisfying." The Bishop lost 50 pounds, but eventually found his way to a Native village near where Eagle Plains on the Dempster Highway is today and he was nursed back to health.
Diamond Tooth Gertie
Now the name of the gambling hall in Dawson City, Diamond Tooth Gertie (Gertie Lovejoy) was a bona fide Yukon dance hall queen. Her nickname came from the sparkling diamond she had wedged between her two front teeth. She made a fortune unloading the miners of their gold nuggets.
On arriving in the Klondike, she threw her last 50 cents into the Yukon River, swearing she would never need such small change again. She began her quest for riches by selling rubber boots, cotton goods and hot water bottles at a 600% profit. She built a roadhouse at Bonanza Creek, owned six mining properties by the end of the year, and eventually built the Fairview Hotel, one of the swankiest establishments in Dawson City.