Monday, February 16, 2015

Alaskan Gold Rush

A nugget found near Sutter’s Fort in California the winter of 1948 not only caused excitement to race across the nation, it spread a new ‘disease’. Gold fever, and it lasted for well over 60 years. Actually, it’s still out there—the show Gold Rush is extremely popular. For years, word of a new discovery of gold had people flocking in that direction. California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, Arizona and Nevada. Then, in 1880 gold was discovered further north—Alaska—and more people than ever swarmed north.

Hopefuls from all around the world were drawn into the Alaskan gold rush. Thousands, full of dreams about finding the mother lode, went “North to Alaska”. An estimated 100,000 people embarked upon the trek, but between 30,000 to 40,000 actually made it. A few found gold, but for many, after endearing unimaginable weather, hardships, and disappointment, they returned home further in debt than when they’d left. Dependent upon the location of the claim, in some cases it took miners longer to get to their claim than the mining season. Usually, it averaged four months, June—October. Winters were harsh and starvation was a reality.  For this reason, Canadian authorities decreed any miner entering the Klondike had to bring with a year’s worth of supplies. As fast as word spread about the gold, so did other ‘rumors’. One such tale was that all a man needed to survive was raisins. Many bought into this belief and the price of raisins skyrocketed.  

As it was in several other mining locations, those running the saloons and other businesses that catered the miners made more money than the miners did, except those lucky few who did strike it rich.

“Lucky” is what the hero of my next release nicknames himself. So far it had paid off, and the heroine hopes it works for her too!

1 comment:

Caroline Clemmons said...

Lauri, there were earlier gold rushes in North Carolina and then in Georgia. Lateral relatives were involved in both of those early gold rushes.