Our Leagacy

What did Alaska get from the Gold Rush?

     Besides more people, what else did Alaska get from the gold rush? In just a few decades the gold rush created towns, transportation and communications systems. Trails were turned into roadways. Railway lines were being laid to improve the efficiency of moving goods around the state. More people meant a growing interest in better governance. Prospecting continued for gold, but it expanded to an interest in other valuable minerals and resources.

What makes an area change?

Golden City, Pedro Creek. Panoramic view of large vegetable gardens with log cabins and tents.

    Look at the panorama photo of Pedro Creek. Describe the changes you imagine this area underwent after Felix discovered gold near here. How do you think this area would look today? What things cause the development of a wilderness creek into a city?

How important is a good communication system?

Laying the Juneau-Skagway Telegraph Cable.

     The need for better communications continues to be an enduring legacy from the gold rush. From miners trying to stay in touch with families, to a distant government trying to maintain order in a huge territory, everyone felt the need to improve the communication systems.

     Look at the photograph of the men commemorating the Juneau-Skaguay cable in 1901.

Gulkana Signal Corps Office.

     If a photograph were taken today for a vital communication link, describe the picture. What would be different? What would be the same?

     During the gold rush new towns learned that government officials could be persuaded to help them get important things. The need for government to be responsive to the needs of their people continues today.

     Read the story told through a series of telegrams about a group of businessmen who helped Seward keep their post office.

A series of telegrams about a group of businessmen who helped Seward keep their post office.

     What were their reasons for the continuation of the post office? How long did it take for this flurry of telegrams to achieve the desired effect? Estimate the length of time it takes to receive a reply to a message on email today. How do you think the speed of the telegrams compares with email?

Overview I
How did the gold rush change the population? I How did the gold rush impact Native Alaskans? I What did Alaska get from the gold rush?

Homepage I Alaska's Gold Lode I The Discovery of Gold I Traveling to the Gold Fields
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Alaska's Gold was developed through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission by the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, the Alaska Dept. of Education and Early Development.  1999.  All rights reserved.   Alaska Gold Themes written by Cristine Crooks, Alaska Consultants in Education.  Alaska's Gold Themes website developed by WEBDesign.