In the 1870’s Georg Pilz, a mining engineer from Sitka, offered a reward to anyone that could lead him to gold-bearing ore. Chief Kowee, of the Auk Tlingit tribe, arrived with ore samples from Gastineau channel. Pilz enticed prospectors Richard T. Harris and Joseph Juneau to investigate. The pair reached Gatineau Channel in August 1880 and found plenty of colour but didn’t follow the gold to its source. At the Chief’s urging, the pair was sent back and discovered the mother lode in Silver Bow Basin. On October 18th they staked a 160-acre town site on the beach. Soon, they were joined by boat loads or prospectors bound for gold. Juneau was born.
We didn’t find any gold Jerry, but the state museum was spectacular. A successor to the old museum! Three years old. Do not miss this museum. We then drove up to the Governer’s mansion. Unlike Sarah Palin, we couldn’t see Russia from the front porch. Perhaps it was the clouds.
Russia sold Alaska to the US in 1867 for 7.2 million. This works out to 1.2 cents an acre. The Russians needed the money as they found themselves overextended with their involvement in Napoleon’s European wars, a declining fur industry and the long lines of shipping between Sitka and the heartland of Russia. The US got a great deal even though at the time, many were against this purchase.
Back to the campsite as we had an early morning ferry to catch.This entry was posted in Uncategorized