Gold Rush History in Juneau
Juneau, the only American capital inaccessible by road, maintains the feeling of a frontier town, permeated by its gold rush heritage. From exploring a mine to gold panning in a creek, there’s a range of ways for visitors to experience Alaska’s gold rush history. Here’s what you need to know.
Gold Rush History
Juneau’s history and the history of the gold rush go hand in hand. Prospectors Joe Juneau and Richard Harris founded the town—then called Harrisburg—in 1880 after hearing rumors of gold from Tlingit Chief Kowee. The pair of founders soon discovered gold in what is now called Gold Creek, and then Juneau was home to three of the world’s biggest gold mines over the next 60 years.
Ways to Experience Gold Rush History
- Learn to pan the waters of Gold Creek or Last Chance Basin for precious metals.
- Keep the gold you find while exploring the gold fields of Juneau.
- Hear stories of the Juneau gold rush from a guide in 19th-century attire.
- Visit the entrance of Wagner Mine, where relics of the area’s mining past remain.
- Brush up on your gold rush history at the Last Chance Mining Museum and Historic Park.