Gateway to the Gold Fields

Welcome all to my second summer as an LHIP intern. I am so excited to be back as an intern this year working at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. After working at one of the busiest and larger National Historical parks it feels weird to now work at the smallest one of them all. Nonetheless, I am so excited to be working in Seattle and to live in the Pacific northwest. Upon my arrival Seattle welcomed me with a week of cold temperatures and a full day of rain. My welcome to the park was much more warm and filled with the bright enthusiasm of the staff who are not only kind but passionate about the material and their work.

If you have never heard of Klondike National Historical park before you are not alone as I have never heard of it before this summer. Klondike is located in downtown Seattle in Pioneer Square across the Lumen Field where the Seattle Seahawks play. It is in the historic Cadillac Hotel and is a 2 floor museum that dives into the Klondike gold rush of 1896 up until 1899.

Growing up in California I had only heard about the California gold rush in the late 1850s so I was surprised to learn more about this gold fever that spread throughout the nation and the world. But why is there a park in Seattle if the Klondike river is in the Yukon region of Canada?

That is the question that many people have as they walk through the front doors of our park site because although the gold was up north the mining took place down here in Seattle. The mining of the miners that is. Seattle was advertised as a place where you had to stop before moving up into Alaska. This was where they would find provisions, goods, clothing, and passage to Klondike. The city became a gold mine for merchants and businesses all looking to profit off of those sick with gold fever.

 

 

Out of the 100,000 that ventured into the Yukon territory, 70,000 stopped in Seattle before going north. Within the few short years of the gold rush the city had grown in numbers of people and in revenue.

However, Klondike is not just here to share the story of the craze of the gold rush. It serves as a center for the parks around Seattle including the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. The park site is also a gateway for the youth to learn about national parks, conservation, and the importance of preservation of cultural and natural resources. You’ll hear more about the programs throughout my blogs this summer.

I am excited to learn more about Klondike but also about Seattle’s history. I look forward to sharing with all of you some of the work that I will be doing and to share more history along the way.

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