Writing the history of a mining district is normally a rather straightforward process. Federal regulations stemming from the Mining Act of 1872 forced miners to document their claims in exhaustive detail. As these records are usually readily accessible, they provide an ideal basis for most studies.
The Chisana district, however, totally lacks such primary documentation. After its recording office closed in 1930, the district's papers were moved across the Wrangell Mountains to the community of Chitina. Due to that town's precipitous decline following the closure of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway in 1938, the records were subsequently transferred to Copper Center, where they were ultimately destroyed in a structural fire in the mid-1940s.
Fortunately, other research options remained available. Both the United States Geological Survey and Alaska's Territorial Department of Mines occasionally visited the area and recorded key facts about ownership and production. The district's mining activity was also thoroughly covered in local newspapers, including the Dawson Daily News, the Whitehorse Weekly Star, the McCarthy Weekly News, the Chitina Leader, and the Cordova Daily Alaskan. Several manuscript and oral sources were available as well.
This study is derived from those accounts.
Last Updated: 21-Mar-2008