TwHP Lessons

Gold Fever! Seattle Outfits
the Klondike Gold Rush

[Cover photo] Cooper & Levy, Pioneer Outfitters
(Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries, Curtis Photo, Neg. 26368)


eattle's Pioneer Square bustled with excitement as news of a major gold strike in Canada's Yukon River valley reached the port city during the summer of 1897. Soon eager prospectors from all over the country descended on Seattle to purchase supplies and secure transportation to the far-away gold fields. Newcomers were beset with information from every corner. Hawkers offered one sales pitch after another, explaining where to find lodging, meals, gambling, and other entertainment. Outfitters tried to entice prospectors into their stores to purchase the supplies necessary for the stampede north. Anticipating large crowds, these outfitters piled merchandise everywhere, including the sidewalks in front of their stores. One clever merchant opened a mining school where greenhorns could learn the techniques of panning, sluicing, and rocking before setting out for the gold fields. Some anxious stampeders headed directly for the piers where ships were ready to sail north, joining the great migration to the Klondike gold fields. The intense bustle and commotion of the Klondike Gold Rush dramatically changed the face of Seattle.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Routes from Seattle to Klondike
 2. Pioneer Square, Seattle

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. The Rush for Gold
 2. Selling Seattle
 3. Front page of the Seattle
 Post-Intelligencer, October 13, 1897

 4. The Legacy of the Klondike
 Gold Rush

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Cooper and Levy, Pioneer Outfitters
 2. McDougal and Southwick Company
 3. Thedinga Hardware Company
 4. The Pioneer Building, Pioneer Square
 3. Ascending the "golden stairs" up to
 Chilkoot Pass on the Chilkoot Trail, 1897

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Should I Stay, or Should I Go?
 2. Opportunity Knocks

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Klondike Gold Rush
National Historical Park
Seattle Unit

This lesson is based on the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.




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