TwHP Lessons

Gateway to the Klondike

[Cover photo] Skagway, Alaska, 1898
(J.B. Moore Collection [Acc. #76-35-53N], University of Alaska, Fairbanks Archives, photo by H.C. Barley)


ajestic mountains rise abruptly on either side of Skagway, a town situated in a narrow glaciated valley at the head of the Taiya Inlet in Alaska. Positioned along one of the main transportation corridors leading to Canada's interior, Skagway was established as a result of a gold strike in the Klondike region of Canada's Yukon Territory. Beginning in the summer of 1897, thousands of hopeful stampeders poured in to the new town and prepared for the arduous 500-mile journey to the gold fields. Realizing the grueling challenges that lay ahead on the route and the economic potential of supplying goods and services to other stampeders, some chose to remain in Skagway and establish a permanent community. Although it lasted but a brief period, and few obtained the wealth they dreamed of, the Klondike Gold Rush left a lasting mark on the Alaskan and Canadian landscapes. Today, Skagway's "boomtown" era remains alive in the many turn-of-the-century buildings that survive. The city now hosts half a million tourists annually and has a year-round population of approximately 800.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Routes from Seattle to Klondike
 2. Chilkoot and White Pass Trails

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. Gold is Discovered in the Klondike
 2. Settlement and Commerce
 3. Transportation: Key to Survival

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Skagway, Alaska, 1898
 2. Trail Street, Skagway, 1897
 3. Moore Cabin and Moore House
 4. Moore and Family, 1904
 5. Golden North Hotel
 6. Arctic Brotherhood Hall
 7. McCabe College Building

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Gold Rushes
 2. History and the Use of Local Buildings

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Klondike Gold Rush
National Historical Park

This lesson is based on the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and the Skagway Historic District and White Pass, several of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Skagway Historic District and White Pass have been designated National Historic Landmarks.




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