[graphic heading] Seattle: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Servicer

Klondike Gold Rush NHP
The Seattle Unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park commemorates the city's role as the most important staging area for the gold rush of the 1890s. When the steamer S. S. Portland arrived in the harbor on July 17, 1897, thousands of local residents cheered as more than a ton of Yukon gold was unloaded. In August of the previous year three miners found gold in the Klondike River, a tributary of the Yukon and had to wait through the winter before making their trek back to civilization. Quickly the entire nation was enthralled in a rush northward to reach the Klondike, and these "stampeders" were lured by the chance to quickly acquire riches. Cities throughout the west launched aggressive campaigns to convince "stampeders" that they would best serve their interests. Seattle advertised itself in railroad publications, newspapers and brochures from coast to coast. They proclaimed that Seattle was the "only place" to outfit themselves for the gold fields, and tens of thousands rushed to Seattle. The early arrivals were forced to remain there until the fierce Canadian winter relented, but spent time, and money, in the hotels, bars and stores of Seattle until they started their search in the spring of 1898. Over the next year, this boom helped transform Seattle into the leading city of the Northwest as its merchants sold more than $25 million of goods, a figure larger than the gold extracted in any year of the Klondike Gold Rush. In fact, during this time, the economy of Seattle surpassed Portland and Los Angeles, and was second only to San Francisco. Pioneer Square became the center of this bustling activity, as prospectors bought supplies (called outfits), booked passage, and, if lucky, returned to cash in their new-found gold. Today this unit of the National Park Service depicts this story through exhibits and audio-visual presentations and provides maps that show the remnants of Seattle a century ago.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is administered by the National Park Service, and the Seattle Visitor Center is located at 319 Second Ave. South. It is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Cooper and Levy, a Seattle outfitter during the Klondike Gold Rush
NPS Photo

Maynard Building Maynard Building in the 1890s
Photograph courtesy of Seattle Historical Society

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

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