Historical Seattle Park Chronicles the Klondike Gold Rush
Klondike Gold Rush Historical National Park in Seattle, Washington, chronicles the journey of the prospectors through Seattle into Northwestern Canada during the Klondike Gold Rush. The former Cadillac Hotel houses the historical park. Interactive exhibits and computer screens allow visitors to experience the historical event in the footsteps of prospectors. A walking tour of the Pioneer Square Historic District is a 60 to 90 minute journey through the historic district entitled, “Trail to Treasure.” Visitors will want to watch as park rangers demonstrate period mining techniques.
Approximately 100,000 prospectors migrated through Seattle into Northwestern Canada between 1896 and 1899, after local miners discovered gold in the Klondike region of the Yukon. Word of the gold strike spread around the world via telegraph making the headlines in the major newspapers. Hauling heavy equipment over the mountainous terrain with extreme weather conditions cost lives and caused many to turn back. A few of the prospectors became wealthy; however, the majority of the miners came up empty handed. Gold was discovered in Nome, Alaska in 1899, prompting the miners to abandon the Klondike region chasing the promise of riches elsewhere.
Merchants in Seattle spread rumors that Canada’s Northwest Mounted Police required each person to haul a year’s worth of food rations and equipment into the Klondike region. The rumors were erroneous; however, Seattle merchants profited vastly from the prospectors. Merchants advertised horses, mules, wagons, warm clothing, bedding, food, tents and even prospecting equipment available for purchase in Seattle. Seattle quickly became known as the “Gateway to the Gold Fields.” The city of Seattle continued to prosper long after the gold rush.
The park is located at 319 Second Avenue South at the northwest corner of Second Avenue South and South Jackson Street in downtown Seattle. Directions, parking and public transportation information is available on the website along with operating hours. Organized educational groups are encouraged to call ahead for reservations.
*Photo courtesy of Flickr’s Creative Commons.
About NT3RNT RITR
A traveler at heart, the writer enjoys traveling all over the south and hopes to one day expand his destinations.