Gold at Fortymile Creek: Early Days in the Yukon

By Michael Gates | Go to book overview

11
CIRCLE: THE LARGEST LOG CITY IN THE WORLD

In just two years, Circle was thriving on the banks of the Yukon River and became the supply centre for the Birch Creek gold diggings. Originally established twelve miles farther upstream in 1893, it moved down to its final location in the spring of 1894 after the break-up of the Yukon River washed away several of its cabins. 1

Because of uncertainty about the new gold finds, in the summer of 1894 the town consisted of a cluster of tents and a few small, quickly erected, log cabins. By September 1894, two trading posts were under construction, and as many as 300 men spent the winter at the newly established post. 2 Circle continued to grow; the following year saw the construction of a saloon and gambling centre, and the population rose to 700. 3 By the summer of 1896, Circle had eclipsed Forty Mile as the major mining centre in the Yukon basin and claimed the title of largest log city in the world.

By 1895 the gold recovery potential of the Fortymile and Sixtymile regions had stabilized. There seemed little opportunity for new discoveries, so when word was received of new finds down the Yukon River, many men immediately moved on to greener pastures. In addition, the presence of the NWMP (and the concomitant establishment of British justice on the Canadian side of the border) scared many Americans and whiskey traders away to the new gold camp. Circle was the beneficiary of this migration, and because of the increased gold production the population rose to nearly one thousand. Circle had another advantage, that of being 200 miles closer to the port of St. Michael on the Alaskan coast

-115-

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Gold at Fortymile Creek: Early Days in the Yukon
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS ix
  • PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi
  • 1 - Early Days: The First Gold-Seekers Arrive 3
  • 2 - The Chilkoot Pass and Early Transportation 9
  • 3 - Early Developments on the Yukon River 18
  • 4 - The Miners' Code 25
  • 5 - The Fortymile Stampede 32
  • 6 - Strangers in a Strange Land 44
  • 7 - Years of Change 51
  • 8 - Forty Mile: Anatomy of a Gold Rush Town 68
  • 9 - The Arrival of the North-West Mounted Police 88
  • 10 - Death of the Miners' Committee 106
  • 11 - Circle: The Largest Log City in the World 115
  • 12 - The Discovery of Gold in the Klondike 129
  • 13 - Epilogue 146
  • APPENDIXES 151
  • Notes 169
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 195
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