North of 53°

The Wild Days of the Alaska-Yukon Mining Frontier, 1870-1914

William R. Hunt

North of 53°

William R. Hunt

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

352 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $23.95 ISBN: 9781602230545 Published May 2009

“Saints and sinners, whores and housewives, swindlers and laborers alike attempted a hasty adjustment to novel conditions in a land that seemed strange and forbidding,” writes William R. Hunt in his narrative history of Alaska mining. Hunt offers an exciting anecdotal account that follows hungry prospectors, canny shopkeepers, hopeful hangers-on, and crafty lawyers through the gold mining camps and temporary towns of nineteenth-century Alaska. Hunt has hiked and mined many of the same claims he writes about in the book, and North of 53 offers a rare glimpse into far-flung communities from Skagway to the Yukon to the deep interior of Alaska to the Ididarod and Nome on the Bering Sea.


Part I: Early Days on the Yukon

1. Opening the Land

2. Early Trading

3. Mining

4. Forty Mile

5. Circle, 1893-96

Part II: The Klondike Era

6. Seattle Gets the News

7. Skagway and Soapy Smith

8. Chilkoot and White Passes

9. Army Help and Arctic Fraud

10. Yukon Voyage

11. Glacier Madness

12. Overland and River Routes

13. Dawson City

14. Soldiers, Sailors, and Settlers on the Yukon

Part III: Nome, Fairbanks, and Other Alaskan Camps

15. Nome-The American Klondike, 1899

16. The Turbulent Scene, 1900

17. Lawless Camp: Nome in 1900-1901

18. Judge Wickersham in Eagle and Nome

19. The Founding of Fairbanks

20. Tanana Valley Style

21. Founder-Swindler Barnette of Fairbanks

22. Restless Camps and Busy Trails

23. Soldier on the Yukon

24. High Rollers and Their Recreations

25. Settlings Down: George Pilcher, Will Ballou, and the Lomens

26. The Guggenheims Come to Alaska

27. Other Camps

Part IV: The Different Frontier?

28. Law and Order

29. The U.S. Government’s Role in Alaska

30. Natives and the Mining Frontier

31. Northern Journalism

32. Labor Strife

33. James Wickersham and Gold Land Politics

34. The Literary Frontier

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