Relics of Juneau’s Gold Mining History

During our recent visit to Juneau, Alaska, we toured two sites from the days of gold mining — the Treadwell Mine and the Last Chance Mining Museum.

Both featured many relics in various stages of decay, resulting from exposure to the elements. The Museum, however, also had on display many items in display cases, housed in the building (which, according to Wikipedia, is 84 feet long) that contained (and still does, actually, though obviously non-operational) the huge Ingersoll Rand air compressor, which takes up most of the length of the building. Outside, there were a number of cars that used to carry miners down into the mine. Left to the weather, they are slowly rusting away.

I didn’t take any pictures at the mining museum, but I did take a fair number along the Treadwell Mine trail.

At the beginning of the trail, there is a five-stamp mill, used to crush ore prior to refining it.

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Many of the remains of the mine operation are slowly being subsumed into the re-emerging vegetation.

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Some blend in so closely it can be hard to distinguish them from the natural surroundings, such as this cable . . .

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. . . and these wood beams — if it wasn’t for the bolts, they might be mistaken for rotting stumps.

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Some of the concrete structures had an ancient, archeological feel.

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Some just looked creepy.

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Some artifacts looked skeletal.

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If we ever go back to Juneau, much of what we saw last week may now longer be visible.

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