Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Treadwell Gold Mine Ruins

click image to enlarge

I took pictures this weekend of the abandoned mine area, Treadwell.

Treadwell is in Alaska, on Douglas Island. Below are State archive pics of people, the mine and the community - and below that, my pics of the area today. 
Treadwell was a thriving community, filled with miners and their families and company folk.  No-one got rich but the company, it seems.  And as typical, the company sold the workers the goods they lived off from the company store so, the workers were certainly dependent on the comany for every need.  BUT - they made a decent living, I suspect and probably most fished and hunted and enjoyed the wild of the area.

The mine was loud!  This was a stamping mine - which means they crushed the boulders and rocks 24 hours, day and night.  I don't know how anyone slept. It was said, you could hear it thundering for miles.

I've posted pictures from this area before but thought I'd post these new ones I took yesterday.
The Treadwell gold mine was one mine among many in the area which employed 2000 people or so.
It was the largest Gold Mine in the world at the time. It was begat by John Treadwell,a carpenter from San Francisco. He was paid to go survey the area for gold and ended up
purchasing a claim in 1881, on Douglas Island.  It produced more gold than imaginable! 3 million troy ounces were extracted from the area.
Eventually the mine, with floods, cave ins, and depletion of gold,  was abandoned sometime around 1922. Though some families stayed in there area, it's apparent the mine, and the community went to ruin.
When you walk around Treadwell, you see the evidence of the mine and the community.  Whole areas on the beach with broken heavy china from the mess hall, engine blocks, pipelines, remnants of piers and buildings on the beach - and in the forest where buildings are overgrown with trees and brush, are large barrels, cog wheels, more remnants of pipelines, mills, offices, and other living and work areas. 

Please click on each image to see larger versions.
These first photo's are courtesy of Alaska State Library, to give you an idea of what it looked like in the day.
 In the back you see just dirt where there was an implosion.  This is where the earth fell in on itself - on work areas that were beneath the ground. Treadwell's "Glory Hole" was a familiar sight to the people of Douglas and Juneau. from Alaska State Library

A close up of the Treadwell Glory Hole, ca. 1910. 
This Winter & Pond image shows two hoisting works in background.
Click on images to enlarge. 

Men in the Treadwell Gold Mine, hundreds of feet under the ocean.

John Treadwell is identified as the man seated second from right in this Edward DeGroff photograph. Alaska State Library.

Click on images to enlarge, then hit the back button to come back.

 Treadwell, Alaska July 4, l908
Juliane Nick Dexter Photograph Collection, 1908. ASL-PCA-40
"Well dressed men and women standing in front of Assay Office, a sign on which reads, Assay Office -- Posively No Admittance" Creator - Case, W. H. (William Howard), 1868-1920

As a side note - Timothy Treadwell took his name from this area.  I don't know if any of you have heard of him (watched the Grizzly Diaries on tv?)  but he studied grizzlies for several years in Alaska -  but came to an unfortunate end when he and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard, were eaten by a Grizzly in  2003.

 The building above was part of a pump house near where they made bricks.

 Remnants of one of the warfs.

 The large piece of metal is probably 7 or 8 inches across on each side and was many feet long.  There are remnants all over the ground, growing out of the ground and even growing out of trees.  Some of the trees with metal coming out of them were obviously just saplings when the equipment was left to rot.

 An office building.

 Engine block on the beach.  There are several of these scattered on the beach and throughout the area.  A lot of abandoned vehicles here and throughout the Douglas Island/Juneau area.

 Office building - there is an old stove inside and the walls/roof is dripping with calcium deposits.

Many more images can be found here.

Will post more later :)  Have a wonderful evening!

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