Seattle had a real ‘rush’ following the arrival in July 1897 of the SS Portland. The ship was carrying 68 miners and nearly two tons of gold. The Klondike Gold Rush was about to begin and it would have a significant impact on The Emerald City:
In fact it was that discovery more than a century ago that put Seattle on the map as a Gateway to the Klondike; marking its beginning as the Pacific Northwest regional trade center it is today.
At the time, Seattle’s Chamber of Commerce promoted the city as the ‘only place’ to outfit for the gold fields.
More than 100,000 people would seek their fortunes as result of that discovery near where the Klondike and Yukon rivers meet. And large numbers of them set forth from Seattle, taking either overland or water routes as shown on the map below:
I had never paid much attention to the Gold Rush nor its impact locally until I made a discovery of my own:
The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park* in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.
(*It is not Museum – although housed on two floors of the historic Cadillac Building, it sure looks more like one than it does a park).
This haven of history is an easy two block walk north of Century Link field, home of the Seattle Seahawks or King St. Station, the city’s Amtrak hub (its clock tower is visible in the cityscape photo above).
I’ve visited the historic park three times in recent years and each time discovered something I’d missed on previous visits in its audio and visual displays or in the life size models of a store, cabin and a mining operation.
I can assure you that a visit to the Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park is a gold mine of an experience – and the best part, admission is free!
If You Go:
Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
319 2nd Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98104
Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Closed Jan. 1, Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 25
It is a great place for kids – stop by the Ranger’s desk and get one of the activity sheet they have for the wee ones.
Parking is limited on the street, but there are several nearby lots. Bus stops, the train station and local ferries are within walking distance.
Thanks much for spending time with us this weekend. See you back here next week, until then, ‘Happy Travels!’