Independence Gold Mine, Willow Creek, Alaska

Day 723

     You have probably notice the snow capped mountains in my Alaska pictures over the last month. In visiting the Independence Gold Mine in Willow Creek, Alaska, we went up into those mountains. 

          Robert Lee Hatcher was born in 1867 in Montague County, Texas. In 1906 he discovered gold at this mountain top of Skyscraper Mountain, nearly 5,000 feet above sea level.

     This claim was sold numerous times until taken over by the Independence Gold Mine which was in operation from 1934 to 1950. At its peak, the Independence hard-rock gold mine was home to 206 workers and 16 families

     At this elevation, we were closer to the eagles.

     The mine closed for good in 1950, and laid abandoned for 30 years until the Independence Mine State Historical Park was established in 1980 and began restoring the area. While they managed to perserve the bunkhouse, mess hall, and some other buildings, the processing plant, railroad and mine working buildings have all deteriorated.

     We hiked up part of the mountain to get a view of one of it’s entrances.

      As we went up to the higher elevations we had to go through the not yet melted snow, even though it is now July.

     Going back down the mountain, the Little Susitna River made a nice view of the melting snow from the mountains.

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