Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

A National Park In Seattle? Yes!

 

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! was printed across Seattle newspaper headlines on July 17, 1897. This was the start to the Klondike Gold Rush as dreamers came from all over the country attempting to strike it rich in the Yukon gold fields near Dawson City. Of the estimated 100,000 prospects that set out on this journey, only 4,000 found gold and a mere few hundred became rich from it. The rush here lasted only a few years until gold was next discovered in Nome, Alaska. Pioneer Square in Seattle is home to one of the four units of the National Park Service's Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park. The other three units are located in Skagway, Alaska.

...not one in ten, or a hundred, knew what the journey meant nor heeded the voice of warning.
— Journalist Tappan Adney
 

 

Exploring the 0.3 Acre Park

When one thinks of a national park they typically imagine a scene of vast wilderness filled with picture-perfect landscapes, wild animals, and solitude. A place where you're able to wander for mile upon mile without running into another person. Somewhere that leaves all of the world's technology behind. A remote area which few of the population ever visits. At least, that's what we imagine.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is none of that. It's located essentially in downtown Seattle. Surrounded by the joys of urban living—noise, pollution, litter, traffic, and thousands of people passing by each and every day. This national park isn't here to protect the natural beauty of the land it sits on. Rather, it's here to let you and I go back in time to experience the wonders, joy, and riches of this period.  Today we might think back on such a time and imagine the adventure, the excitement and the endless possibilities that might have come with "striking it rich". The reality, however is that most never completed the backbreaking journey. There are accounts of malnutrition, starvation and death. 

This National Park stands as a museum, a monument to that past, good and bad. This intriguing tribute to our history is a well organized and informative experience. There are a great number of displays and activities that illuminate this brief period. A formative moment for our nation and its citizens.

 

 

Final Thoughts

We had just completed a visit to the Sky View Observatory prior to arriving at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. We arrived just an hour before they were to close, so our visit was brief. If you enjoy history and museums, you will love this place. For its compact space there is an extraordinary amount to see. So many displays. Historical artifacts, interactive displays, displays that have sounds of a long ago time, replicas of ticket booths, shops and living quarters of the period. We only covered a fraction of all there was to see. The Park Rangers at the front desk were very pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable. We can imagine children just loving this place. So, if you find yourself strolling the sidewalks of downtown Seattle and fancy a bit of education, do stop in. It's a "Rush"!

 

 
 

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