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  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical ParkKlondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Seattle, Washington
    This park commemorates the Klondike gold rush of the late 1890s, that was in the Yukon territory, with the main staging areas located here, for the long journey north and the routes going there. The park is made up of four main areas; three in the municipality of Skagway Borough, Alaska and the fourth is the Pioneer Square National Historic District of Seattle, Washington. The story of the Klondike rush can only be fully told by viewing both sides of the Canada-United States border, with national historic sites in Dawson City, Yukon and Whitehorse. This park and the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site in British Columbia make-up the Klondike Gold Rush International Historical Park. One of the main parts of the park is the visitor's center in Seattle, in the Pioneer Square National Historic District that functions as both interpretive center and museum; as well as the repository of information about how to see the Skagway part of the park, and opened in 1979 in the Union Trust Annex that was built in 1902. It is now located in the Cadillac Hotel that was built in 1889; and had been one of the primary places to get outfits for the long trek north. It was terribly damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, which had to be reconstructed to house the new Seattle unit and opened in 2006.  The whole thing started with the usual cries of gold, in the Klondike this time around, after Skookum Jim Mason, George Washington Carmack and Dawson Charlie found that precious metal in the tributary of the Klondike River in Canada's Yukon territory; in 1896. The initial cries were soon muffled amidst the throng of hopefuls that gathered in Seattle and tried to find a way there with at least a year's supply of food and equipment. In 1897, these gold dreamers would board ships in the city and other Pacific coast ports heading north to a vision of gold and riches that had escaped many of them in the forty nines. They didn't realize that most of the good claims had already been stacked out, so all through the summer and fall of 1897 and 1898, the route was overwhelmed with the hordes that headed north to the new tent towns of Skagway and Dyea, the new towns that were the starting point for the real difficult journey taking them another 600 miles into the wastelands of winter and snow in the goldfields. Skagway had been started by a steamboat captain named William Moore, whose homestead was soon overrun by 10,000 transient people struggling to get their year's worth of supplies and gear over the Coast Range and past the Yukon headwaters at Lake Bennett and Lindeman. Dyea, was only three miles away at the beginning of Taiya Inlet and had the same problems as Skagway, instead traveling along the Chilkoot Trail and heading into Canada. The Canadian government had issued some requirements for those choosing to head north, that they have a year's supply of food so that they wouldn't starve to death; and some of the recommended supplies would include; 100 pounds of beans, 400 pounds of flour and 200 pounds of bacon.  These gold hopefuls would face their greatest obstacles on the Chilkoot Trail that led out of Dyea and the White Pass Trail that left Skagway. Of course there were murders, suicides, malnutrition, disease, death by avalanche, hypothermia and some, heartbreak. The Chilkoot proved to the most difficult, since its steep slopes wouldn't let animals up them, so the men would have to carry their own supplies, which was incredibly hard. Trams would be constructed in the late 1897 and early 1898, which would help some, but many had so much to carry, it was a very hard time. The White Pass Trail was a real animal killer, as many of the prospectors would overload them and beat them when they tired from carrying the heavy loads. Over 3000 animals would die on this path, and many bones have been found at the base of the Dead Horse gulch. It is said that in the first year, some 20,000 to 30,000 men would spend an average of three months on the trails and passes that led to the lakes area, carrying, dragging, and any other way of getting their supplies and gear to the gold sites. In midsummer, 1898, Dawson had grown to 18,000 with another 5000 working in the diggings, and by August many had become so discouraged that they begin going home; almost all broke and brokenhearted. By the following year, when the next strike was heard at Nome, Alaska, even more headed home, discouraged and saddened beyond belief. 

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  • Seattle Public LibrarySeattle Public Library Seattle, Washington
    The Seattle Public Library serves the entire city of Seattle, Washington and was started in 1890, although there had been earlier efforts in 1868. The system has 26 libraries, most named after the neighborhoods they are located in, as well as mobile units and the Central Library that was opened in 2004. The library also started the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library. Every library except one of their early purpose built libraries were Carnegie Libraries, and even though the central one has been replaced twice, every other 20th century library have survived, with numerous going through some kind of alterations. The city's first try at starting a library was in 1868, when 50 residents had a meeting, but only some success was gained over the next twenty years. It was the Ladies' Library Association that strived to get a library started in 1888. They had raised some funds and gotten a pledge of land from Henry Yesler, but the great fire of 1889 put that idea to rest, for a while. In 1890, the revised city charter would establish the library as part of the city's government and be funded by 10% of the city's fines, licenses and penalties. In 1891, the first library opened as a simple reading room in the third floor of the Occidental Block which would become the Seattle Hotel, and by the end of the year, people could check out or borrow books, which the library had 6541 volumes on hand. In 1901, at the Yesler mansion, the majority of the library was burned, with only the records and 2000 children's books saved, besides those that were out, which amounted to about 5000. Andrew Carnegie gave $200,000 to build a new one, but then added another $20,000 to cover the additional costs. Groundbreaking started in 1905 and dedicated in 1906. The library began to grow again, with donations and bequeathments.

January 11, 2011