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Additional Alaska Geographical Items: Encyclopedia Arctica 12: Alaska, Geography and General
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962

Additional Alaska Geographical Items in alphabetical order

Ruby Collins

760 wds - Text
15 wds - Bibl
AGIAPUK RIVER, western Seward Peninsula, Alaska, drains
an [: ] rea of 700 to 800 miles north of Grantley Harbor and Imuruk Basin,
and empties into the Basin about wenty-four miles from Teller, at about
65° 12′ N.Lat., 165° 40′ W. Long.
Rising in the limestone hills fifteen or twenty miles
northwest of Grantley Harbor, the Agiapuk flows first southward then
eastward along a lowland basin, approximately parallel with the Harbor,
for about [: ] wenty miles to its junction with American River (q.v.), its
main tributary. American River is, in reality, larger than the Agiapuk.
Throughout the east-west part of its course, the Agiapuk drains a broad,
gravel-filled lowland, but, in the vicinity of its head [: ] aters, the valleys
are narrow and the gravel deposits are of small extent.
Collier gives a good description of this [: ] lowland
section of the Agiapuk: "Having an area of about 60 square miles ... it
is dotted over with many lakes, and, from the surrounding hills, it has
the appearance of a filled lake or estuary. As they approach the plain,
the tributaries of the Agiapuk River have broad valleys and flood plains.
A mining sh [: ] ft has been sunk on Allene Creek, one of the tributaries
from the south, and is said to have failed to reach bed rock at a depth
of 65 feet. Below a sur acelayer of gravel, blue clay containing bark
and other driftwood was found. Mammoth bones are reported to be common
within this basin."
Previous to its confluence with American River, the
Agiapuk receives Sunrise, and North Creeks from the south, and innumerable
smaller affluents.


North Creek , itself , is joined by Allene, Swanson, John, North,
Nickle, and Saturday Creeks, all of which rise in the mountains only a
few miles north of Grantley Harbor. Swanson Creek drains from the south–
eastern flank of Mukacharme Mountain, which, [: ] with its associated hills,
forms the divide between streams flowing northward into the Agiapuk and
those flowing southward into Grantley Harbor.
After meeting American River, the Agiapuk bends more and
more southward until it is flowing almost directly south toward Imuruk Basin.
Here the Agiapuk makes many meanders on the broad flood plain, from which
the upland rises by gentle slopes to flat-topped hills with elevations of
600 to 800 feet. For this last twenty-mile stretch, [: ] it is joined by several
unnamed streams as well as by Mitchell, and Flat Creeks.
Collier gives the following description of the Agiapuk in
the first decade of this century: "Being easy of access and supporting a
large Eskimo population, the Agia puk was one of the first streams of Seward
Peninsula to receive attention from prospect [: ] rs, but up to the present time
no rich or extensive deposits of auriferous gravels have been discovered in
its basin. Colors of gold have been found in many of its tributaries and
nearly all of them have been st [: ] ked and prospected. Small amounts of gold
have been produced on Allene Creek...In general the rocks of the Agiapuk
basin are less metamorphosed than the gold-bearing rocks in other parts
of the peninsula. They consist mainly of Silurian limestones that are re–
garded as equivalent to the Port Clarence member of the Nome group and gen–
erally have not been so productive of gold as the lower members of that
group. United States Geological Survey parties traversed part of the
Agiapuk basin in 1901, and again visited the region in 1903, but very few
prospectors were seen on either trip, though prospect holes, claim stakes,
and other evidences of white men were everywhere abundant."


The Agiapuk was not destined to develop into a gold–
producing stream. As a waterway to the richer deposits on American River,
it was important in the [: ] development of this part of Seward Peninsu–
la, but, although as late as 1930 there was a renewal of gold mining
interest along the Agiapuk, [: ] no placers of commercial value
were ever found on it.
Except for the scattered native population, there have
never been any settlements on the Agiapuk.
Beechey was the first white man to record the name of
this river, which, in 1827, he wrote Agee-ee-puk. It has also been
written Ageepuk, Agiopuk, and Ahgeeapuk. The persistent last syllable,
puk, probably means big .
[: ]


U.S. Geological Survey. Water Supply Paper Water Supply Paper No.314. Plate I.
Washington, D.C., 1913.
Collier, Arthur J., and others. Gold Placersof Parts of Seward Gold Placersof Parts of Seward
Peninsula, Alaska. Peninsula, Alaska. Washington, 1908. (U.S. Geological
Survey. Bulletin, No.328)
Brooks, Alfred H., and others. Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and
Norton Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Norton Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Washington, D.C., 1901.
Collier, Arthur J. Reconnaissance of the Northwestern Portion Reconnaissance of the Northwestern Portion of
Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Washington, D.C., 1902.
(U.S. Geological Survey. Professional Paper Professional Paper No.2)
Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. 2d ed. Washington,
D.C., 1906. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin No.299)

23 April 48

ALAGNAK RIVER, ALASKA (Alaganak; Aliknuk; Lockenuck), in the northern part of the Alaska
Peninsula, drains from Kukaklek and Nanwhyenuk Lakes (q.v.) between 59° and
59° 10′ N. Lat. and 155° and 156° W. Long. The Alagnak takes a
generally westerly course across the coastal lowland for about 50 miles and
joins the Kvichak River (q.v.) at its mouth just north of 59° N. Lat.
Tebenkof reported the name in 1849.
The Alagnak is one of the many Bristol Bay rivers reported by the
U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1938 to be poorly surveyed and dangerous
to navigate. These rivers are characterized by a tidal rise at the mouth
of from 15 to 24 feet, by the appearance of shoals and banks at low
tide not only at the mouth but often for [: ] everal miles outside, and by
strong tidal currents running as high as 6 knots. Recent maps show no
settlements on the banks of the Alagnak, although there is a salmon cannery at
its mouth. <formula> 13 12 ﹍ 26 13 ﹍ 6 </formula>
Sources: VS GB; Baker; U.S.C.P & Suppl.
[: ] in Colby; Sundborg

Ruby Collins

1415 wds - Text
50 wds - Bibl
AMERICAN RIVER, sometimes called the North Fork of the Agiapuk
River (q.v.), western Seward Peninsula, Alaska, drains a large area west of
the Kougarok Basin. The American rises in the mountains about forty miles
north of Grantley Harbor (q.v.) and flows in an easterly direction for about
fifteen miles, then t [: ] rns and flows nearly southward for about thirty more
miles to its junction with the Agiapuk.
The upper reaches of the American are torrential, but, for these
last thirty miles, the river meanders torturously across a comparatively
broad, gravel-filled valley. It is navigable for small boats and canoes
for about thirty miles above the mouth.
No ¶ The upper reaches of the American are torrential, but, for these
last thirty miles, the river meanders torturously across a comparatively
broad, gravel-filled valley. It is navigable for small boats and canoes
for about thirty miles above the mouth.
Along its early east-west course, the American is joined by many
unnamed streams, but, starting with its southward bend, the tributaries become
larger and can be identified. The first of these is Portage Creek, coming
in from the north. This river rises in the divide separating the American
from [: ] Shishmaref Inlet and the Arctic Ocean drainage systems. Below this
point, Burke (with its affluent Fisher Creek), Goldrun, Budd, Dome, Camp,
and Igloo Creeks enter the American from the east. Newton Creek, just north
of Camp Creek, is the only named western affluent, but there are a great many
unidentified streams entering from this direction.
Of the eastern affluents, Budd Creek is the most complicated
and economically the most important. About fifteen miles long, it is joined,
three miles from its mouth, by Windy Creek, which itself receives Trilby
Creek a few miles above its junction with Budd. About ten miles above its
mouth Budd Creek forks, the two parts coming from the north and the south, [: ]
their direction being determined by the strike of the bed rocks. This
south fork is called Eldorado Creek. According to Collier: "Below the forks
the creek sinks, leaving its bed dry except in times of high water. After flowing


underground for about two miles, the creek rises again in a number of
springs. This sink occurs where a massive bed of limestone, dipping downstream
at a small angle, cuts across the creek."
Kougarok (Kugruk) Mountain rises up 2,787 feet only a few miles
from the northern headwaters of Budd Creek.
Windy Creek enters Budd from the south about five miles from its
mouth and is it [: e ] self about five miles long. Collier notes that "near the head
of the creek its bed contains many bowlders of greenstone, which are derived
from sills intruded in the limestone near its head. The valley of Windy Creek
is broad and gravel filled. Along the sides of the valley, back from the
creek bed, the gravel extends up the slopes, forming some well-marked gravel
benches. A cut bank of the creek shows 6 feet of muck overlying 6 feet of
Igloo Creek, also called Lewis Creek, enters the American only a
few miles above its junction with the Agiapuk. Again accordin g to Collier,
"this creek, like Budd Creek, flows west across the strike of the bed rock,
which, as on Budd Creek, consists of limestones, calcareous and graphitic
schists, with some intruded sills of greenstone, which are highly altered.
Like Budd Creek, Igloo Creek sinks for about a mile of its course, probably in
crossing the same bed of limestone that causes the sink on Budd Creek. In
its lower course Igloo Creek meanders over a broad flood plain, from which
the hills rise by very gentle slopes to the flat-topped upland. Practically
all of Igloo Creek and its tributaries have been staked, but little evidence
of prospecting or asse [: n ] ssment work and no active mining was being done. (i.e.
in 1901) Colors of gold have been found on the creek, but the exact localities
are not known to the writer. Igloo Creek, except where it sinks in passing
over limestone beds, carries a large amount of water, which is ample for min–
ing the creek bed on a large scale at all seasons."


Igloo Creek has a complex system of tributaries, including Yale,
Magnolia, Mascot, and Blackcrook from the north, and Caribou, Louisville,
Kentucky, Virginia, Ruby, and Lone Creeks from the south. A group of hills
well of over 1,000 feet high separates the headwaters of these northern tributaries
to the Igloo from the headwaters of Trilby and Dome Creeks.
The entire course of American River lies within the permafrost zone.
The ground remains frozen the year around in the mountainous sections of the
upper river, but thaws for a few feet below the surface along the lower flats
section. This area is also beyond the timber line, but small willow and
alder, sometimes measuring only one inch thick, grow along the banks of the
more southerly streams in the system. These can be [: ] used for fuel. The
lowland flats are, during the summer, thickly overgrown with moss, grasses,
and shrubs. These supply forage for pack animals, although summer overland
travel is very difficult because of the thick layer of h a lf-frozen mud over–
laying the frozen sub-soil.
Here, as elsewhere on Seward Peninsula, the best weather comes dur–
ing the long, cold, dark winters. Travelling southward in August from the
Kugruk and over the divide to the headwaters of the America, Collier, in the
company of others from the U.S. Geological Survey, was held up much more by
heavy rain and fog than by the difficulties of the terrain. He mentions low
clouds and heavy fogs again and again, and then, on August 22, while in camp
on Igloo Creek, re p orts that one inch of snow fell followed by "several days
of bad weather." Describing their trip across the lowland flats, he adds, "In
places it was so marshy that the horses would have been lost but for the
solid ice which was found to overlie the moss as a depth of about 2 1/2 feet."
Considering all this, it can be easily understood why the eraly early
miners to American Creek transported equipment almost exclusively by water
in preference to bringing it in directly overland.


Mining The first reports of gold along American and its associated rivers
appears in Brooks, who recorded that Ernest [: ] G. Rognon, the U.S.
Commissioner for the Port Clarence Mining District at Teller, knew of strikes
on Budd and [: ] Burke Creeks in September, 1900. Brooks adds: "Since then
there have been rumors of further discoveries in this drainage basin. Colors
are said to be found on many other creeks. What little information we cou [: ] d
gather about [: ] the bed rock would lead us to believe that the same rock se [: ] ies
occurs on the Agiapuk that is found on the Kugruk. What we know of the trend
of the beds on both sides of this basin would tend to confirm t is view. If
the region becomes a gold producer, it will be found to be easily accessible
from Port Clarence either by boat or by pack train."
Collier, who [: ] rev isited this region in 1901, writes as follows: " [: ] long
the upper parts of Budd Creek many claims have been staked, and assessment work,
consisting of prospect pits and c or ro sscut ditches, has been done in a number of
places. Windy Creek is staked by one company for about 3 miles of its length.
No prospectors were seen on Budd Creek or its tributaries, and no active mining
has been done. This creek carries sufficient water for sluicing, except at the
places where it sinks in passing over limestone. The same is true of Windy
Creek, the large southern tributary."
But this early [: ] show of promise was not destined to develop into
anything significant. After a brief mention, in 1908, of a ditch on Windy
Creek, American River and its tributaries drop out of the story of gold
mining on Seward Peninsula until about 1929, when one company again investigated
the value of the deposits on that stream. These could not have been hopeful
since the creek does not again appear in the mining history of this part of
Due, no doubt, to the failure of prospectors to find gold in


paying quantities anywhere along American River, no settlements have ever
grown up on its banks or on any of its tributaries.
There is now a winter trail running from Teller across Grantley
Harbor and so overland to American River and northward to Shishmaref Inlet.
Via Teller, points on American River are connected with Nome and other towns
on the coast of Norton Sound, with Tin City, and with Shelton, on the [: ] uzitrin,
from which places trails run northward to Kotzebue Sound. There is an 800-foot
landing strip on Windy Creek, but no other airplane facilities in the Americ [: ] n
River system.


Brooks, Alfred H. (and others) Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton
Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Washington, 1901.
Henshaw, F.F. Surface Water Supply of Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Surface Water Supply of Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Washington,
1913. (U.S. Geological Survey. Water-Supply Paper Water-Supply Paper 314)
Collier, Arthur J. (and others) Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula,
Alaska. Alaska. Washington, 1908. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin
Collier, Arthur J. Reconnaissance of the Northwestern Portion of Seward Reconnaissance of the Northwestern Portion of Seward
Peninsula, Alaska. Peninsula, Alaska. Washington, 1902. (U.S. Geological Surv [: ] y.
Professional Paper Professional Paper No.2)
Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. 2d ed. Washington, 1906.
(U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin No.299)
U.S. Geological Survey. Alaskan Mineral Resources Alaskan Mineral Resources , 1907. Washington, 1908.

Ruby Collins 1,755 wds-Text ANIKOVIK RIVER, ALASKA
February, 1949

50 wds-Bibl.
ANIKOVIK RIVER (Anakovik) western Seward Peninsula, Ala ks sk a,
empties into Bering Sea a few miles west of Cape York and south of Cape Prince
of Wales.
Of the section of coast enclosing the Anikovik, Captain F.W.
Beechey wrote, in 1827: "To the southward of Cape Prince of Wales the coast
trends nearly due east, and assumes a totally different character to that which
leads to Schismareff Inlet, being bounded by steep rocky cliffs, and broken by
deep valleys, while the other is low and swampy ground. The river called
by the natives Youp-nut (the present Anikovik) must lie in one of these valleys;
and in all probability it is in that which opens out near a bold promontory,
to which I have given the name of York, in honour of his late Royal Highness.
On nearing that part of the coast we found the water more shallow than usual."
Lutke recorded the name of this river as the Up-nut, but, since
Brooks' U.S. Geological Survey report of 1900, this the Eskimo name has, with great
consistency, retained its present form.
The Anikovik rises in the York Mountains about fifteen miles from
the coast, leaves these mountains by a westerly course and then flows almost
directly south into the sea. Throughout the greater part of its length it
flows across the York Plateau, in which it has cut a comparatively broad
valley. The lower river has a broad , flat flood plain from one hundred y ards
to one-half a mile in width. The gravels here measure several feet deep
and from two to three hundred feet wide.
Writing in 1900, Brooks remarks: "In the upper part of its course
the river flows in greenstones, but below its bend to the south it cuts the
phyllites and slates which have already been referred to. It carries colors
for the lower 10 miles of its course, but no paying claims have yet been devel–
oped on it. On some claims about 2 miles from the sea a little prospecting has
been done, and it is claimed that the yields show 10 to 15 cents to the pan.


The nugge st ts are sometimes chunky and sometimes flat. The former are probably
from the quartz-calcite blebs and the latter from the mineralized slates. The
gold is usually rounded and well polished. Much magnetite occurs with the gold.
A rough estimate of the fall of Anakovik River makes it about 15 to 18 feet
per mile."
The main tributaries to the Anikovik are Ishut, Buhner, and Deer
Creeks from the west, and Moonlight, Banner, and Flat Creeks from the east.
Estimating the gold-bearing potentials of these streams, Brooks
felt that the basin-shaped valley of the upper Ishut, Buhner, and
Deer Creeks offered the best pooepots prospects , since they all ran over bed-rock slates
which had proved to be mineralized elsewhere in the district. The original
discovery of coarse gold in the York district was made on Buhner Creek, but at
the time of Brooks' report (1900) little prospecting had been done there.
Collier reports, in 1901, that the entire season for that year probably produced
only about $200 in gold.
In 1903, only one party of prospectors mined the gravels of the
river and they earned only $600 for one month's work. About half a mile from
the coast, the river water was diverted by a ditch so that the river bed was
exposed. The gravels here contained small amounts of gold, but could have be en
worked profitably only by a large company owning several [: ] miles of
Nothing more is heard of the Anikovik placers until 1914, when
the American Gold Dredging Company put two dredges there and operated for both
tin and gold at the same time. One of these dredges had formerly been used
on Peluk Creek, near Nome. After being towed along the shore of Bering Sea
to the mouth of the Anikovik, it d ug its own way across the bar and into the
river. But gold was never to prove a large source of income in this part of
Seward Peninsula. Here, contrary to other districts on all sides, tin becamse promised to become


the most important product.
It was Alfred H. Brooks, while on a U.S. Geological Survey recon–
naissance of Seward Peninsula, in 1900, who first recognized
evidences of stream tin (cassiterite) on Buhner Creek and Anikovik River.
This tin, ignored by the prospectors in the region, was found associated with
the gold in these two streams. With characteristic modesty and caution, Brooks
remarks, "It is worth while to call the attention of the prospectors and miners
to the desirability of being on the lookout for stream tin, and, if possible,
of tracing it [: ] to its source in the bed rock. From the description of the
occurrence which has been given it is plain that its source can not be far
When Collier visited this region during the summer of 1901, the
prospectors had only just receive d the bulletin in which Brooks described his
findings. Up to this time they had ignored this heavy metal which they found
associated with garnets, magnetite, and gold in the sluice boxes. Subsequent
to Collier's departure , considerable prospecting for tin was done with the result
that it was found on the Anikovik and all its tributaries, as well as on
Baituk Creek and other streams flowing into Bering Sea. It was also found
on Grouse, Buck, Yankee, Mint, and other waterw a ys flowing northward from the
other side of the York Mountains into the Arctic Ocean.
Collier explains the presence of tin in these streams in the
following manner: "The region about York in which the Anikovik River and other
tin-bearing streams are located has, in recent geologic time, been reduced to
a plain, possibly in part by wave action and in part by subaerial erosion. At
this time a considerable thickness of rock strata was undoubtedly removed by
erosive agencies, and the heavier constituents of these rock masses must have
been more or less concentrated upon the plain surve surface . Subsequent to this base–
leveling the York p lain has been elevated to a plateau, which has been dissected


by the creeks and rivers of the region. That t he elevation of this plateau
is an occur r ence of comparatively recent geologic time is shown by the fact
that the smaller creeks flow in sharply cut V-shaped canyons, and have scarcely
begun to broaden their valleys. As these valleys and canyons are developed,
the heavier materials of the surface are naturally reconcentrated in them. If
during the base-leveling period the heavier concentrates of the erosive agencies
were transported to any extent from their original sources, and if they are again
concentrated in subsequent creek beds, they may be found removed some distance
from their original sources. It is possible that the rocks from which they came
may in some instances have been wholly removed, leaving no evidence in the present
bed rock to show what they may have been.
"Waterworn pebbles and bowlders of [: ] gabbroic greenstone of the
type which forms large masses about the head of the Anikovik River are common
in the beds of the Anikovik River and Grouse Creek. These bowlders are frequent
along Buhner Creek, where the tin was first found. No rock of this character
has been found in the bed rock within the Buhner Creek Basin, or indeed within
5 miles of Buhner Creek. There is no evidence that these bowlders were trans–
ported to their present place otherwise than by being rolled along with currents
of water. The possibility of their being floated on shore ice at some time of
submergence must be considered. The wide distribution of the stream tin in
this region, together with the fact that pebbles and bowlders of known origin
have been widely distributed independently of the present drainage, suggest
at least that the original source of the stream tin may be some distance from
the present deposits, and is not necessarily to be found within the present
drainage of the streams where it occurs. Acid igneous intrusions, such as
Cassiterite veins, are usually associated with, are found in Cape Mountain and
Brooks Mountain. The slates of Brooks Mountain have suffered great metamor–
phism. The York River, which is reported to be very rich in tin, heads in this
mountain and carries granite pebbles and bowlders, which suggests that the tin


had its origin near the granite contact. The wide distribution of this mineral
in the creeks of the York district justified the belief that the veins from
which it is derived will yet be discovered."
With the discovery of lode tin on Cassiterite Creek, in 1903,
interest in tin mining grew. Much prospecting and mining were done throughout
the York district. By 1905 a reported 130 tons of tin ore concentrates had been
shipped to the States. These concentrates averaged 65% tin, or 1,300 pounds
of tin to the ton. With tin selling at 29-30 cents per pound at that time,
the value of these shipments can easily be estimated. However, the cost of
transporting them Outside and, in several instances, to Europe, plus the cost of
smelting, probably ate up most of the profit. Although the United States was and is the
largest consumer of tin in the world, this was the first discovery of that
metal in the United States or its possessions with the result that smelters
in the United States were not equipped for reducing tin ores. This lack of
smelting equipment worked an early hardship on the new industry and has con–
tinued to do so ever since.
In 1905, Harrison wrote: "Considered in the light of all available
data I believe that tin mining in Seward Peninsula is a very promising industry.
Any person [: ] familiar with quartz mining knows that a great deal of expense is
connected with the development of ledges, and money nust be expended in order to
develop the tin ledges of this part of Alaska. Transportation facilities
must be provided so that the ores can be transported from the mines to the sea–
board, and thence to a smelter conveniently and favorably situated. It is the
general opinion that this smelter should be const ur ru cted somewhere on Puget
Sound. The large quantity of fuel required for smelting ores makes it apparent
that the tin ore can be concentrated and the concentrates shipped to a smelter
on Puget Sound and reduced there at a less cost than fuel [: ] can be shipped to
Alaska and used by a smelter to secure the same results at the mines. The


development of the tin mines of Alaska is simply a question of time and the
intelligent use of capital."
For an explanation of the failure of these high hopes for the
Alaskan tin industry see the article on Tin City York mountains.



Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.
(U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin No. 299)

Beechey, F.W. Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait .
London, 1831.

Brooks, Alfred H. (and others) Mineral Resources of Alaska. Report on Progress Mineral Resources of Alaska. Report on Progress
of Investigations in 1914 of Investigations in 1914 . Washington, 1915. (U.S. Geological
Survey. Bulletin 622 Bulletin 622 )

Brooks, Alfred H. (and others) Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton
Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900 Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900 . Washington, 1901.

Collier, Arthur J. Reconnaissance of the Northwestern Portion of Seward Reconnaissance of the Northwestern Portion of Seward
Peninsula, Alaska. Peninsula, Alaska. Washington, 1902. (U.S. Geological Survey.
Professional Paper Professional Paper No.2)

Harrison, E.S. Nome and Seward Peninsula Nome and Seward Peninsula . Seattle, 1905.

May, 1949
350 wds

ANIUK RIVER, northwestern Alaska, one of the major northern
tributaries to the Noatak (q.v.), heads in the vicinity of Howard Pass, in
the Brooks range, and flows in a generally southwesterly direction to the
Many of the tributary valleys of the Aniuk have the open U–
shaped formations typical of valleys previously occupied by glaciers.
Fauna Creek, one of the early tributaries to the Aniuk, rises
on the south side of a 4,680-foot peak in the Range, and the first several
miles of the main river pass [: ] between mountains attaining ever higher
elevations that this. Soon, however, the Aniuk plunges down upon the broad
lowland , to which it gives its name , and across which it works a widely
meandering course for about twenty-five miles. Many travelers have note d
that the Aniuk adds a large amount of clear water to the Noatak.
The entire lowland section and all but the steepest and
highest parts of the mountainous section of the Anuik [: ] valley are
covered with an unbroken growth of grasses, sedges, mosses, lichens, and stunted
bushes. Where this growth is thick, it retards the thawing of the underlying
permafrost layer (q.v.) and absorbs great quantities of moisture. Thereby
is formed the spongy cushion of low-growing vegetation so characteristic
of arctic and sub-arctic regions. Summer travel across such terrain is accutely
exhausting since, with every step, the entire foot and sometimes much of the
leg punches through the surface growth and into the underlying half-frozen
gravels beneath.
Although the winter trails which lace most of Alaska do not
reach up the Noatak and its tributaries, the pass, mentioned above, from the
headwaters of the Aniuk to the Ipnavik, a tributary to the Colville (q.v.),
is much used by the Eskimos living on both sides of the Brooks R ange.


Stoney mentions a settlement on the Aniuk, named for the river, but this
would seem to have disappeared sometime during the last fifty years.
Smith, P.S. Geology and Mineral Resources of Northwestern Alaska Geology and Mineral Resources of Northwestern Alaska . Washington,
1930.(U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 815)
Smith, P.S. Noatak-Kobuk Region, Alaska Noatak-Kobuk Region, Alaska . Washington, 1913. (U.S. Geological
Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 536)
Stoney, G.M. Naval Explorations in Alaska. Naval Explorations in Alaska. Annapolis, Md., 1900.

Ruby Collins 120 wds ARCTIC LAGOON, ALASKA
February, 1949

ARCTIC LAGOON, on the northwestern shore of Seward Peninsula,
Alaska, appears as such on Gibson's 1908 map of the Peninsula, but is uniden–
tified on more recent maps.
This shallow body of water, which is separated from the Arctic Polar
Ocean Sea by a narrow sandspit, receives many of the streams in the northern
drainage system of the York Mountains. These include the Pinauk, Nuluk, and
Kugrupaga rivers (q.v.), and Trout Creek. Several other tributaries to this
lagoon are unnamed.
The lagoon, which lies between Lopp Lagoon and Shish [: ] maref Inlet,
is about twenty-four miles long and about four miles wide at the widest greatest . The
Eskimo village of Sinrazat lies on the sandspit at a point where it is
interrupted, a few miles from the northern end of the lagoon.
Source: Gibson, Arthur. Map of Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Nome, Alaska, 1908.

July, 1948

456 wds
AROLIC RIVER, southewestern Alaska, enters Kuskokwim Bay via
two channels, North Mouth and South Mouth, about midway along the
eastern side of the bay just north of 59° 40′ N. Lat.
The Arolic is formed by the junction of two streams, South Fork
and East Fork. South Fork is fed by streams rising in a chain of peaks
of the Ahklun Mountains which forms the divide between its waters and
those of the Goodnews River. South Fork receives many unnamed tribu–
taries all along its course which trends northward along the valley
east of Island Mountain and so to its junction with East Fork. This
fork drains from a mountain lake which lies in the Ahklun Range at about
59° 25′ N. Lat., [: ] 161° W. Long. and trends in a westerly direction
for about 8 miles. to its [: ] confluence with South Fork. A few miles
south of this junction Dear and Fox Creeks enter from the south,
and in the same vicinity an unnamed tributary, fed by Tyone, Keno, and
Flat Creeks, which rise in the vicinity of Thumb Mountain, and another
shorter stream, Snow Creek, enter from the north.
Another group of streams in the Arolic system flows down from
the eastern slopes of the chain formed by Figure Four Mountain, Yoke Moun–
tain, and Yukon Hill, just east of Jacksmith Bay (q.v.). These, from
south to north are: Domingo, Lucky, McLane, Red Lodger, Canyon,
Minnesota, and Boulder Creeks. These flow in a generally northeasterly
direction to the stream which trends northward along the valley floor to
join the Arolic about 5 miles southeast of Yukon Hill. Another group
of streams rises in the vicinity of Island Mountain on the eastern
side of the valley. These from south to north are: Faro, Dry, Kowkow,
Trail, and Butte Creeks, all of which flow in a generally northwesterly
direction to the main river of the valley.


After this junction the Arolic receives no tributaries and flows
in a northwesterly direction for about 8 miles at which point it
divides and follows two channels, North Mouth and South Mouth, to
Kuskokwim Bay. South Mouth, for part of its length, itself divides
in two, but it joins again about two miles from the bay. Measuring
from the confluence of South and East Forks the Arolic is about 30
miles long.
Since the discovery of gold near Butte Creek in 1900
small-scale mining has been carried on in the vicinity north of Island
Mountain. In 1939 the Goodnews Bay Mining Co. transferred a dragline
from Platinum Creek, Goodnews Bay, to an unspecified point near
Butte Creek on the Arolic River. Wilson & Horner [: ] were reported in
1947 to be working a gold placer, with a crew of four, on Canyon Creek.
The only settlement on the river is Arolic on the North Mouth
near the Bay.
Sources: Tewkesbury; VSGB
° in Baker; USCP; Colby

March, 1949

BALDWIN PENINSULA is an irregular extension of the northwest–
ern part of Alaska separating Selawik Lake and Hotham Inlet from Kotzebue
Sound, an arm of the Polar Sea.
This peninsula is nine or ten miles wide at the point at which
it leaves the mainland. About fifteen miles northwest of this point the pen–
insula forms Atti [: n ] nuk Point, the southern entrance point in to Selawik Lake, (q.v.)
while at the same time the southern side of the peninsula forms the northern
shoreline of Eschscholtz Bay (q.v.) In this vicinity, A a finger-like extension of the southern side
of the peninsula at this point is called Choris Peninsula, which extends
southward toward Chamisso Island (q.v.) and separat ing es Eschscholtz Bay from
Kotzebue Sound. Here the main body of the peninsula resembles an isosceles
triangle, but almost immediately the apex of this triangle stretches northwest–
ward in a thin neck of land which, after about fourteen miles, widens to form
the square, club-like head of the peninsula. Th is e head is about nineteen
miles long and about twelve miles wide at the greatest. The final two-thirds
of the peninsula forms the southern shoreline of Hotham Inlet, and the
northern shoreline of Kotzebue Sound.
The promontories on the head of the peninsula are: Pipe Spit,
near the entrance to Hotham Inlet; and Nimiuk Point, about midway of the
northen side of the peninsula; and Cape Blossom on the Kotzebue Sound,
side, approximately opposite Nimiuk Point.
Throughout it area Baldwin Peninsula is spattered with
tiny lakes and laced with equally small streams.
Choris Peninsula has two 300-foot hills separated by a low,
sandy neck of land. For some distance N n orthward of this point, Baldwin Peninsula is low
but then rises into low bluffs. These bluffs, which continue across to
Hotham Inlet, are the most unusual feature of the peninsula, since they are


composed of ice and frozen mud. The bluffs are gradually melting and sliding
down into the Inlet. The bluffs on the Kotzebue Sound side of the Peninsula
are highest in the vicinity of Cape Blossom, where a flashing light is shown
from a small white house about 200 feet above the water.
Capt. F.W. Beechey, R. N., in H.M.S. Blossom , explored this
part of Alaska in September, 1826. He named this promontory after his ship.
After examining the icy bluffs in the vicinity of the cape, he wrote:
"In another excursion which I made along the north side of the sound [ Kotzebue
Sound ] , I landed at a cape which had been named after the ship, and had the
satisfaction of examining an ice formation of a similar nature to that in
Escholtz Bay, only more extensive, and having a contrary aspect. The ice
here, instead of merely forming a shield to the cliff, was imbedded in the
indentations along its edge, filling them up nearly even with the front. A
quantity of fallen earth was accumulated at the base of the cliff, which
uniting with the earthy spaces intervening between the beds of ice, might lead
a person to imagine that the ice formed the cliff, and supported a soil two or
three feet thick, part of which appeared to have been precipitated over the
brow. But on examining it above, the ice was found to be detached from the
cliff at the back of it; and in a few instances so much so, that there were
deep chasms between the two. These chasms are no doubt widened by the tendency
the ice must have towards the edge of t h e cliff; and I have no doubt the beds
of ice are occasionally loosened, and fall upon the beach, where, if they are
not carried away by the sea, th e y become covered with the earthy materials
from above, and perhaps remain some time immured. In some places the cliff was
undermined, and the surface in general was very rugged; but it was evident in
this as in the former instance, that the ice was lodged in hollow places in
the cliff. While we continued here we had an example of the manner in which
the face of the cliff might obtain an icy covering similar to that in Escholtz


Bay. There had been a sharp frost during the night, which froze a number of
small streams that were trickling down the face of the cliff, and cased those
parts of it with a sheet of ice, which, if the oozings from the cliff and the
freezing process were continued, would without doubt form a thick coating to
"Upon the beach, under the cliffs, there was an abundance of
drift birch and pine wood, among which there was a fir-tree three feet in
diameter. This tree, and another, which by the appearance of its bark had
been recently torn up by the roots, had been washed up since our visit to this
spot in July; but from whence they came we could not even form a conjecture, as
we frequently remarked the absence of fl o ating timber both in the sound and
in the strait."
In contradiction to Beechey's findings, is the statement
from the report of the 1881 cruise of the Corwin , under Captain C. L. Hooper,
which reads in part: "Cape Blossom is the northwestern termination of the
peninsula between Hotham Inlet and Seolowick [ Selawik ] Lake on one side and
Kotzebue Sound on the other. It presents seaward a sheer cliff, which was
described by Beechey as having an ice formation similar to that at Elephant
Point, to be described hereafter. Although I visited this place several times
during my two cruises, yet I saw no signs of ice against the face of the cliff
like that at Elephant Point, which remains the same from year to year. Cape
Blossom is highest at its western extremity and gradually becomes lower to the
eastward, until it forms only a low narrow neck, across which the natives easily
draw their boats. To the northwest of the cape a shoal extends eight miles
from the shore, and as it shoals up suddenly inside the seven-fathom curve,
it is [: ] very dangerous and should be approached, even in clear weather,
with great caution."


There must have been some kind of ice formation in this area,
however, for as late as 1901, Mendenhall gives what he feels is the definitive
explanation of these cliffs: "Many writers since Kotzebue have discussed the
origin of these ice cliffs, but the explanation given by Mr. L. M. Turner,
Messrs. E. W. Nelson and C. L. Hooper, and Prof. I.C. Russell seems to be
entirely adequate. It is that many of the numerous lakelets scattered about
over the tundra are gradually buried by the advance of their mossy borders
toward the center. After their burial they are frozen, as is the entire tundra,
a few inches below its surface and are later revealed by lateral river cutting,
as in the Kowak delta, or by the work of waves, as at Elephant Point, and
appear as masses of comparatively clear ice in the general deposit of frozen
mud, sands, and vegetable matter."
Kotzebue (q.v.), the only named town on Baldwin Peninsula,
occupies very nearly the same site as the former native settlement of
Kikiktak Kikiktak , which Stoney recorded as Ki-ra-targ-ga-roak Ki-ra-targ-ga-roak in 1886. As early
as 1880 , this settlement had a known summer population of two hundred or more,
and has remained an important trading and distribution point ever since.
The coast northward from Cape Blossom to the mouth of
Hotham Inlet is still the summer gathering place for the natives of this
entire region. For the purpose of trading and fishing they come down the
major rivers of the mainland on the east, from as far west as Cape Prince
of Wales, the Diomedes, and King Island, and from as far north as Point
Hope, one hundred and fifty miles up the coast of the Polar Sea.
A northern [: ] branch of the winter trail around Norton
Sound and across Seward Peninsula connects Baldwin Peninsula with settlements
to the south. Branches of this trail lead eastward up the Kobuk River, and
northward along the Polar Sea to Barrow.
Several herds of reindeer graze on Baldwin Peninsula,
and meat in any quantity may be obtained there.



Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. 2d ed. Washington, 1906.
(U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin No. 299)

Beechey, F.W. Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait ...
in the Years 1825, 26, 27, 28.

Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait ...
in the Years 1825, 26, 27, 28.
London, 1831. 2v.

Hooper, C.L. Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenue Steamer Thomas Corwin,
in the Arctic Ocean, 1881

Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenue Steamer Thomas Corwin,
in the Arctic Ocean, 1881
. Washington, 1884.

Mendenhall, W.C. Recon n aissance from Fort Hamlin to Kotzebue Sound, Alaska Recon n aissance from Fort Hamlin to Kotzebue Sound, Alaska .
Washington, 1902. Washington, 1902. (U.S. Geological Survey. Professional

Stoney, G.M. Naval Explorations in Alaska. Naval Explorations in Alaska. Annapolis, Md., 1900.

United States Coast Pilot. Alaska. Part II United States Coast Pilot. Alaska. Part II . 5th (1947) edition. Washington,

VS Guidebook for Alaska VS Guidebook for Alaska

22 April 48

60 w
BATTLE LAKE, ALASKA, in the northern section of the Alaska Peninsula,
is a narrow, spoon-shaped lake, about 9 miles long, lying in a valley southeast
of Lake Kukaklek (q.v.) and about 5 or 6 miles north of Lake Kulik (q.v.), near
59° N. Lat. and 155° W. Long. Battle Lake is surrounded on all sides by
mountains 2,000 to 3,000 feet high from which several small stream flows into
the lake.
Sources: VS GB: Baker; Aeronautical Chart No.136

21 April 48

BECHAROF LAKE, ALASKA (Becharoff, Betchareff, Bocharof, Bochonoff)
the largest lake on the Alaska Peninsula, extends northwest-southeast across
58° N. Lat. from about 155° 55′ to 156° 53′ W. Long. The lake is roughly
rectangular in shape except for a tail-like extension from its southeastern
corner. The main body of the lake is about 15 miles wide and 36 miles long,
to which the southeastern extension adds approximately 19 miles of varying
widths. Severson Peninsula extends about 7 miles straight into the lake from
its southeastern shore, leaving only a two-mile entrance to the southern
arm. The farthest tip of this arm is only a scant five miles from Portage
Bay, Shelikof Strait, on the northeastern side of the Alaska Peninsula. The
Kejulik River has its source in the mountains northeast of Becharof Lake.
It follows a winding, southwesterly course, and is fed by Gas Creek,
Margaret Creek, Catrine Creek, and several unnamed tributaries. Kejulik
River runs into the eastern and of Becharof Lake just above Severson Peninsula.
The Egegik River (q.v.) drains from the northwestern end of the lake. A
winter trail connecting Kanatak (q.v.), on Portage Bay, with Egegik, Naknek,
and Koggiung (q.v.), on Kvichak Bay, runs along the south shore of
Becharof Lake.
Becharof Lake was named after a master in the Russian Navy who was
at Kodiak Island in 1788. <formula> 18 12 ﹍ 36 18 ﹍ 216 </formula>
Sources: Baker; U.S.C.P.: VS GB
+ suppl

August, 1948

192 w. Text
25 Bibl
Besboro Island, Norton Sound, about 11 miles off the
west coast of Alaska, is really the top of a mountain protruding 1,012
feet above the sound. Although the western side of western side of
the island is bold-to, a shoal extends for about two miles in a
northeasterly direction from the northern end. Sailing south from
Cape Denbigh, Captain James Cook, who named this island, was
deflected by this same shoal on September 17, 1778. "At seven we
were abreast of Besborough Isle," wrote Ellis, assistant surgeon to
the Cook expedition, "between which and the main we proposed going,
but in the space of ten minutes we shoaled our water from ten to four
fathoms and a quarter, so of course tacked ship and stood SW our distance
form the island being three-quarters of a mile s ." In 1870 Dall reported:
"When the snow melts and the ice goes out of the small rivers ...
myriads of water-fowl arrive, and breed on the steep cliffs of
Besboro Island." There are no settlements on Besboro Island, but
it is an important landmark, since it can be seen from St. Mich ea ae l
Island (q.v.) on a clear day.
192 wds
Ellis, W. Authentic narrative of a voyage performed by Captain Cook and Authentic narrative of a voyage performed by Captain Cook and
Captain Clerke ... during the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, Captain Clerke ... during the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779,
and 1780; in search of a North-West Passage. and 1780; in search of a North-West Passage. London,
G. Robinson, 1782.
Dall. Alaska and its resources. Alaska and its resources. Boston, Lee & Shepard, 1870.
U.S.C.P. & Suppl.
50 wds bibl.

14 July 1948

BETHEL, ALASKA, about 65 miles up the Kuskokwim River, is
the center of trading, religious, and education al activities for the entire
lower Kuskokwim Valley. It was founded in 1885 as a Moravian Mission by
William H. Weinland and John H. Kilbuck.
Bethel, with a reported 376, but an estimated population of 450,
of [: ] which about one-third is white and two-thirds are Eskimo, is the
metropolis for this section of Alaska. During the summer season of naviga–
tion freight and passenger vessels make regular trips between Seattle and
Bethel. Bethel is the head of deep water navigation up the Kuskokwim
and therefore the point at which cargoes are transferred to lighters for
the remainder of their journey to Akiak, Napamiute, Sleitmut and McGrath,
to name only a few of the many towns and villages along the more than 500–
mile course of the Kuskokwim. Bethel has one lighterage and two river
transportation companies to handle this traffic , but T the airplane however
is fast replacing this slower method of freighting. Bethel has a new two
, a 2,800 - foot airfield on the town on west side of the river and a 5,000–
foot hand-surfaced landing area on the east side directily across from the town Bethel receives

airmail service from Anchorage, and mail, express, and
passenger air service from Fairbanks. There are two post office s one
a third-class Government office and another run by the U.S. Army.
Regular mail deliveries arrive monthly by way of the Yukon and Holy Cross
Mission. From the Mission it is carried over the Portage to the Kuskokwim
and then down the Kuskokwim in small boats as far as Kinak on the west
side of the mouth. The Alaska Communications System of the U.S. Army
maintains a telegraph and radio station in Bethel, several airlines
maintain radio stations, and, in [: ] 1940, the Moravian Mission Orphanage
was operating station KEP. Despite the fact that swamps and marshes border
both sides of the lower Kuskokwim, Bethel is connected by road with
Tuluksak, 40 miles up the river, and with Kwinhagek, 90 miles to the south,


at the mouth of the Kanektok River (q.v), Kuskokwim Bay.
The Moravian Mission runs an orphange which housed 33 children
in 1947 and maintains a training school each year from January 1 to
March 15. In December, 1947, there were at least three members serving
the mission. This mission owns a reindeer herd which, in 1942, was
estimated to have increased beyond 4,000 head. Bethel also has a
Native school, a Territorial school, a modern $250,000 Government
hospital for Natives, and a resident Deputy Marshal.
The chief activities of the area are fishing, fur trading, and
placer gold mining. In 1947 Bethel had 5 licensed fur dealers and one
fur farmer. That same year three companies, Marvel Creek Mining Co.,
Peandori Placer Mining Co., and Wilson & Horner were operating gold
placers on Marvel, Cripple, and Canyon Creeks, respectively. These
streams lie southeast of Bethel between it and the most northerly of
the Tikchik Lakes (q.v.). The placers are equipped with draglines,
bulldozers, and hydraulics. Marvel Creek Mining Co. operated during 1945
although many other mines throughout Alaska shut down during World War II
because of the shortage and the high cost of labor.
Bethel is seriously endangered by the storms which accompany the
spring break - up each year. These storms cause the [: ] Kuskokwim to erode
its banks at the Mission end of the town. In 1947 the river cut into
the graveyard, opened graves , and caskets, and carried away bodies.
A store and several houses have been moved away from the banks along
Front Street, but the Territorial and Federal Schools, and the airport
are threatened unless more permanent protective measures are taken. Nels
Anderson, Chairman of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, recommended in 1939
that the entire town be moved back from the river to higher ground. In
1946 this had not yet been done, and the Deputy Marshal, although


approving the idea, explained that since the town lay between the river
and a swamp, the evacuation would be extremely difficult. In February,
1947, Bethel citizens were recommending that a road be built over this
swamp before the spring breakup and the entire town moved to the ridge
beyond it, a safe mile from the river. This mass movement would have
been easier before Bethel had reached its present proportions. By
1947 the town had two private air carriers, 6 general stores, 2 liquor
stores, 3 restaurants, a water, light, and power company, a theater,
bakery, book dealer, and billiard parlor. Provisions and gasoline may
be obtained in the town as well as limited supplies of coal although
the price of coal is very high. Because of the number and size of the
reindeer herds in the vicinity, deer meat is available and reasonably
The territory around Bethel is swamp and treeless tundra.
Caribou abound and hundreds of thousands of geese and ducks of many
varieties breed in the lake-studded area northwest of the town. The
peninsula between the mouths of the Kuskokwim and the Yukon Rivers is
the breeding ground for the game fowl not only of western Alaska but also
of western Canada and the United States.
The weather is characterized by a high relative humidity,
strong winds, a comparatively light snowfall and temperatures ranging
from the mid-seventies to the sub-zero fifties. The following chart
reproduces in part the 1947 U.S. Weather Bureau Report for Bethel:
Sources: VSGB; USCP; Tewkesbury; Colby; Sundborg; Annabel; Tuttle
Bethel Weather Report -1947 T-Trace
Temp. of the Air Mean Relative Humidity l Precipitation Tota in Inches Wind Clear Days Cloudy and Partly Cloudy Days Snow fall Total in Inches
Maximum Velocity Aver. Hourly Velocity MPH Prevailing Direction.
Max. Date Min. Date MPH Direct.
Jan. 36° 5 ࢤ52° 25 87 2.10 - - 10.5 N 16 15 20.2
Feb. 47° 8 ࢤ45° 2 83 0.34 - - 12.4 NE 11 17 2.9
Mar. 39° 18 ࢤ27° 13 84 14.00 24 NE 0.8 NE 11 20 1.5
Apr. 49° 27 ࢤ4° - 85 0.13 - 34 - 10.2 N 8 22
May. 74° 31 21° 1 77 0.62 34 - 8.6 S 0 31 2.3
June. 73° 17 37° 2 76 2.64 40 - 8.9 S 0 30 0
July. 75° 19 42° 11 86 2.23 - - 9.3 S 2 29 0
Aug. No Report
Sept. 56° 10 25° 25 82 1.52 40 S 10.0 NW 2 28 T
Oct. 52° 6 19 87 0.95 34 - 11.0 NE 3 28 4.9
Nov. 45° 21 ࢤ5° 16 94 1.32 38 - 11.0 NE 2 28 9.2
Dec. 38° 3 ࢤ26° 29 92 0.83 36 - 10.2 NE 3 28 4.5

November, 1948

1,000 wds-Text
50 wds - Bibl
BLUESTONE RIVER, western Seward Peninsula, Al a ska, was the site of
an initially rich but later disappointing gold strike in 1900, and was
named by Barnard, of the U.S. Geological Survey, that same year.
The Bluestone rises south of Grantley Harbor (q.v.) and southeast
of Port Clarence (q.v.), in a basin-shaped valley in the foothills of
the Kigluaik Mountains, and flows in a generally northeasterly direction
to Tuksuk Channel. This is the channel which connects Grantley Harbor with
Imuruk Basin (q.v.).
From the one thousand-foot heights overlooking the Bluestone
Basin, several small streams flow down into the Bluestone. Travelling
down-stream these are: Alder, Right Fork, Ruby, Lucky Strike, Leroy, and
Gold Creeks.
Right Fork is joined by Ring, Eagle, and Windy Creeks. None of
these streams is more than ten miles long, and [: ] most of them are consider–
ably shorter.
Brooks points out that, while the small streams in this vicinity
have comparatively straight valleys, the larger waterways, of which the
Bluestone is a good example, twist and turn most unexpectedly. "The
Bluestone," he continues, "... flows through a broad, flat valley nearly
east, then turning northward at an angle of 80° continues in this direct–
tion with the same character of the valley for about 4 miles, then, turn–
ing northeasterly, enters a narrow rock canyon. On emerging from the
canyon, about 5 miles below, it enters a broad valley again, and after
two more right-angle bends flows into Tisuk [Tuksuk] Channel. These irregularities [: ]
[: ] ... are change of


In 1900, Brooks, continues, reported " P p lacer gold has been reported from
many creeks of the district, but so far the only claims that have been
worked are on Gold Run, a name given to the Upper Bluestone, and on
Alder Creek, a tributary of Gold Run. At a number of other creeks suffici–
ent prospecting has been done to show the presence of placer gold. The
placers which have thus far produced gold in the region all lie immediately
above the canyon on Gold Run and its tributaries...The gravels are coarse
and frequently contain large bowlders, which suggest ice transportation.
The surface indications are usually not particularly favorable, though
as high as 50 cents to the pan has been obtained. On bed rock fabulously
rich pans have been reported, and $2 to $3 pans are no uncommon.
The largest nugget which had been found at the time of the writer's visit
was worth somewhat under $100. The gold is, as a rule, coarse, dark
colored, and of irregular outline."
From this account, report it can readily be understood why hopes ran so
high for the Bluestone District directly after the 1900 strike. This
enthusiasm persisted for about ten years, by which time most claims had
been worked out, and mining activities gradually decreased.
In 1908 these was a town a t the mouth of Alder Creek called Sullivan.
This could be reached by wagon road from Teller, eighteen miles away.
There was also a road leading across [: ] a low divide to the head of
Tisuk Creek, then down the Feather River, to Norton Sound and Bering Sea. During the
summer months stages ran daily from Sullivan to both these points.
In addition to the richness of the original strikes in the Blue–
stone are a , one of the reasons for the optimism of the stampeders to the dis–
trict was the anticipated ease with which supplies could be brought in.


Many of the original claim holders had come from Nome (q.v.). They
knew from experience of the disadvantages and dangers of the Nome road–
stead; they had probably waited for supplies to be lightered ashore at
Nome, and had perhaps lost some much-needed equipment in the storms
which sweep the Nome beach every summer. Port Clarence was known to be
the deepst and safest harbor anywhere on the coast of Seward Peninsula , and
T the Bluestone miners expected that cargoes could easily be landed at
Teller. However, this expectation was short-lived. Shoal water also
edges Port Clarence, as well as Norton Sound so that, although it has a safer roadstead, Teller
is no more accessible to deep-water vessels than is Nome.
This fact, combining with the speedy depletion of th
Bluestone deposits, doomed the hopes of the first miners in that region.
From about 1910 to 1930 there was little mining activity along the
Bluestone, but the reduction of the gold content of the dollar in 1933,
which had the effect of increasing the value of gold, gave new impetus
to mining here, as elsewhere in the Territory. By 1936 the U.S.
Geological Survey reported: "Placer mining in the Port Clarence dis–
trict was decidedly on the upgrade in 1936, owing principally to the
highly successful operation of two dredges. These were situated on
Gold Run, a tributary of the Bluestone River, and on Dese Creek, which
flows directly into Grantley Habor." The latter dredge was worked by
N.B. Tweet and Sons. In 1939 production for the Port Clarence area
was below that for the previous few years, but only because the largest
dredging company at work there, the Bartholomae Oil Corporation, had
restricted mining operations so as to recondition the plant and equipment.
Hopes were, then, again running high when the World War II restrictive
order making gold non-essential went into effect in 1942. This put
an end to almost all gold mining in the entire Territory, and killed


new-born enthusiasm of the Bluestone operators. As of this writing
(1948), gold mining in Alaska has not recovered from the effect of this
ruling. (See Bluff and Nome articles.) By 1947, three men still held
titles to gold property on Gold Run Creek, but the amount of actual
mining activity was negligible.
The town of Sullivan, as such, has disappeared,
although most recent maps indicate that there are mining camps in the
vicinity of its former site.
A winter trail now runs along the same route as was
taken by the stage-coaches leaving Sullivan daily for Shea's Roadhouse,
and a road leads from the camps in the Sullivan area to Teller.
Collier, Arthur J. (and others). Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Penin- Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Penin-
sula, Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, sula, Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok,
Port Clarence, and Goodhope Precincts. Port Clarence, and Goodhope Precincts. Washington,
D.C., 1908. (U.S. Geoloigal Survey. Bulletin , No. 328)
Brooks, Alfred H. (and others) Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton
Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Washington, D.C., 1901.
Brooks, Alfred H. Report on Progress of Investigations of Mineral Re- Report on Progress of Investigations of Mineral Re-
sources of Alaska in 1908. sources of Alaska in 1908. Washington, D.C., 1909.
Smith, Philip S. Mineral Industry of Alaska in 1936. Mineral Industry of Alaska in 1936. Washington, D.C.,
1938. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 897-A)

September, 1948
2100 wds
100 wds - bibl

The BLUFF REGION lies midway of the a deep bite in the
southern coastline of Seward Peninsula , Alaska, which extends from Rocky Point to
Cape Nome in the northern part of Norton Sound. Topkok Head, a promentory at
the mouth of the Topkok River midway of this bite, is the coastal extremity
of a series of high bluffs which skirt the shore for a distance of about 30
miles northwestern from Golovnin Bay (q.v.). Beyond Topkok Head and Cape Nome, 32 miles away these
highlands trend inland leaving an ever-widening stretch of moss-covered sand
and gravel along the coast between it and Cape Nome, 32 Miles away Westward from Cape
Nome the highlands once more crowd closer to shore, although they leave a
4 to 6 mile fringe of plain for the remaining 12 or 13 miles to Nome, itself (q.v.).
Although the coastline in this area is edged by a narrow shoal,
the water one mile or more from shore is deep and the bottom regular. Topkok
Head rises abruptly 586 feet out of the water on its seaward side, and is
the most conspicuous landmark in the vicinity. A 572-foot yellow bluff about
6 miles east of Topkok Head is likewise conspicuous, but is not so
prominent as the Head itself.
From east to west the rivers of the Bluff Region enter Norton
Sound in the following order: Koyana, Daniels, Eldorado, Ryan, Silverbow
(Little Anvil) Creeks, and the Topkok River, which is the largest of the group.
None of these streams is very long, however, because the watershed for the
entire area rises not more than 4 miles from the coast. From north to south
the tributaries to the Topkok are California Surprise, Allen, and Rock
Creeks, all from the west.
There are only two towns in or near the Bluff area: Chiukak,
halfway between Rocky Point and Daniels Creek, and Bluff, at the mouth of
Daniels Creek. These towns are connected by the winter trail which runs
from Golovnin Bay around the southern shore [: ] of Seward Peninsula and then
northward to Kotzebue Sound.
25[: 1]


Chiukak is an Eskimo village called Chiokuk by Petrof in 1880
and Seookuk by Jarvis in 1898.
Bluff, on the other hand, is a white mining
settlement on the si te of the gold strik e made by William Hunter and Frank
Walter in September, 1899, one year after the Anvil Creek strike in the Nome
district. Although Hunter and Walter found placer gold at the mouth of Daniels
Creek in September, the first c a l aims were made by J.S. Sullivan, George
Ryan, and others in December of the same year. In January, 1900, Hunter
returned to Daniels Creek with H.C. Malmquist and three other partners who and staked
5 five tundra claims along the beach adjacent to the creek. These men bought
Discovery Claim at the mouth of the creek and organized the Black Chief
Mining Co.
Alfred H. Brooks writing in 1901 describes what happened immediately
thereafter: "The find on the creek was kept secret for a time, but by the middle of
March the rush from Nome began and soon many people were on the ground. A
miners' meeting decided that 60 feet back from high water belonged to the beach
and, as such, could not be claimed. The crowd worked on this ruling, every man
where he could, until July 8, when United States troops under Lieutenant Erickson
stopped work on the claim at the mouth of Daniels Creek pending litigation. During
the few months of work it is estimated that nearly three-quarters of a million
dollars were taken from a strip of beach less than 1,000 feet long and 50 feet
wide. Two men on an area of 27 square feet reported taking out $37,000. It is
said that three men took out $10,000 in five days. It was common for rockers
to make from $100 to $300 a day. These extraordinary returns were of short
duration, for the richest part of the small strip of beach was soon exhausted. The
first week of August, when Mr. Richardson visited the camp, called Bluff, about
200 men were present. There was little inducement for them to stay, however,
for the rich beach had been gutted, and the whole region had been staked."
1908 Brooks wrote again: [: ] "It is estimated 23


that the gold tenor of much of the pay streak must have averaged $150 to the
cubic yard, or about $1 to the pan. This is far richer than the best part of the
Nome beach sands, and, in fact, is the richest marine placer ever found. In
gold content it has been equaled by only a very few claims in the peninsula."
¶ In 1900, only $200,000 was taken from the old beach which stretches across the present
mouth of Daniels Creek, although the lower part of the creek continued to be
exploited until 1902. Most of this gold came from Discovery Claim which,
by this time, was being worked with the aid of a gasoline engine which pumped a
sluice head of water from the sea. Between 1900 and 1902 gold was discovered
on Eldorado and Ryan Creeks and on Swede Gulch, but lack of water impeded
their development.
Brooks continues: "In 1902 a strong company called the Topkok
Ditch Company began the construction of a waterway from the head of Klokerblok
River to Daniels Creek. This work was completed late in the summer of 1903,
and sluicing began. In 1904 the company had about 16 miles of ditch in operation,
and in 1906 extended the conduit about 4 miles. This enterprise is a most success–
ful hydraulic mining operation and demonstrates what can be done under favorable
conditions and with intelligent and economical management. When the heavy
gravel deposits of Daniels Creek have been sluiced off, the water of the Topkok
Ditch Company can be utilized to mine the shallower deposits of Eldorado, Ryan,
and other smaller creeks." It is remarkable that a stream less than one mile
long could be put to such hard work.
By 1905 the Topkok Ditch Company
owned 35 miles of ditch and 5,000 feet of 28 -30″ pipe, as well as a [: ]
tunnel a quarter of a mile long connecting the headwater s of Daniels Creek with
the Klokerblok River and Skookum Creek. In 1906 an ancient beach deposit
below sea level was discovered near Bluff giving new impetus to the production
of the area, but despite this development only one man was working there in 1913,
and Topkok Ditch was dry. Within the next few years lode deposits were found
near Bluff and a gold mill was set up there. By 1920 a fairly thorough 27 [: !]


U.S. Geological Survey examination of the zones of mineralized schist had
revealed rich lode deposits on Daniels Creek and many other streams nearby,
and the Bluff area again became the scene of energetic activity.
Brooks visited
the region and reported in 1920: "... the deposits adjacent to and just east of
Daniels Creek are the most valuable of the region. Here the mineralized schist bands
in the limestone were staked as lode claims soon after the Daniels Creek placers
were discovered. The original locators have carried on development work on these
claims in a small way for some 20 years. Three lodes are recognized from Daniels
Creek eastward, the Sea Gull, Idaho, and Eskimo lodes. They trend in a general
northerly direction and except where they crop out on the cliff face are concealed
by the tundra vegetation and exposed only by mining operations...Four claims
are staked along the strike of each of the three lodes, extending from the sea
cliff nearly to the head of Daniels Creek valley. The most southerly claim on
the Eskimo lode is held by John Corrigan; the remaining eleven claims by Charles
Megan, Henry Megan, and W.J. Somerville. The schist zones have been traced by
pits and shafts and are said to contain gold wherever prospected. Most of the
work has been done about three-quarters of a mile from the beach, where fourteen
shafts, ranging in depth from 30 to 100 feet and aggregating 657 feet were
pointed out to the writer...The shafts have been sunk chiefly for prospecting
purposes, and it is said that no shaft failed to find gold-bearing quartz in
sufficient quantities and rich enough to mine. The present mill equipment will
handle, efficiently, only the oxidized surface portion of the lodes. There is
no timber in the vicinity of Bluff, and mine supports are difficult to obtain. As the
lode material is soft no considerable depth can be reached without danger from
caving. Only the present working shaft is timbered; all the others are caved
and inaccessible...Four men were employed in mining at the time of the writer's
visit. Dumps are taken out during the winter, and the ore is milled [: ]
in the summer." Some cinnabar was discovered in the lodes although not in 27 [: ]


commercial quantities.
We have seen the town of Bluff expand to a high of 200, shrink
to one, and slowly grow again. The 1939 population was 14, and gold placer,
gold quartz, and cinnabar were still being removed from the area. The village
is was still strictly a mining community, without a post-office or a school,
although it does have a landing strip of unspecified length.
H. Foster Bain in his report for December, 1946, covered the
past, present, and future of the gold mining in Alaska. He writes in part:
"The outlook for lode mining is obscure, despite the fact that scouts have been
maintained in the Territory for a number of years by several of the larger
mining interests...So far as Alaska gold mining is concerned, it is a further
fact, probably of considerable significance, that so large a proportion of the
output has been and continues to be from the placers. This, coupled with the
further fact deduced from the observation and experience of geologists in many
lands, that big placers are seldom if ever derived from big lodes but rather come
from the break-down of country rock cut by many little stringer lodes, is discourag–
ing to the search for profitable lode mines...It may well prove that in Alaska,
as in California, any really important lode mines found in the future will have
no significant relation to the placers. It may also prove that there are no
big ones to be found." Discussing Juneau mining developments in particular,
but telling a story which relates to all Alaska gold mining, he goes on to
explain the virtual shut-down of the industry throughout the Territory over
since the beginning of World War II. "It will be noted that there were no profits
from the operation through a term of years while the mine was being built up and
equipped or, again, after 1941, when war conditions affected operations adversely.
It was not only that prices of supplies and labor rose in these later years; but,
perhaps more importantly, shortage of manpower reduced output and increased unit
costs. The management struggled to keep the operation going, but the decision 27 [: s. ]


of the War Labor Board decreeing an increase in wages with retroactive
payment finally made it cheaper to pay shut-down expenses than to continue to
operate at a deficit...It is to be expected that the company, with its heavy
investment and large remaining ore reserve, will make every effort to resume
operations as soon as possible; but the whole wage pattern in Alaska has been
so distorted by the war that resumption will be extremely difficult, and delay is
to be expected. It is to be remembered that gold miners operate against a fixed
price for their output and have no way to compensate for higher costs by increasing
the sale price of their product. In 1932, for the first time in many years, the
price of gold, in terms of United States dollars, was increased substantially,
but it is considered that since then the cost of taxes, supplies, and labor have
increased so much as to wipe out the margin of profit so created...The record
shows clearly that the mine can only be operated profitably [: ] by mass production
methods and on a large scale. There is no way to run...a small mine, and this
fact also precludes resuming operation on a small scale and building up the
tonnage gradually...Any consideration of possible increase in price of g l o ld
involves to many factors of national policy and of politics that the subject
is hardly worth discussing. Meanwhile, one of the largest inudstrial units in
the Territory, with abundant raw material and complete and proved equipment,
remains idle." This story has been repeated in big and little throughout
Alaska, and it is only to be expected that relatively small operations like
those at Bluff will be slower to recover than the Juneau giant.
22 [: s. ]


U.S.C.P. & Supplement
Harrison, E.S. Nome and Seward Peninsula; a book of information about Nome and Seward Peninsula; a book of information about
Northwestern Alaska. Northwestern Alaska. Seattle, Wash., Metropolitan Press, c1905.
Bain, H. Foster. Alaska's Minerals as a Basis for Industry. Alaska's Minerals as a Basis for Industry. Wash. D.C.,
Bureau of Mines, 1946. (U.S. Bur. of Mines. Information Circular Information Circular
7379. December, 1946)
Brooks, Alfred H. (and others). Redonnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton Redonnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton
Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900 Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900 . Washington, G.P.O., 1901.
(U.S. Geological Survey)
Collier, Arthur J. (and others). GoldPlacers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, GoldPlacers of Parts of Seward Peninsula,
Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, Port Clarence, Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, Port Clarence,
and Goodhope Precincts and Goodhope Precincts . Wash. G.P.O. 1908. (U.S. Geological
Survey. Bulletin No.328)
Brooks, Alfred H. (and others) Mineral Resources of Alaska, report on progress Mineral Resources of Alaska, report on progress
of investigations in 1905, 1907, 1909, [: ] 1913, 1917, of investigations in 1905, 1907, 1909, [: ] 1913, 1917,
1920. 1920. Wash. G.P.O. 1906-1922. (U.S. Geological Survey.
Bulletins Bulletins No.284, 345, 442, 592, 692, 722)
Henshaw, F.F., and Parker, G.L. Surface water supply of Seward Peninsula, Surface water supply of Seward Peninsula,
Alaska Alaska . Wash. G.P.O. 1913. (U.S. Geological Survey. Water- Water-
Supply Paper Supply Paper 314)

26 May 48

BRISTOL BAY, ALASKA, the center for the red salmon canning
industry [: ] of sou thern Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula, may be said
to include all that part of Bering Sea east of a line dra wn from Cape
S arichef, Unimak Island, northeastward to Cape Newenham, the tip of the
peninsula which separates Bristol from Kuskokwim Bay (q.v.). Bristol Bay
is cut off from the Pacific Ocean on the south and east by Unimak Island
and the Alaska Peninsula, and is bounded on the north and northwest by
the territory around Kvichak, Nushagak, Kulukak, and Togiak Bays (q.v.),
all northerly arms of Bristol Bay. Naknek River, a tributary to Kvichak
Bay, is the head of deep water navi [: ] ation in Bristol Bay, although
small cannery vessels proceed up the several arms of the bay and, in
some cases, to the head of the rivers which flow into them. The waters
along the northeastern and northern coasts of Bristol Bay are shoal
sometimes for as many as 6 miles offshore and are dangerous to navigate
except in daylight on a rising tide and then only with constant use
of the lead. Available surveys of this area are old, and it is felt that
considerable change in the channels has taken place since they were made.
Because of the funnel-shaped configuration of the mouths of the
Ugashik, Egegik, Naknek, Kvichak, and Nushagak Rivers, and of the bays
into which they flow, tidal currents are strong and run as fast as 6 knots.
In addition, the tidal range in these bays and rivers is sometimes as
much as 26 feet. The currents in Bristol Bay are therefore considered
to be partly tidal, although the bay is also thought to form the eastern
part of a permanent eddy which flows eastward past Cape Newenham and dis–
charges along the north shore of Unimak Island flowing westward.


The shores of Bristol Bay are mostly low, lake-studded, treeless
tundra, but the high, volcanic mountains along the central parts of
Unimak Island, and the Alaska Range which borders the southern side of
the Alaska Peninsula, would serve as [: ] unmistakable land marks except
for the fog which prevails throughout the area during the season of
navigation. Fog persists from spring through fall, although it is
heaviest during the summer months, so that only what low landmarks are
visible beneath the fog may be used as guides to navigation. Very little
is known about ice conditions in Bristol Bay. It is probably free from
heavy ice sometime between mid-May and mid-June, and there is reason
to believe that it is occasionally open to navigation the year around,
although the rivers and bays associated with it are always closed from
late in the fall to May or June.
Water transportation to Bristol Bay Points is supplemented by
overland and air carriers. Although the flat, marshy tundra is impassable
in summer, it is excellent terrain for winter travel by dog sled. Two
trails running from different points on Shelikof Strait and over the
Alaska Range connect settlements along the northern coast of the
Alaska Peninsula with points on Lake Clar k Iliamna Lake and the Kvichak
River with Dillingham, Togiak, Goodnews, and other settlements to the
west and northwest. It was reported in 1940 that a new airline, called
Naknek Airways, was opening in Koggiung, near the head of Kvichak Bay [: ] ,
which would serve all Bristol Bay points. Dillingham, the largest settle–
ment on Nushagak Bay, had six air carriers in 1947 and was reported to
be constructing an airport with a 2200-foot runway. Besides these local
services, planes from Anchorage and Fairbanks make regular stops at most
Bristol Bay settlements.


The shallow waters of Bristol Bay, which nowhere exceed
300 feet and which receive so many lake-fed rivers and their associated
bays, offer an ideal habitat for the red salmon, or sockeye, which spawns
only in river systems containing lakes. The canning season runs from
mid-June to mid-July during which time not only the men employed [: ]
[: ] and brought in by the canneries but also almost the entire popula–
tion of the towns of Egegik, Naknek, Koggiung, Nushagak, Dillingham,
and other smaller villages along the northeastern coast of Bristol Bay
turn fisherman for a month. Workers are in such demand and the pressure
of the short season is so great, that the canning companies not only
pay the citizenry for their catch but also supply them with boats, nets,
and credit in the company stores. [: ]
[: ] Cannery buildings, wharves, fresh-water pipe lines, cranes,
[: ] marine railways and other company installations in the Bristol Bay
area represent an investment of more than $20,000,000. To balance this,
the red salmon sells for $15.00 or more per case, the annual catch is
worth about $12,000,000, and the industry gives employment to over 8,000
men. In order to protect this valuable industry themselves the canneries have
insisted on certain restrictive regulations. Traps are illegal; all
fishing must be done with gill nets and from small boats fitted only
with oars and a sail. The catch must be returned to the cannery or to
a tally scow anchored on the fishing grounds within 24 hours, and many of
the companies have a much shorter time-limit. Because buoys would
catch and tear the nets, no such markers are maintained in Bristol Bay,
a condition which adds considerably to the difficulty of navigating
these waters. All cannery operations must be based on the tidal intervals,
since low tide exposes bars, shoals, and mud flats all along the shores
of Bristol Bay and its tributaries. Most cannery vessels are specially


constructed so that they will not be damaged when they lie high and dry
at low tide. After the middle of August, when the hundreds of cannery
vessels and their thousands of workmen depart, Bristol Bay is quiet and
little frequented. For the remainder of the year the chief activities
are hunting and trapping.
Bristol Bay was named by Cook in 1778 in honor of the Admiral,
Earl of Bristol. <formula> 82 12 ﹍ 164 82 ﹍ 98 4 </formula>
Sources: Colby; Sundborg; Baker; USCP & Suppl; VSGB; Allen,Edward W. North

Ruby Collins

70 wds
BROOKS, LAKE, ALASKA, in the northern section of the Alaska
Peninsula, lies midway between 58° and 59° N. Lat. on 156° W. Long. It is just
south of Naknek Lake (q.v.) from which it is separated by a high mountain.
A short, swift river connects it with Iliuk Arm, a southeastern extension
of Naknek Lake, and it is fed from the east and south by several small
streams rising in the foothills of the Aleutian Range, which borders the
eastern side of the Alaska Peninsula.
Sources: VS GB

Ruby Collins

Text - 770 words
Bibl - 100 "
BUCKLAND RIVER, is the largest tributary to Eschscholtz Bay, an
arm of Kotzebue Sound, which indents the northeastern side of Seward
Peninsula, Alaska. The Eskimo name for this river has been recorded variousl y
as Kaniek Kaniek , Kotsokotana Kotsokotana , Kunguk Kunguk , Konguk Konguk , and Kongak Kongak , but it was Beechey
who, in September, 1826, gave it its present name.
"Having now the assistance of the barge," Beechey wrote, "I
e mbarked in her to examine narrowly the shores of Kotzebue Sound. Proceed–
ing to survey the head of Escholtz Bay, shallow water obliged the boat to
anchor off Elephant Point, where I left Mr. Collie with a party to examine
again the cliffs in which the fossils and ice formation had been seen by
Kotzebue, and proceeded to the head of the bay in a small boat. We landed
upon a flat muddy beach, and were obliged to wade a quarter of a mile before
we could reach a cliff for the purpose of having a view of the surrounding
country. Having gained its summit we were gratified by the discovery of a
large river coming from the southward, and passing between our station and a
range of hills. At a few miles distance the river passed between rocky
cliffs, whence the land on either side became hilly, and interrupted our
further view of its course. The width of the river was about a mile and a
half; but this space was broken into narrow and intricate channels by
banks — some dry, and others partly so. The stream passed rapidly between
them, and at an [: ] earlier period of the season a considerable body of
water must be poured into the sound; though, from the comparative width
of the channels, the current in the latter is not much felt.
"The shore around us was flat, broken by several lakes, in which
there were a great many wildfowl."
Beechey called this river the Buckland, "in compliment to Dr.


Buckland, the professor of g eology at Oxford, to whom I am much indebted
for the above mentioned description of the fossils, and for the arrangement
of the geological memoranda attached to this work."
The Buckland rises about 75 miles southeast of Eschscholtz Bay
and opposes the drainage flowing on the one hand into Norton Bay and on
the other into the lower Koyukuk, in the Yukon River system. Dead water
extends about 30 miles from the mouth and there are no serious rapids
for another 30 miles upstream.
Speaking of one of the few ascents of this [: ]
river by the white man, Mendenhall writes:"On the 9th of September, 1849,
Capt. Henry Kellett, commanding H.M.S. Herald Herald , at that time in Kotzebue
Sound, started with several boats' crews to visit the natives reported to
live some distance up the Buckland River. Captain Kellett himself ascended
the stre a m about 30 miles, until a rock obstruction which prevented the
passage of the heavier boats was encountered. He then returned and Command–
[: ] er Moore, of the Plover Plover , and Lieutenant Maguire, of the Herald Herald , with
lighter boats ascended about 30 miles farther, passing several rapids en
route. These officers reported that the river contained several obstruc–
tions within the 60 miles explored by them, and at the head of this
stretch a strong rapid, half a mile in length, through which they could not
pass. Pine (spruce) trees were reported as occurring sparingly in the Buck–
land Valley, and an account is also given of the presence of fine basaltic
columns along the river.
Only the last thirty miles of the Buckland, and the entire course
of its main tributary, West For k may be said to be on Seward Peninsula
proper. The upper Buckland system fans out far to the southeastward to
the highland which marks this part of the interior of [: ] northwestern
Alaska. The data on the territory surrounding the upper reaches of the
main river [: ] are still incomplete, and the many tributaries to the Buckland


in this section are unnamed.
West For k , which enters the main stream from the south
about 35 miles up from its mouth, and soon after the Buckland bends
sharply to the west, rises in an irregular group of hills north of the
Koyuk (q.v.) and east of the Kiwalik (q.v.) Rivers.
Although there are a few mining camps on West Fork, the only
settlement in this vicinity is Buckland (65° 59′ N.Lat., 161° 10′ W.Long.)
about fifteen miles above the mouth of the river.



Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.

Beechey, Capt. F.W. Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's
Strait ... 1825,26,27,28. Strait ... 1825,26,27,28. London, 1831. 2v.

Collier, A.J. (and others) Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula,
Alaska. Alaska. Washington, 1908. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin

Mendenahall, W.C. Reconnaissance from Fort Hamlin to [: ] Kotzebue Sound Reconnaissance from Fort Hamlin to [: ] Kotzebue Sound
Alaska Alaska . Washington, 1902. (U.S. Geological Survey. Professional Professional
Paper Paper No.10)

Moffit, F.H. Fairhaven gold Placers, Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Washington, Fairhaven gold Placers, Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Washington,
1905 1905 . (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin No.247)

Henshaw, F.F., and Parker, G.L. Surface Water Supply of Seward Peninsula Surface Water Supply of Seward Peninsula ,
Alaska Alaska . Washington, 1913. (U.S. Geological Survey. Water-Supply Water-Supply
Paper Paper 314)

Ruby Collins

115 wds
CALIFORNIA RIVER, western Seward Peninsula, Alaska, drains an area
between the Agiapuk and the Don Rivers, flows almost directly southward to empty
into a lagoon on the north side of Port Clarence. California is a prospector's
name, first reported by Gerdine, in 1901.
The upp e r four miles of this river work s a southeasterly course
out of the mountains, after which it turns due south and continues in this direc–
tion to its mouth, a few miles west of Teller Mission. A narrow s and spit
cuts the lagoon into which the California empties off from the Port proper.
This lagoon is extremely shoal and is [: ] navigable to only the smallest
Sources: Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d. ed. Washington, 1902.

Ruby Collins

372 wds
CARTER BAY, a small eastern arm of Kuskokwim Bay, indents the
mainland about 15 miles north of Goodnews Bay (q.v.). This bay is
about 6 miles long on its north-south axis and is separated from Kusko–
kwim Bay on the west and south by Carter Spit, a low sand spit from 50
to 300 yards wide. Carter Bay is protected, therefore, on all sides
except the north. It is shoal and dotted with mud flats although the
channel around the point of the spit offers anchorage to launches and
small craft. Indian River, from which fresh water can be obtained by
boats at high tide, enters the eastern side of Carter Bay. This river is
formed by the confluence of North Fork and South Fork a few miles
inland from the bay. North Fork rises in the Ahklun Range northeast
of the bay and flows in a southwesterly direction to the valley separat–
ing Cot Mountain from Tooth Mountain, where it is joined by Nautilus
Creek. It then turns westward to follow a meandering course to its
junction with South Fork. South Fork rises in Explorer Mountain,
a 3,000-foot peak in the Ahklun Range northward of Goodnews Bay,
and takes a westerly and northwesterly course around Tooth Mountain
to its meeting with North Fork. Tooth Mountain has a sharp, rocky
pinnacle on the northern edge of its summit and is easily recognized
from Carter Spit. A few cabins grouped around the mouth of the
Indian River form the village of Carter which lies on the long winter
trail leading eastward to Dillingham and other Bristol Bay towns and
northward to Eek and Bethel (q.v.) on the Kuskokwim.
An inland branch of the main winter trail which runs along
the shore of Kuskokwim Bay leads from a point midway of the north side
of Goodnews Bay, northward between Explorer Mountain and Carter Bay,
across South Fork and North Fork, past Island Mountain to a placer
mine on the Arolic River (q.v.) a few miles inland from Jacksmith Bay (q.v.).


The vicinity around Carter Bay, with the exception of the
peaks mentioned above, is low, treeless tundra, which, although
unsuitable for agricultural purposes, is covered with moss and many
kinds of wild flowers during the summer months.
Sources: VSGB; USCP & Suppl
Baker; Colby

Ruby Collins

Text - 910 wds.
CHAMISSO ISLAND (66° 14′ N.Lat., 161° 49′ W.Long.) at the
entrance to Eschscholtz Bay, Kotzebue Sound, off the north shore of Seward
Peninsula, Alaska, was discovered and named by Kotzebue in August, 1816.
"The land that lay to our right," Kotzebue reported, "in sailing
up, was an island, seven miles in circumference. The open sea, indeed, lay
before us; but my hope of penetrating far in that direction was diminished,
when the boat that was sent out to sound, nowhere found the depth above five
or six fathoms...We took an excursion to the island, which I called after our
naturalist, Chamisso...We had an extensive prospect from the point of this very
high island; the land to the south seemed to join every where; in the north,
nothing was to be seen but the open sea: on the east, Chamisso Island is
separated from the continent by a channel, which is five miles broad in the
narrowest part. The surrounding land was high and rocky. Snow was no where
to be seen; the mountains were covered with moss; and the shore was clothed
in luxuriant verdure. Chamisso Island was of the same nature, where we had
now chosen a green spot, on which we intended to drink tea. I readily confess,
that I seldom felt myself happier, than on this spot; to which the idea of being
the first European that ever put his foot on this land, may have greatly con–
tributed. The weather was at 12° heat, (a height that the thermometer never
arrived at without the sound,) and extremely fine. We found in our tongue of
land, under ground, several store-rooms, lined with leaves, and filled with seals'
flesh. Probably, therefore, the Americans in their hunting parties, have their
station here; and to mark the place, have erected a small ill-built stone pyramid.
The island, which has only a small landing place, rises almost perpendicularly out
of the sea; the rocks round about, and the islands to the west, are inhabited by
numerous puffins; and the many egg-shells which we found on our way, were an


indication that foxes destroyed the nests: hares and partridges were here in
plenty; and cranes, on their passage, rested on this island. On places pro–
te [: ] ted against the north wind, grow willows from two to three feet high, and
these are the only trees that we saw in Beering's Straits. We perceived also
seals as we returned to our ship, which had taken their station on some large
stones on the west side of the island."
Chamisso Island has a grassy hill about 231 feet high, and its
shores are rocky everywhere except at the north [: ] ast end, which extends into a
low sand spit. Shoals extend half a mile or less from the north and east
Puffin Islet, just west of Chamisso Island, which is probably one
of the outlying islands mentioned by Kotzebue, is [: ] itself rocky and has two
conspicuous rocks southward of it. The water separating it from Chamisso
Island, is shoal and rocky, but the water off the north and west sides is deep.
Before being driven out of this region by the oncoming winter,
Beechey left instructions and supplies for the Franklin Expedition, w h ich he had
hoped to find along this coast. Beechey writes: "It now remained for me to
consider how Captain Franklin could be most benefited in the event of his
party arriving after our departure. It was evident that we could do no more
than put him in possession of every information we had obtained, and leave
him a temporary supply of provisions and bartering articles, with which he could
procure others from the natives. To this end a barrel of flour was buried for
him upon the sandy point of Chamisso, a place which, from the nature of the
ground, was more likely to escape observation than the former one, where the
newly turned turf could not be concealed. A large tin case, containing beads
and a letter, was deposited with it, to enable him to purchase provisions from
the natives, and to guide his conduct. Ample directions for finding these were
both cut and painted on the rock; and to call the attention of the part y to the


spot, which they might otherwise pass, seeing the ship had departed, her
name was painted in very large letters on the cliffs of Puffin Island,
accompanied with a notice of her departure, and the period to which she had re–
mained in the sound. Beneath it were written directions for finding the cask of
flour, and also a piece of drift-wood which was deposited in a hole in the cliff."
Between Choris Peninsula and Chamisso Island, and immediately to
the north of the island, is Chamisso Anchorage, the only place on the arctic coast
of Alaska which can be called a harbor. Good shelter from all winds will be
found here. The deepest water is close to Puffin Islet. Finding almost
everywhere else in this region only shoal water, Kotzebue gratefully recorded
his discovery of this anchorage. "We found," he writes, "at fifty fathoms
from shore, from two and a half to three fathoms depth, on a very good bottom.
Ships may lie at anchor, and undertake repairs as safe here as in the best
harbour, particularly as the depth in many places permits them to lie almost
close to the shore."
Early in the season fresh water will almost alw a ys be found on
Chamisso Island. The mean rise and fall of the tide here is four feet,
and the maximum range is five feet.



Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. 2d ed. Washington, 1906.

Kotzebue, Otto von. Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Beering's Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Beering's
Straits ... in the years 1815-1818. Straits ... in the years 1815-1818. Translated by H.E. Lloyd.
London, 1821. 3v.

U.S. Coast Pilot. Alaska. Pt.II. Alaska. Pt.II. Fifth (1947) Edi [: ] tion.

Ruby Collins

2,425 wds - Text
50 wds - Bite
CLARENCE, PORT, Alaska, the only good harbor along the west shore
of Seward Peninsula, and one of the earliest rendezvous for the whaling
fleetings of the mid-nineteenth century, lies south of Cape Prince of Wales
and north of Cape Douglas.
The west side of the Port is formed by a narrow sand spit which
extends northwestward from the mainland for about eight miles, just north
of Cape Douglas, and then [: ] bends northward for another nine or so
miles to Point Spencer, the southern entrance point to Port Clarence.
[: ] Therefore, starting at Point Spencer, the shores of Port Clar–
ence run southward and then eastward to the mainland and so northward
to Cape Riley and Teller. Across the entrance to Grantley Harbor [: ] from
Teller, the northern shoreline of the Port runs slightly north of west to
Point Jackson, the northern entrance point to the Port.
In addition to the Point Spencer formation, several other sand
spits characterize Port [: ] Clarence. One of these, a few miles
below Cape Riley, extends southwestward from the mainland into the
Port itself and terminates with Jones Point. Another forms most of the
north side of the Port and separates its waters from several shallow,
coastal lagoons. Point Jackson is on one of the arms of this north-side
Port Clarence, unlike other arms of Bering Sea, is a good harbor,
free from ocean swell. The four-mile wide entrance is clear of danger and
carries 42 to 54 feet. A shoal, which widens as it continues southward,
runs along the west side of the Point Spencer sand spit, but the point
itself is bold, with depths of over forty feet less than one-quarter
mile offshore to the north and east. There is a safe, well p - protected
anchorage of twenty-five feet or more just inside the Point.


Southward , along the east side of the Point Spencer spit , another
shoal mak e s out into the Port itself, completely filling in the south [: ]
end of the Port and enclosing Jones Point. Along the east side of the
Port, above the Jones Point sand spit, and all along the north side, relatively
deep water is found quite close to shore. The deepest water is [: ]
generally found in the northern part of Port Clarence, where an average
of forty-two feet reaches to within a mile of the shore. The bottom is
regular throughout the Port, shoaling very gradually toward shore in
all directions.
Point Spencer is marked with a flashing light, and there is also
a light on the north side of the entrance to Grantley Harbor.
The only navigational dangers in this area are not in
Port Clarence itself, but in the approach to the Port. A ledge, with a
reported least depth of only about ten feet lies nearly five miles offshore,
about halfway between Cape Douglas and Point Spencer. Vessels approaching
Point Clarence from the south must give this ledge a berth of at least
five miles before hauling in for an entrance.
Fog in this vicinity is frequent and particularly dense r during
the summer. Port Clarence is free from ice from the last part of June to
the freeze-up in October.
Port Clarence leads into Grantley Harbor (q.v.), which in t e u rn
leads, by way of Tuksuk Channel, into Imuruk Basin (q.v.).
Surrounding Although the sand spits forming so much of the shoreline
Country of Port Clarence are low, highlands approach the Port
fairly closely in those sections where the mainland forms the shoreline.
All along the east side of the Port, above the Jones Point sand spit, the
foothills of the Kigluaik Mountains, which in some cases rise to over
1,000 feet, begin to appear less than one mile from shore. Again, between


the northern entrance point to Grantley Harbor and Point Jackson, on the
north side of the Port, the highlands associated with 1,527-foot
Mukacharni Mountain crowd close to the shore. Westward of this point the
foothills of the York Mountains rise several miles north of Port Clarence.
Captain Frederick William Beechey, who visited and named Port Clarence,
in September, 1827, describes the surrounding countryside as follows:
"The northern and eastern shores of Port Clarence slope from the mountains
to the sea, and are occasionally terminated by cliffs compo a sed of fine
and talcy mica slate, intersected by veins of calcareous spar of a [: ]
[: ] pearly lustre, mixed with grey quartz. The soil is covered
with a thick coating of moss, among which there is a very limited flora: the
valleys and hollows are filled with dwarf willow and birch. The country
is swampy and full of ruts; and vegetation on the whole, even on the north
side of the harbour, which had a southern aspect, was more backward than
in Kotzebue Sound; still we found here three species of plants we had not
seen before. Plants that were going to seed when we left that island [Kotzebue Sound] were
here only just in full flower, and berries that were there over ripe were
here scarcely fit to be eaten...We saw several reindeer upon the hilly
ground; in the lakes, Wild ducks: and upon the low point of the inner harbour,
golden plover, and sanderlings, and a gull very much resembling the
larus sabini."

Clarence, Port

Tributaries As would be expected, these various mountain systems
send streams into the Port. Four unnamed streams enter
south of Jones Point sand spit, and tiny Fox Creek enters just north of
this spit. Yellowstone and Willow Creeks drain into the east side of the
Port below Cape Riley. Along the north side, Mission Creek flows down
from the Mukacharni group, and California, Thompson, and Don River, from
the York group. These last three streams enter the lagoon inside Point
Jackson, but, since their waters do finally contribute to Port Clarence,
they may be spoken of as tributaries to the Port.
Fresh water may be obtained at the Teller Reindeer Station, at the
mouth of Mission Creek. Except during the dry season, it may also be
obtained from Yellowstone and Willow Creeks, below Cape Riley.
Settlements The only existing settlement on the shores of Port
Clarence is Teller (65° 15′ N.Lat., 166° 21′ W. Long.)
on the sand spit forming the southern entrance point to Grantley Harbor.
Teller, with a 1939 population of about 118, has a post office, a Territorial
and Alaska Native Service school, two general stores, a fur dealer, an
oil station, a light plant, a U.S. Commissioner, and a reindeer unit manager.
It is the seaport for Imuruk Basin, and the Kuzitrin, Kruzgamepa, and
Kougarok Rivers, all of which streams drain areas rich in gold, tin,
graphite, and copper. Teller is fortunate in having one of the finest,
natural harbors in [: ] northwestern Alaska. Lighterage facilities are
available. Much of the Hollywood moving-picture The Eskimo was filmed
at Teller.


There is a Moravian Mission on the north shore of the Port.
According to latest information (1947), the reindeer station nearby is not
in operation. Bering City, which had a population of about 200 at the
height of the Bluestone Gold Rush in 1900, has now disapp [: ] ared.
There are several landing strips in the Port Clarence area: one
at Point Spencer, 8,500 foot long; and two at Teller, 1,000 and 1,400
feet long respectively. Port Clarence receives monthly air mail service
from November 1 to May 31, and semi-monthly water-borne mail service during
the rest of the year.
Trails Several well-developed winter trails meet at Teller. From
Nome, one trail cuts overland northward and westward to Teller,
and the other follows the coast to Cape Douglas, and then takes a direct
northeasterly route first overland and then across part of Port Clarence
to Teller. At Iron Creek, the overland trail from Nome is joined by
several others from Solomon, Council, Golovnin, and points to the east.
Just above Pilgrim Springs, this same trail from Nome is joined by others
from the Kotzebue District, to the north and northeast, Another trail
runs overland and almost directly southward from Shisharef Inlet, while
yet another branch follows the coast down from the Inlet, passing around
Cape Prince of Wales and so eastward to Teller.
History Port Clarence was known to the early Russian explorers
as Kaviaiak Bay .


Insert 1.
In 1827, Beechey wrote in part: "Having passed the night off Cape York on the
31st, we steered to the eastward, and shortly discovered a low spit of land
[ Point Spencer ] projecting about ten miles from the coast, which here
forms a right angle, and having a channel about two miles wide between its
extremity and the northern shore. We sailed through this opening, and
entered a spacious harbour, [ Port Clarence ] capable of h l o lding a great
many ships of the line. We landed first on the low spit at the entrance,
and then stood across, nine miles to the eastward, and came to an anchor
off a bold cape, [ Cape Riley ] having carried nothing less than five and
a half fathoms water the whole of the way...To the outer harbour, which for
convenience and security surpasses any other near Beering's Strait with
which we are acquainted, I attached the name of Port Clarence, in honour of his
most gracious Majesty, then Duke of Clarence."
The town of Bering, on the eastern shore of Port Clarence, was recorded
by Brooks [: ] in 1900.


Beechey gives the following description of the native settlement
of Nooke, which existed at one time grew up on the present site of Teller: "Upon the low point
at the entrance of the inner harbour, [ Grantley Harbor ] called Nooke by
the natives, there were some Esquimaux fishermen, who reminded us of a
former acquaintance at Chamisso Island, and saluted us so warmly that
we felt sorry their recollection had not entirely failed them. They appeared
to have established themselves upon the point for the purpose of catching
and drying fish; and from the number of salmon that were leaping in the
channel, we should have thought they would have been more successful. They
had, however, been fortunate in taking plenty of cod, and some species of
salmon trout: they had also caught some herrings."
As late as 1870 Dall identified this settlement as Nookmut, and
reported it as being one of the principle villages of the Kaviagmuts. In July,
1892, Sheldon Jackson brough 171 reindeer to this spot and established
a reindeer station there. He named the station Teller after Henry Moore
Teller, then


Secretary of the Interior, who had helped him with his reindeer project.
The station later moved to the north shore of Port Clarence, while the
settlement was officially established and given a post office in April,
1900. Beechey, in 1827, called this place Nooke, and I t is still known
locally as The Nook , although designated officially as Teller.
Mining & Port Clarence District, the largest mining district of
Commerce Seward Peninsula, with a recording office at Teller, includes
the former Port Clarence, Blue Stone, Agiapuk, York, and Good Hope Districts.
The Gold Run, or Blue Stone Country, so called after streams of
the same name, promised in 1900 to become the richest gold mining section
in all the Peninsula. The diggings, however, proved to be spotty, and,
although $20,000 was removed from the mouth of Alder Creek, a tributary
to the Bluestone, and, although the gold was coarse and several large
nuggets were found, subsequent developments proved disappointing.
T he greatest single mining problem in this area has been that of
maintaining a reliable water supply. Early in the season the streams
do not supply enough water for mining operations; then, with the arrival
of the spring rains, these same streams turn into torrents which break
through any dams previously designed for their control. Harrison writes:
"When water is utilized by means of ditches and made available for all
parts of the open season, this region will produce its quota ofgold."
Early in the [: ] century, a great many people had faith
in a bright future for Teller. It occupies what has been called "the
best townsite in the peninsula," since the ground on which it is built
is dry, and since it faces the best harbor for hundreds of miles around.
Realizing the extreme disadvantages and dangers of the Nome roadstead
(see Nome article), it was even planned to build a railroad across the
sixty or so miles of grassland between Teller and Nome, so that all


cargoes might be unloaded at Teller and carried overland to Nome.
However, it was soon discovered that the deep water of Port Clarence did
not extend as far as Teller, any more than did the deep water of Norton
Sound reach to Nome, with the result that all cargoes had, at both
places, to be lightered ashore over one or two miles of shoal water. More–
over, it [: ] soon became clear that the Nome roadstead was free of ice
several weeks before Port Clarence was open to navigation.
Up to 1906, all supplies for the Kougarok District were sent
via Teller. From there they were brought by small steamer through Grantley
Har b or and Imuruk Basin, and so up the Kuzitrin River to Igloo, fifty
miles inland, at the head of steamboat navigation on the Kuzitrin. At Igloo
cargoes were transferred to flat-bottomed river boats and towed up the
Kuzitrin and its tributary, the Kougarok. With the completion of the
Seward Peninsula Railroad, no w called The Pupmobile, to Lanes Landing on
the Kuzitrin, about halfway between [: ] gloo and the mouth of the Kougarok
River, most supplies for the interior were brought in by rail rather than
by water. This development was a serious economic blow to Teller.
Bering City, a gold rush boom town just below Cape Riley on the
east side of Port Clarence, offered vessels some advantages over Teller.
Deep water steamers could approach much nearer to the shore and the
harbor was better protected from easterly and northeasterly winds.
Soon after the discovery of gold in the Bluestone District in
1900, Teller had a population of over 1,000 people, and Bering City
had 200, but, by 1908, Teller had shrunk to 100 and Bering City had
In 1927, although five individuals still held gold property near
Teller, the actual mining going on in the district was negligible.
Teller still has the only good harbor anywhere along this coast and may,


sometime, be developed as a port through which trade with Asia can be
carried on.
USCP. Alaska. Pt.II, 1947
VSGB; Colby; Baker; Tewkesbury; Sundborg
Dall, William H. Alaska and its resources Alaska and its resources . Boston, 1870.
Harrison, E.S. Nome and Sew [: ] rd Peninsula. Nome and Sew [: ] rd Peninsula. Seattle, Wash., 1905.
Collier, Arthur J. (and others) Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula,
Including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, Including the Nome, Council, Kougarok,
Port Clarence, and Goodhope Precincts Port Clarence, and Goodhope Precincts .
Washington, D.C.,1908. (U.S. Geological
Survey. Bulletin Bulletin , No.328)
Brooks, Alfred H. (and others) Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton
Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Washington,
D.C., 1901. (U.S. Geological Survey)
Alaska Life, Alaska Life, May, 1945
Greely, A.W. Handbook of Alaska. Handbook of Alaska. 3d ed. N.Y., 1925.
Beechey, Capt. F.W. Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's
Str a it ... in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28 Str a it ... in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28 . London, 1831. Vol.II

23 April 48

50 wds
COVILLE, LAKE, ALASKA, in the northern part of the Alaska
Peninsula, lies about midway between 155° and 156° W. Long. just northwest of Lake
Grosvenor (q.v.) with which it is connected by a short stream. It is
a narrow lake about 9 miles long and is fed by streams rising in the
foothills of the Alaska Range to the northeast.
Sources: US CP: World Aer onautical Chart No. [: ] 136;
° in VS GB

October, 1948 285wds.

CRIPPLE RIVER, southwestern Seward Peninsula, Alaska, the site
of considerable gold mining activity subsequent to the Nome Rush, empties
into Norton Sound about twelve miles west of Nome at the mouth of the Snake
Cripp o l e River drains an area of about ninety square miles and
has an average fall of twenty feet to the mile.
The headwaters of the Cripple are cut off from the Kigluaik
Mountains by the broad basin of the upper Sinuk River (q.v.), and its
tributaries. Rising in a broad basin and then flowing between heights of
1,000 or more feet, the Cripple flows in a generally southwesterly direction
for about ten miles, and then, veering sharply, follows a southeasterly
course for about ten miles more to Norton Sound.
From North to south the tributaries to the first half of its
course are: Gold Run (with its affluent, Slate Creek) Aurora, Oregon
(which receives Short Gulch, Nugget Gulch, Hungry c C reek, and Mountain
Creek), Cleveland, Willow, Stella, Elizabeth, and Fox Creeks.
After turning to the southeast, Cripple River is joined by Sidney,
Arctic (with its tributary Buff Creek), Edward, and Bowhead Creeks.
Where it crosses the coastal plain, here three miles wide, Cripple
River s becomes deeply entrenched and meandering with banks thirty or
more feet high.
Although never equall y ing the gold mining activity on the Snake,
an estimated $50,000 in gold had been removed from the Cripple River region
by 1900. There are now no settlements along the river, the old mining
camps having almost completely disappeared.
VSGB; USCP & Supplement; Brooks, Alfred H. (and others) Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome & Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome &
Norton Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900. Norton Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900.
Washington, 1901.

March, 1949

Text - 575 wds.
DEERING (66° 04′ N.Lat., 162° 44′ W.Long.) is a post office
and settlement at the mouth of the Inmachuk River, northern Seward Peninsula,
Alaska. The 1939 population was estimated at 230, and the town then had a
general store, a licensed fur dealer, an Alaska Native Service School, and
a Friends' Mission.
Deering has lighterage service and telephone communication with
Candle (q.v.). There is a 2200-foot landing strip. Wheeled plane landings
can be made on the beach. Sea plane facilities are poor, but ski landings
are reasonably safe. Emergency anchorages, one immediately offshore from
the town, southeast of Cape Deceit, and one inside Kugruk Lagoon, a few miles
southeast of the town, are available. There are known to be several herds of
reindeer in this vicinity.
Deering is only about 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The
Eskimos, who comprise a large percentage of the population, spend the long
winter months carving beads and other ornaments from walrus ivory. The
Eskimos of this part of Alaska are famous for the artistry of their products,
although they have e xchanged the tools of their ancestors for modern files,
hack saws, and steel drills. During the summer, the Eskimo men work for the
various gold mining companies in the district.
Gold was first discovered in this region by miners who left Nome,
in 1900, for less crowded areas parts of the Peninsula. (See Inmachuk River
article.) As Mendenhall reported, in 1902: "Lat e in the fall of 1900 a
movement began from the Nome region towar d the shore of Goodhope Bay and
adjacent parts of Kotzebue Sound, and as soon as navigation opened in July,
1901, the supply station of Deering was established at the mouth of the
Ipnechuk River [the present Inmachuk] . Many prospectors and miners came in from the more southerly
areas at this time and the Fairhaven mining district was created, and so


defined as to include Goodhope, Cripple, Sullivan, Ipnechuk, Kugruk, or
Swan, and Kewalik rivers, together with the northwestern P p ortion of the
Buckland drainage system."
From the white miners' point of view, Deering is a mining town,
as is proved by the fact that it [: ] has the offices of the gold mining com–
panies now active on the Inmachuk River, as well as the offices of George Wallin's
coal company on the Kugruk River.
The Deering Eskimos serve as good examples in refutation of the
popular conception of the lives of these people. Unless they have heard them
mentioned by the white man, these Eskimos have no knowledge of snowhouses. They
themselves, with very few exceptions, live in houses built of shipped-in
lumber and of standard design. Those few who do not own a frame house have
dwellings of drift-wood and sod. Most of the young Eskimos of this generation
have attended the Government school in Deering and are well educated. They
know their native tongue but speak English in their homes. They still eat
dried fish occasionally, but in all basic respects their diet is exactly the
same as that of the average family in the States. They all have radios,
all listen to the world news reports, and dance to the popular dance bands.
In other words, except for the skill with which they carve in ivory, and
the assurance with which they handle small boats, a nd firearms, they are
indistinguishable from the younger generation in any small Stateside town.



Alaska Life Alaska Life . August, 1944; May, 1945.

Mendenhail, Walter C. Reconnaissance from Fot Hamlin to Kotzebue Sound Reconnaissance from Fot Hamlin to Kotzebue Sound ,
Alaska. Alaska. Washington, 1902. (U.S. Geological Survey. Professional


Tewkesbury's Who's Who in Alaska and Alaska Business Index. Tewkesbury's Who's Who in Alaska and Alaska Business Index. 1947 ed.
U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. Aeronautical Chart Aeronautical Chart No.76.

VS Guide book for Alaska. VS Guide book for Alaska.

March, 1949

Text - 1,105 wds.
Bibl - 50 wds.
DEVIL MOUNTAIN is the only prominent feature of the bro [: ] d, blunt
peninsula which separates Shishmaref Inlet (q.v.) from Kotzebue Sound (q.v.),
on the northern shores of Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Kotzebue named this
880-foot peak Teufelsberg Teufelsberg , in August, 1816. "The summit, "wrote Kotzebue,
"looks as if the fragments of a ruined castle stood on it, of which some
towers were still remaining. These, however, I afterwards recognized to be
stone pillars, resembling those which Saritscheff found on the coast of the
Icy Sea. I called this mountain, Devil's Mountain." This peak has appeared
as Chortof (devil) Mounta i n on some Russian charts.
Kotzebue noted that Devil Mountain is about 15 miles inland from
Goodhope Bay and that "the land is everywhere green, but has not a single bush
on it." The mountain itself is a basaltic lava mass m a ntled on all sides
by the gravels of the coastal plain. Collier reported, in 1908, that these
gravels are not known to be auriferous and that the streams are sluggish and
[: ] follow meandering courses across the marshy, lake-strewn grasslands
of the plain.
Several unnamed streams drain the southern flanks of the mounta in
while Cowpack, Kalik, and Espenberg Rivers flow northward into the Polar Sea.
Nugnugaluktuk, Lane (Kugachuk), and Pish (Kutuk) Rivers flow eastward from
the southern foothills of Devil Mountain into Goodhope Bay, Kotzebue Sound.
Although there are no named towns along this stretch of coast,
it is the home of several hundred Eskimos who make their living hunting, fish–
ing, and trapping. Cape Espenberg, on the northeastern tip of the peninsula,
is marked by a flashing light. A shoal fringes the san d bars south of Cape
Es p enberg. It was probably this same shoal which gave Kotzebue considerable
trouble one night in August of 1816.
Telling of his trip in a small boat northward from [: ] Goodhope
Bay, he writes: "We had scarcely rowed half an hour, when we struck upon a


shoal; it was the time of ebb, and all the places which we had previously
navigated with ease, were now changed into sand banks, and we heard the
breakers roaring round us. We therefore rowed in another direction; but it was
not long before we were again on a shoal, where the breakers threatened to
swallow us up. A violent wind rendered our situation still more dangerous,
our boat drew much water, we were all exhausted by labour, a nd I saw no means
of escaping death, as we had every moment to expect that the boat would be
seized by the breakers and overturned. The baydare in which our scientific
gentlemen were, had got on before us, and some shots as signals of distress
horible, as - in original which proceeded from them rendered our situation horible. We answered them
with a musket shot, but were not able to go to their assistance. At last the
dawning day relieved us all, we could observe the way we had to take to
avoid the breakers...At last...after inconceivable difficulties, we reached the
Rurick on the morning of the 13th." This night journey back to the mother
ship was instigated by the arrival of eight native boats, each carrying twelve
men and numberless dogs. "Such neighbors," Kotzebue had instantly decided,
"might really prove dangerous to us, as my whole company on this excursion
consisted of only fourteen men, and the loss of some of my sailors would have
made it impossible for me to complete the expedition." However, since these
natives had merely landed nearby and peacably set up camp, Kotzebue's decision
to exchange their company for the dangers of stormy and unknown waters would
seem unduly precipitous. One is forced to the suspicion that some former
action of his own might have given hi [: ] cause to fear reprisal on the p a rt of
these natives.
Kitzebue gives what is probably still the best general description
of this part of Seward Peninsula. "As far as the eye could reach, " he
wrote, "everything was green; here and there were flowers in blossom, and
no snow was seen but on the tops of the mountains at a great distance; yet


one had to dig but half a foot deep to find nothing but frost and ice under
this verdant carpet." Of the Eskimos, or, 'Americans', as he quite correctly
calls them, he wrote: "They are of a middle size, robust make, and healthy
appearance; their motions are lively, and they seemed much inclined to sportive–
ness; their countenances, which have an expression o f wantonness, but not of
stupidity, are ugly and dirty, characterised by small eyes and very high
cheek-bones; they have holes on each side of the mouth, in which they wear
morse-bones, ornamented with blue glass beads, which gives them a most
frightful appearance. They hair hangs down long, but is cut quite short on
the crown of the head. Their head and ears are also adorned with beads.
Their dr e sses, which are made of skins, are of the same cut as the Parka in
Kamtschatka; only that there it reaches to the feet, and here hardly covers
the knee; besides this, they wear pantaloons, and small half-boots, of seal–
Elsewhere he remarks: "They are very expert traders, haggle obstinate–
ly, always consult together, and are infinitely happy when they fancy they
have cheated any body. Some old women, who were in their baydares, understood
bargaining still better. There was so much laughing and joking during the
trading, that it appeared as if we were surrounded by the lively South Sea
islanders, instead of the serious inhabitants of the north. Their arms
consist of lances, bows, arrows,and a knife, two feet long, in a sheath;
this military equipment, which they never lay aside, proves that they are in
constant wars with other nations. Their lances, which are of iron, very well
wrought, resemble those which the Russians have sold to the Tschukutskoi; the
glass beads, also, with which they adorn themselves, are of the same kind as
those worn in Asia, which proves that they must be in commercial intercourse
with that continent."
It does did not occur to Kotzebue that natives who live solely by


hunting, fishing, and trapping might keep their equipment with them at all
times for other reasons than for making war on their neighbors. Neither
does did it occur to him that these natives might be genuinely happy and satis–
fied with their lot in life, and that, having made an almost perfect adjust–
ment to their environment , they no longer felt "serious" about living in
the north.



Alaska Life , May, 1945.

Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. 2d ed. Washington, 1906.

Collier, A.J. Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, Alaska Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, Alaska . Washington,
1908. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 328)

Collier, A.J. Reconnaissance of the Northwestern Portion of Seward Peninsula,

Reconnaissance of the Northwestern Portion of Seward Peninsula,
Washington, 1902. (U.S. Geological Survey. Professional

Brooks, A.H. Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Norton Bay Regions,
Alaska, in 1900. Washington, 1901.

Kotzebue, Otto von. Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's the years 1815-1818.

Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's the years 1815-1818.
Translated by H.E. Lloyd.
London, 1821. 3v.

24 May 48

450 wds
DILLINGHAM, ALASKA, strategically situated between the mouths
of the Wood and Snake Rivers on the western side of Nushagak Bay (q.v.),
Bristol Bay, is the largest village in this vicinity. It was established
in August, 1905. Although the offical 1939 Census figure showed a
population of 278, the settlement had grown to an estimated 450 by 1947.
Dillingham, like all the other settlements on Nushagak Bay,
is most active from mid-June to late July when several large red salmon
canneries operate in the Nushagak and Wood Rivers, at the head of the
bay, and in the Snake and Igushik Rivers which enter it from the west.
The Bristol Bay Packing Co. and Pacific American Fisheries maintain
canneries in Dillingham. The second of these companies has a 178-foot
wharf. This wharf has a depth of 2 feet at low tide and can be used
only by lighters even at high tide. Like other salmon companies in
the area, the cannery maintains a radio station and its own supplies of
gasoline and oil. The wharf is fitted with a marine railway capable
of hauling 100 tons.
According to 1947 reports Dillingham has several other
facilities including a Territorial school, a high school, 5 restaurants,
4 taxicabs, 2 hotels, 5 licensed fur dealers, 3 general stores, 5 transfer
and storage companies, 2 literage services, a saltery, a light plant,
one aircraft and one electrical supplies and service store, a beauty
shop, gift shop, theater, and attorney at law. Two labor unions, the
Alaska Fishermen's Union (CIO) and the International Union of Fishermen
and Allied Workers of America, Local 46, (CIO) have representatives in
Dillingham. Two U.S. Commissioners are stationed in the town, one with
full powers and one acting as Justice of the Peace and coroner. Although
there are no dentists in the town, there is a large hospital staffed with
5 nurses and attended by a doctor from Bethel.


Since the waters of Nushagak Bay are too shallow for large
vessels, and since the territory around Dillingham is low, marshy tundra
making summer travel impossible, air service is especially important.
Six air carriers were in operation in 1947, one of which was certified
by the Civil Aeronautics Board. It was reported in November of the same
year that the local merchants had appointed an Airport Committee and
were sponsoring the construction of a 2200-foot runway. Work on
this project had been renewed after a summer delay during which most of
of the volunteer workers were off fishing or busy on Alaska Road
Commission jobs. Everyone in the Nushagak Bay area turns fisherman
during the canning season. The canneries supply boats, nets, and
credit to anyone who wants to fish so that other activities come to an
abrupt however brief hault. The chief activities for the remainder
of the year are hunting and trapping.
Dillingham is on the long winter trail which connects points
on Kvichak Bay and Iliamna Lake (q.v.) with Owens, Togiak,and Goodnews
(q.v.) to the west.

Ruby Collins DIOMEDE ISLANDS, Alaska
February, 1949

565 wds.
DIOMEDE ISLANDS, Bering Sea, Alaska, comprise Big and Little
Diomede. The former belongs to the U.S.S.R., and the latter is a possession
of the United States. The internationl boundary is the meridian which passes
between Big and Little Diomede Islands.
Vitus Bering would appear to have described one or more both of this
group pair on August 16, 1728. There is some doubt as to whether [: ] he named
his discovery after the holy martyr St. Diomede, who, according to the church
calendar, is was honored on August 16, or whether he named it after St. Demetrius,
whose day was August 14. The name Demetrius appears on some early maps,
but usage has established Diomede. Michael Gvozdef, a surveyor, who explored
Bering Strait in 1730, called these islands after himself, but this name was
used only briefly. Some recent maps id [: ] ntify Big Diomede as Rotmanov Island.
The cliff-like sides of the Diomede Islands rise abruptly out
of the water. There are no beaches, and their tops are a broken table-land.
Big Diomede is about three miles long by one mile wide and rises to a height of
1,758 feet, while Little Diomede is about one-third that area and about 1,200
feet high at the apex. Although the water in this vicinity is deep, the bottom
is rocky and the anchorage poor. There are some exposed rocks off the western
side of Big Diomede, and there is a flashing light on the northwestern corner
of this island.
The villages on these two islands perch on the rocky slopes well
above the high water level. The chief settlement on Big Diomede is Nunebruk,
and Ignaluk is the principal village of Little Diomede. Ignaluk is constructed
on the steep hillside just above the sand spit which extends from the western
shore of the island. Vessels approaching the village from the [: ] south and
east will find deep water and good anchorage off the southern side of this


sand spit. From the end of the spit, however, a shoal and reef extend an
unknown distance toward Big Diomede Island. Small vessels may pass between
these islands, but large vessels are warned against the attempt.
The Diomede Eskimos are Innuits. The y [: ] are famous for their
seamanship and for their skill in hunting whales, walrus, and seal, and are
equally well-known for their carving of walrus ivory into beads and other items
of adornment. However skilled and courageous in the management of their tiny kayaks, these Innuit hunters are known
to be in the management of their tiny kayaks, they are not foolhardy, as is
clearly shown by the following quotation from Hooper's report of 1881: "Although
the passage from Siberia to America and back is made many times each year by the
natives in their skin boats, and is not considered by them to be attended with
any unusaual amount of [: ] ager, I could not learn that it is ever made over the ice
during the winter. The natives say the ice is always broken and subjected to
great and sudden changes, rendering any attempts to cross it extremely hazardous.
It is said that open spaces occur from time to time throughout the winter, which
contain numbers of whales, but that owing to the sudden changes which take
place their capture is not attempted."
For winter dwellings the natives dig caves into the face of the
cliffs. The entrances to these caves are covered with small wooden frameworks
not unlike the woodsheds indigenous to New England. These are the "fortified
places" to which Gerhard F. Müller referred in 1761.
Ignaluk has a schoolhouse and a general store where the Eskimos
trade their ivory carvings [: ] and seal mocassions for sugar, flour, canned goods,
and other staples to which the white man has introduced them.



Hooper, C.L. Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenus Cutter Thomas Corwin Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenus Cutter Thomas Corwin
in the Arctic Ocean, 1881. in the Arctic Ocean, 1881. Washington, 1884.

Müller, G.F. Voyages from Asia to America. Voyages from Asia to America. Translated by Thomas Jefferys.
London, 1761.



Ruby Collins
February, 1949 115 wds DON RIVER, ALASKA

DON RIVER, western Seward Peninsula, Alaska, is a northern tribu–
tary to the lagoon on the north side of Port Clarence. The name originated
locally and was first reported by Gerdine, in 1901.
The Don rises north of Brooks Mountain, in the York range, and
flows eastward [: ] for about [: ] four miles, then turns southward to work
its way for another sixteen miles out of the mountains, and across the lowland
bordering Port Clarence. Soon after turning southward, the Don is joined by
Anderson, and El k ington Creeks from the west and east respectively, and, about
six miles above its mouth, by Tozer Creek from the east. Several other streams
enter the D on, but they are unnamed.
The lagoon into which the Don empties is extremely shoal so that
the river is not approachable to any except the smallest vessles. This same
is true of Thompson Creek, which enters this same lagoon at a point about half–
way between California River (q.v.) and the Don.

Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1902.


21 April 48

150 wds
EGEGIK, ALASKA, is a fishing village, post office, and cannery
on the south bank of the mouth of the Egegik River, in the northwestern
part of the Alaska Peninsula. The village had a population of 125 in 1939.
Although the cannery is open only from late June to the end of July,
airplane service from Anchorage is available the year around. The Alaska
Packers Association and the Pacific American Fisheries Inc maintain canneries
and radio stations in Egegik. The winter trail which connects Kanatak,
[: ] Portage Bay, on the northeastern side of the Alaska Peninsula,with
Naknek, Koggiung and other points [: ] on Kvichak Bay, runs down
the northern side of the mouth of the Egegik River, just across from the
village of Egegik.
& Suppl.

21 April 48

300 wds
EGEGIK RIVER, ALASKA (Egegak; Igagik; Ugaguk, etc.), drains from
the western end of Lake Becharof (q.v.), in the northern park of the Alaska
Peninsula, and flows in a northwesterly direction for about 25 miles to empty
into Bristol Bay. Tidewater is reported to run a considerable distance upstream.
Egegik River is narrow and rough with rapids for a few miles after leaving
Lake Becharof, after which it widens, then narrows again. The middle half
of its course is dotted with islands. In 1938, $5,000 were spent clearing
a channel through the rapids at the head of the river. The river is now
navi a gable to small boats for its entire length, and to ocean-going vessels
as far as Egegik (q.v.), the largest settlement on the river, [: ] which is
situated at the mouth where the river widens to about 2 miles.
The King Salmon River
(q.v.), largest tributary to the Egegik, enters from the north at a point approximately
opposite the village of Egegik.
The Alaska Packers Association maintains a cannery and wharf on
the Egegik River. The 80-foot wharf has a 5-ton crane and supplies of fresh
water. The cannery operates a machine shop which will take on small outside
repair work, but the supplies of fuel on the wharf are for c [: ] nnery use only.
Libby, McNeill & Libby also. maintains a cannery and wharf on the river.
This wharf is 180 feet long but is dry at low water and available only to
small boats even at high tide. This wharf has a 5-ton crane and a marine
The Egegik River, which has been variously reported for over a
century, was listed by Lütke in 1828 as the Ougagouk, from the Eskimo
name perhaps meaning swift .
Sources: Baker; USCP & Suppl.; Colby; Sundborg; VSGB; Tewkesbury

October, 1948

350 wds
ELDORADO RIVER, southern Seward Peninsula, Alaska, enters Port
Safety lagoon,on the north side of Norton Sound, about midway between Rocky
Point and Cape Rodney.
The headwaters of the Eldorado are separated only by an extremely
[: ] low divide from the Kruzgamepa, a tributary to Port Clarence. The
Eldorado flo w s almost directly south, first through a wide gravel-filled
basin, then through a narrow valley, whose floor merges with the coastal
In the highland section of its course, the Eldorado is joined
from the west by Boldrin, North, and Moonlight Creeks, and, from the
east, by Grassman, Venetia, San Jose, Carl, and Mulligan Creeks. Pajara
Creek enters the Eldorado soon after it reaches the plain, and Beaver
Creek, the longest of these tributaries, joins the Eldorado a few miles
above its mouth.
The Flambeau River also enters Port Safety lagoon. The Flambeau
rises west of the Eldorado, across a low divide separating it from the
upper reaches of the Nome River, and flows southeastward through a wide
valley to Port Safety. The Flambeau is joined by Iron, and Discovery
Creeks from the west, and by several unnamed streams from both sides of
its course.
Fox Lake lies just to the west of the mouths of these two vi riv ers,
and is joined to an arm of Port Safety by a narrow channel.
Port Safety, itself, is a small anchorage for light draft vessels.
The narrow entrance is about eight miles east of Cape Nome and is marked
by four buoys during the season of navigation.


On the former site of the small town of Safety, at the entrance
to the Port, there is now Port Safety Roadhouse. This roadhouse lies on
the winter trail which skirts the southern shores of Seward Peninsula from
Norton Bay westward.
Beaver Creek, on that tribuatry to the Eldorado, is the only
true settlement in the entire district. It had a population of 17 in 1939,
and a landing strip 1,100 feet long.

Ruby Collins

Text - 1,820 words
Bibl. - 100 words
ESCHSCHOLTZ BAY, east of Chamisso Island and Choris Peninsula, and
north of Spafarief Bay, indents the northeastern shores of Seward Peninsula,
Alaska. The entrance, between Chamisso Island and the mainland, through
Spafarief Bay, is six or seven miles wide but shoal. East of Elephant Point,
on the mainland, the bay is navigable only for small boats, and the shore at
the head of the bay is difficult of access because of the long, muddy flats
which are bare at low water as much as one-third of a mile offshore. It is
possible that the bay is gradually filling up, and vessels proceeding eastward
from Chamisso Anchorage should use caution.
Beechey examined this bay very carefully in September, 1826, and
reported as follows: "Having now the assistance of the barge, I embarked in
her to examine narrowly the shores of Kotzebue Sound. Proceeding to survey the
head of Escholtz Bay, shallow water obliged the boat to anchor off Elephant
Point, where I left Mr. Collie with a party to examine again the cliffs in which
the fossils and ice formation had been seen by Kotzebue, and proceeded to the
head of the bay in a small boat. We landed upon a flat muddy beach, and were
obliged to wade a quarter of a mile before we could reach a cliff for the pur–
pose of having a view of the surrounding country. Having gained its summit we
were graitified by the discovery of a large river coming from the southward, and
passing between our station and a range of hills. At a few miles distance the
river passed between rocky cliffs, whence the land on either side became hilly,
and interrupted our further view of its course. The width of the river was
about a mile and a half; but this space was broken into narrow and intricate
channels by banks — some dry, and others partly so. The stream passed rapidly
between them, and at an earlier period of the season a considerable body of water
must be poured into the sound; though, from the comparative width of the


channels, the current in the latter is not much felt.
"The shore around us was flat, broken by several lakes, in which
there were a great many wildfowl. The cliff we had ascended was composed of a bluis h
mud and clay, and was full of deep chasms lying in a direction parallel with the [: ]
front of the eminence. In appearance this hill was s i milar to that at Elephant Point,
[: ] which was said to contain fossils; but there were none seen here, though
the earth, in parts, had a disagreeable smell, similar to that which was supposed
to proceed from the decayed animal substances in the cliff near Elepphant Point."
The 'large river' described by Beechey was the Buckland, one of the
major streams on Seward Peninsula, which enters the extreme southeastern corner
of Eschscholtz Bay. The only other named tributary, the Kauk River, a much
shorter stream, enters the northeastern side of the Bay.
It was in the vicinity of Elephant Point that Kotzebue, in August,
1816, found what he called 'icebergs' on the shores of the bay. "On the 7th,"
he writes, "at 8 o'clock in the morning, we [: ] left the Rurick, with a fresh
south-east wind, to explore the eastern part of the bay. We had already advanced
so far at noon, that we could distinctly observe, that the land was united every–
where: at the distance of a full mile from the shore, the water had decreased
to five feet; and the hope of discovering a river also vanished. (In this
Kotzebue was wrong, but the cliff which Beechey ascended ten years later,
obstructed his view of the southeastern corner of the bay, and therefore of
the mouth of the Buckland River.) Happily we found a convenie n t place for
landing; the current having formed a small tongue of land, where there was
[: ] epth enough for us to approach with our long-boat, and I resolved to remain
there for the night. There were two small huts, near ourlanding-place, which
were raised several feet, supported by four pillars, and covered with morse-skin.
These huts did not seem constructed so much for continual residence, as for
magazines for their instruments, and hunting utensils. We here found very


elegantly-made arms. I took several arrows, and put in their stead knives, and
a hatchet, on the handle of which, Rurick and the date of the year was carved.
Probably the Americans visit this place, at the hunting time. They perhaps also
keep rein-deer; as we saw many horns of these useful animals lying on the shore.
The land rises a little from t h e coast, but reaches to a considerable height;
and is only covered below with beautiful green, and above with moss...We had
climbed much about during our stay, without discovering that we were on real
ice-bergs. The doctor, who had extended his excursions, found part of the bank
broken down, and saw, to his astonishment, that the interior of the mountain, con–
sisted of pure ice. At this news, we [: ] ll went, provided with shovels and crows,
to examine this phenomenon more closely, and soon arrived at a place where
the back rises almost perpendicularly out of the sea, to the height of a hundred
feet; and then runs off, rising still higher. We saw masses of the purest ice,
of the height of an hundred feet, which are under a cover of moss and grass; and
could not have produced, but by some terrible revolution. The place which, by
some accident, had fallen in, and is now exposed to the sun and air, melts away,
and a good deal of water flows into the sea. An indisputable proof that what we saw
was real ice, is the quantity of mammoths' teeth and bones, which were exposed to
view by the melting, and among which I myself found a very fine tooth. We
could not assign any reason, for a strong smell, like that of burnt horn, which
we perceived in this place. The covering of these mountains, on which the most
luxuriant grass grows to a certain height, is only half a foot thick, and con–
sists of a mixture of clay, sand, and earth; below which the ice gradually melts
away, the green cover sinks with it, and continues to grow; and thus it may be
foreseen, that in a long series of years, the mountain will vanish, and a green
valley be formed in its stead. By a good observation, we found the latitude of
the tongue of land 66° 15′ 36″, north...I called the bay after our physician,
Eschscholtz, as it was he that made the remarkable discovery there. It seemed
to be uninhabited, and only visited at a certain time of the year, on account


of the hunting. I do not doubt, that there was a river between the high
mountains, which the shoals, however, would not permit us to investigate."
Kotzebue was correct in this assumption, as Beechey was to prove
ten years later. Beechey also examined and named Elephant Point, of which he
writes: "I found Mr.Collie had been successful in his search among the cliffs
at Elephant Point, and had discovered several bones and grinders of elephants
and other animals in a fossil state, of which a full description and drawings
from the remains will be found in the Appendix. Associating these two dis–
coveries, I bestowed the name of Elephant upon the point, to mark its vicinity
to the place where the fossils were found; and upon the river that of Buck [: ] and,
in compliment to Dr. Buck [: ] nd, the professor of geology at Oxford, to wh [: ] m I am
much indebted for the above mentioned description of the fossils, and for the
arrangement of the ge o logical memoranda attached to this work.
"The cliff in which these fossils appear to have been imbedded is
part of the range in which the ice formation was seen in July. During our
absence (a space of five weeks) we found that the edge of the cliff in one
place had broken away four feet, and in another two feet and a half, and a
further portion of it was on the eve of being precipitated upon the beach. In
some places where the icy shi le el ds had adhered to the cliff nothing now remained,
and frozen earth formed the front of the cliff. But cutting through those parts
of the ice which were still attached, the mud in a frozen state presented itself
as before, and confirmed our previous opinion of the nature of the cliff. With–
out putting it to this test, appearances might well have led to the c l o nclusion
come to by Kotzebue and M. Escholtz; more especially if it happened to be
visi s t ed early in the summer, and in a season less favourable than that in which
we viewed it. The earth, which is fast falling away from the cliffs — not
in this place only, but in all parts of the bay — is carried away by the tide;
and throughout the summer there must be a tendency to diminish the depth of


the water, wich at no very distant period will probably leave it navigable only
by boats. It is now so shallow off the ice cliffs, that a bank dries at two
miles' distance from the shore; and it is only at the shingly points which occur
opposite the ravines that a convenient landing can be effected with small boats."
In 1901, Mendenhall gave the definitive explanation of the formation
of these ice cliffs. "Many wirters since Kotzebue have discussed the origin of
these cliffs, but the explanation given by Mr. L.M. Turner, Messrs. E.W.Nelson
and C.L. Hooper, and Prof. I.C. Russell seems to be entirely adequate. It is
that [: ] the numerous lakelets scattered about over the tundra are gradually buried
by the advance of their mossy borders toward the center. After their burial they
are frozen, as is the entire tundra, a few inches below its surface and are later
revealed by later [: ] al river cutting, as in the Kowak delta, or by the work of waves,
as at Elephant Point, and appear as masses of comparatively clear ice in the
general deposit of frozen mud, sands, and vegetable matter."
Of the north side of the bay, Beechey wrote: "In our return to the
ship to deposit the fossils, a calm obliged us to anchor on the north side of the
bay, where we landed with difficulty, in consequence of the shallowness of the
beach, and of several ridges of sa n d thrown up parallel with it, too near the sur–
face for the boat to pass over, and with channels of water between them too
deep to wade through without getting completely wet. The country abounded in
l a kes, in which were many wild ducks, geese, teal, and widgeon; and was of the
same swampy nature before described: it was covered with moss, and occasionally
by low bushes of juniper, cranberry, whortleberry, and cloudberry. Near this
spot, two days before, we saw a herd of eleven reindeer, and shot a musk rat."
Eschscholtz Bay is about 27 miles long and 11 miles wide at the
greatest. Aside from several shelter cabins and a reindeer station, at the
mouth of the Kauk River, the only settlement in the vicnity is Baldwin, a few
miles in [: ] and and west from Elephant Point. There is a 1100-foot landing area
near Baldwin, and the village is on the winter trail which leads from Deering


and Kiwalik northward to the Kobuk River and to Kotzebue (q.v.), on Baldwin



Beechey, F.W. Narrative of a Voya [: g ] e to the Pacific and Beering's Narrative of a Voya [: g ] e to the Pacific and Beering's
the years 1825, 26, 27, 28. the years 1825, 26, 27, 28. London, 1 0 831. 2v.

Kotzebue, Otto von. Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Beering's Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Beering's the years 1815-1818. the years 1815-1818. Translated by H.E. Lloyd.
London, 1821. 3v.

Mendenhall, W.C. Reconnaissance from Frot Hamlin to Kotzebue Sound, Alaska. Reconnaissance from Frot Hamlin to Kotzebue Sound, Alaska.
Washington, 1902. (U.S. Geological Survey. Professional Paper, Professional Paper,

U.S. Coast Pilot. Alaska. Part II. Alaska. Part II.

July, 1948

840 wds.
ETOLIN STRAIT, western Alaska, separates Nunivak Island
(q.v.) from the section of the mainland between the mouths of the Kuskokwim
and the Yukon Rivers (q.v.). For several miles offshore from the main–
land, mud flats and extremely shoal water obstruct navigation of the
strait all the way from Cape Avinof, [: ] its southeastern entrance point,
to Cape Vancouver, Nelson Island. A few miles above Cape Avinof, Kinak
Bay indents the lake-strewn mainland. The head of this bay is divided
by a small peninsula point of land which separates the mouths of the two rivers, the
Kuguklik and the Kinak, which flow into the bay from the northeast.
The first of these rivers rises in an unnamed lake east of the bay
and about 18 miles inland. The native settlement of Kipnuk is on this
river a few miles up from its mouth. Some maps show the Kinak River
rising in Dall Lake about 20 miles northeast of Kinak Bay which lake also
drains into Kinia River. The Kinia flows in a generally southwesterly
direction to empty into Etolin Strait about 18 miles north of Kinak
Bay. In December, 1878, Edward William Nelson [: ] v isited the two towns
on the Kinia, Chichinak and Sfaganuk, and reported their names [: ] with
variants of their present form. A few miles north of the Kinia the southern
channel to Baird Inlet empties into the strait. This and the more
northerly channel to the inlet cut Nelson Island off from the mainland.
Agiukchuk, the only settlement on this southern channel was also
visited by Nelson in 1878.
Baird Inlet, which, except for two narrow channels each
about 22 miles long, is cut off from Etolin Strait and Bering Sea by Nelson
Island. Baird Inlet is a large body of water about 36 miles long from each to west
and about 18 miles from north to south at the widest points. The
It lies somewhat south of midway of the stretch of coast separating


the mouth s of the Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers. The country on all sides
of the inlet is low, marshy, lake-studded tundra. Many of these lakes
empty one into the other or drain into small rivers and stream, a
great number of which find their way into the inlet. Petrof named this
body of water in 1880 after Professor Spencer F. Baird, the Secretary
of the Smithsonian Institution. Very little is known about this part
of Alaska and most of the lakes and rivers, with the exception of Dall
Lake, about 10 miles south of the head of the inlet, are unnamed and
Nelson Island fits closely into the mouth of Baird Inlet.
It lies northeast across Etolin Strait northeast of from the north end of Nunivak
Island. Nelson Island is about 43 miles from north to south and about
33 miles from east to west at the widest points. Mud flats obstruct the
southern channel to Baird Inlet and appear again just south of the
northern channel entrance . The northern, eastern, and southern sections
of the island are low, the southern being dotted with tiny lakes, but the
mid-western section is hilly, particularly along the peninsula which juts
out from this western side toward Nunivak Island. Cape Vancouver, the
westernmost tip of this peninsula, rises boldly 1,000 feet above the
water. The shoal water which extends northward from the mouth of the
Kuskokwim River persists along the southern side of this peninsula
past the settlement of Kaliukluk, on the south side of the cape. Deep
water lies directly off the c C ape Vancouver and continues along the north side
of the bite on which Tanunak, a native village of about 65 people, is
situated. From Tanunak northeastward along the shore of the island the
mudflats reappear and persist to the mouth of the northern channel to
Baird Inlet. Kashigaluk, in the center of the island, with a 1939
population of 10, and Kaioliuk, on the north shore a few miles east


of Tanunak are the only other settlements on the island.
Etolin Strait was discovered by Adolph Karlovich Etolin in
1821, twenty years before he was made governor of the Russian American
Colonies. He called it Cook Strait after Captain James Cook, but
Krusenstern proposed that it be called Etolin Strait, by which name it
is generally indicated on current maps.
The mainland east of the strait is part of the 30,000–
square-mile stretch of marsh and tundra between the mouths of the
Kukokwim and the Yukon which is the major breeding ground for the
water fowl not only of Alaska but also for all of western Canada and
the United States. So many ducks and geese nest and rear their young
in this area that the natives collect their eggs by the boatload in
the spring and drive geese by the thousands of geese and half-grown birds into net corrals in July.
Annabel reported in 1948 that not only was their no adequate enforcement
of the laws to protect these fowl from destruction at human hands, but
also that coyotes had found their way into this part of Alaska within the
last few years and that they were adding considerably to the slaughter.
Since this is the major source of game fowl for the United States and
Canada both , it would seem most necessary that protective measures be
taken with all possible speed.
Sources: uscp;Baker; Annabel. Hunting and Fishing in Alaska; Tewkesbury
Colby; Sundborg

Ruby Collins
February, 1949 100 wds FAIRWAY ROCK, ALASKA

FAIRWAY ROCK (65°37′ N.Lat., 168° 44′ W.Long.) Bering Strait,
Alaska, lies nine or ten miles southeast of Little Diomede Island. Fairway
is a 200-foot steep-sided, square-headed granite rock with deep water on all
sides and no outlying dangers.
According to W.T. Lopp, a late nineteenth century missionary to
the Cape Prince of Wales Eskimos, and namesake of Lopp Lagoon, the top of
Fairway Rock is several acres in area and is absolutely flat. Since its
characteristics are similar and its altitude only slightl y less than that of York
Plateau, it is probably of the same period of erosion.
Sources: Brooks, A.H. Reconnaissance in the Cape Nome and Norton Bay Regions, Alaska, Reconnaissance in the Cape Nome and Norton Bay Regions, Alaska,
in 1900. in 1900. Washington, [: ] 1901.

September, 1948 ALASKA

Revised October, 1948

2180 wds - Text
50 wds - Bibl.
GOLOVNIN BAY (Golofnin), a northern arm of Norton Sound, western
Alaska, was discovered in 1821 by Kromchenko and named after his ship, which
in turn had been named for Captain Vasili Mikhailovich Golofnin, of the
Russian Navy.
Golovnin Bay cuts into the south side of Seward Peninsula
west of Norton Bay. The 12-mile wide entrance to this bay extends from
Cape Darby on the east to Rocky Point on the west. From these two points,
the bay extends northward for about twelve miles to its head, where a
two-mile entrance leads into Golovnin Sound. This sound extends about 9
miles in a northwesterly direction to the many-channeled mouth of the Fish
River. About 8 miles above Cape Darby tiny Carolyn Island stands about
one-quarter of a mile off the eastern shore of the bay.
The foothills of the Darby Mountains extend along the peninsula
which forms the eastern side of the bay, but nowhere approach the shores
very closely except in the vicinity of Cape Darby itself. Inland from the
sand spit which ju ts out from the eastern shore of the bay at the entrance
to Golovnin Sound, the land is low and swampy, and, across the entire head
of the sound, extends a swamp which reaches several miles inland, completely
enclosing the tortuous channels of the mouths of the Fish and Klokerblok
This swampland and tundra continues halfway down the western
side of the bay and reappears on the point of land , and on the tidal island ,
which extend [: ] from the west side of the bay towards the sand-spit opposite ,
at the entrance to Golovnin Sound. For the five miles southward to Rocky
Point the western side of Golovnin Bay is high and bold, although fringed
with a low, sandy beach.
There is good anchorage with protection from all
winds in the vicinity of the southern sandspit in the entrance to Golovnin


Sound, but an extensive shoal cuts across this entrance from the western
side of the bay to within three-quarters of a mile of the eastern shore.
The channel runs around the eastern end of this shoal and so into Golovnin
Sound, which is extremely shallow thoughout and open only to small steamers.
McKee describes this sound as "a large and shallow body of water with
treacherous mud-flats, surrounded by great barren hills and the all-pervading
tundra." There is a mission and reindeer station a few miles above Cape
Darby on the eastern shore of the bay, but the only true settlement in this
area is Golovnin, (see below).
The Kachauik River enters Golovnin Sound a few miles above Golovnin,
and the Fish River, major tributary to the sound, and one of the largest
streams in southern Seward Peninsula, enters at the head.
The Fish rises in the Bendeleben Mountains about midway between
Death Valley and Mount Bendeleben. After about 7 miles, it works its way
southward out of the mountains, then, flowing [: ] in a southwesterly direction,
crosses a twelve-mile stretch of low, marshy tundra, called the Fish River
Flats, then passes thro u gh a mountain chain of 1,000-foot peaks, and finally
veers southward to follow a meandering course down fifteen miles (airline)
of tundra to the head of Golovnin Sound. White Mountain, the main Fish
River settlement, (see below), lies about midway of this section of the river.
The mountains of the upper Fish River rise to 3,500 feet, and the
valleys through which the main river and its tributaries flow are U-shaped
and glaciated. There is some timber along the streams in the Fish River
Flats area, but otherwise the country is barren of trees. From the west,
in the Flats section of its course, the Fish receives the waters of Boston
Creek, with its two tributaries Baker and Oregon Creeks, and of Pargon River.
It is also joined from the east by Mosquito Creek, Rathlatulik River,
Etchepak River, and Cache Creek.


Pargon River rises in the vicinity of Chauik Mountain, is
joined by Duncan Creek from the south after leavin g the mountains, and enters
the Fish a few miles above its junction with Cache Creek.
Almost immediately after leaving the mountains below the Flats,
the Fish is joined from the west by its main tributary, the N iukluk River
(q.v.), and, a few miles farther south, by Fox River.
The Fox rises in the divide separating the Fish River system from
the Solomon (q.v.), the next major river to the west, and flows first
northeastward and then eastward to the Fish. It is j oined by Horton, Slate,
Suiro, and Dewey Creeks at fairly regular intervals along its 17-mile course.
A few miles below the mouth of the Fox, a group of low hills
diverts the Fish River, the main channel curving around to the west of these
hills, and Steamboat Slough flowing to the east of them. Both these streams
converge, together with Klokerblok River, immediately to the south of this
group of hills, to feed the branched, delta-like mouth of the Fish River.
The [: ] Klokerblok originates in the mountains to the west
of the Fish and just north of the Bluff Region (q.v.), at the junction of
O'Brien and Kentucky Creeks. Along the early,mountainous,nine-mile section
of its course, it is joined by Skookum River, with its tributaries, Boil,
Goldbottom, Sourdough, Eureka, and Dewey, and by Basin, Thompson, and
Colorado Creeks. It then continues for another nine miles across the
coastal tundra to the Fish River, being joined by several unnamed streams
on the way.
The only habitations along the first half of the Fish River are
Omilak, on an early tributary to Mosquito Creek, Telephone Shelter Cabin,
and Boston Shelter Cabin, but White Mountain, at the confluence of the Fish
and the Klokerblok Rivers, is one of the major settlements for the entire
Fish River area. [: ]
Around 1900, White Mountain was merely a group of log cabins


and a storehouse point for the Wild Goose Mining and Trading Company, which
Chales D. Lane was then operating with remarkable success on Ophir Creek,
in the Council District north of White Mountain.
Leaving behind the disappointments, hardships, and confusion of
the Nome beach, Lanier Mc K ee made the trip, complete with a library of law
books, from Nome to Council City in July, 1900, stopping at Golovnin and
White Mountain on the way. At Golovnin (which he called Chenik), he and
his three companions built a narrow, shallow-draft boat of the type necessary
for the journey, and christened it the Mush-on . The Arctic Bird [: ] , a light–
draft stern-wheeler, then making regular runs between Golovnin and White
Mountain, towed them the first twenty-five miles of their trip. McKee
writes: "The Mush-on was the last of the string in tow, which consisted of
a small barge or lighter, containing Wild Goose Company machinery, and the
boats of several others, who were also going up the rivers ... After running
upon and backing off various mud-flats, at midnight the Arctic Bird rested at
the delta of the Fish River ... It was, of course, daylight, — a weird,
grayish effect, — and fairly, but not disagreeably, cold. Then we entered
and pushed slowly up the swift and shallow stream, the mosquitos, for the
first time in our wanderings to date, making themselves manifest and felt ...
For the first time there was a semblance of "God's country." The beautifully
clear stream, — flanked on each side by scrub willows and an occasional small
spruce-tree, — whose tempting water one could dip up and drink ad libitum ,
seemed in places filled with fish, darting swiftly about above the gravel
bed. Hills that appeared more like mountains loomed up in the distance,
gray in the early light. There was the inevitable tundra, of course,
but it seemed less all-pervading — it had finally met with some competition ...
Many times the Arctic Bird would run upon a riffle (where the water runs very
shallow over the gravel), to be temporarily baffled and obliged to back off


and seek another course. The stream averaged hardly two feet in depth ...
By noon we were disembarked and camped at White Mountain, a few feet from
the river ... this was the best camping-spot yet. The scene was pretty;
it seemed a healthful place; and water, plentiful and good, was very near
at [: ] hand."
As this shows, even in those days, lighterage companies were
making regular trips between Golovnin and White Mountain, which was then,
and still is, head of light-draft navigation on the Fish River. Today
small craft still bring supplies into the district, but a great deal of
freight is carried by air. [: ]
White Mountain, with a 1939 population of about 200, now has a
1,500-foot runway for land planes, a post-office, and telephone connection
with Nome. Of the three general stores, two are r un by whites, and the other,
a cooperative, by a Native named Abraham Lincoln. The town also has one
of the few Alaska Native Service Boarding Schools yet established in the
entire Territory.
Golovnin, on the east side of the bay, was formerly called Chenik, or Dexter's,
after the pioneer who settled there in the [: ] late 1880's. The Indians
called this settlement Chenik (Cheenik), and Mckee described it, in 1900,
as a scattered settlement on a high hill containing a small Swedish Evangelical
Church Mission, which was caring for 50 or 60 natives. The summer of 1900
brought an epidemic of measles and pneumoni [: ] which killed whole families,
and which turned the mission into a hospital for most of the natives of
the region.
Golovnin is now a fishing and mining town of 116 or more people
with a school, post-office, roadhouse, licensed fur dealer, and a Mission
Convent Church. There are two general stores in the village, two herring
salteries, and two lighterage companies carrying freight up and down the
Fish River between White Mountain and Golovnin. In addition to several


reindeer corrals, there is a cold storage plant for reindeer meat. The
town is connected by telephone with Nome, St. Michael, and Council, and
there is a 2,000-foot landing field for wheeled planes, as well as a
9,900-foot sheltered anchorage for seaplanes on each side of the spit upon
which the town is located.
Golovnin Bay was an important starting point for a series of
expedition s which [: ] culminated in the discovery of gold near Council,
on the Niukluk, and its subsequent discover y near Nome. The first explorers
of the interior of Seward Peninsula were the members of the Western
Union Telegraph Company Expedition of 1865-66, who, under the leadership
of Baron Otto von Bendeleben, were seeking a route from G olovnin Bay to
Port Clar ne en ce on Bering Sea for the proposed telegraph line from the United
States to Europe by what way of Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. This party
27 [: ]


ascended Golovnin Bay and the Fish River, turned up the Niukluk, crossed
the divide, and went down the Kruzgamepa. Then came the news that the
second Atlantic cable had been successfully laid in the summer of 1866,
and the Western Union explorers were hastily recalled. It is said
that they left behind them valuable machinery, piles of telephone poles,
and many fragile wire bridges. They left behind also the gold which Bendeleben
and several of his men had noticed along the Niukluk River. In 1881, John
Dexter, one of the employees of the Alaska Gold and Silver Mining, Milling
and Trading Company (later the Russian American Milling Co.) which
mined galena on Bering Sea and also worked a few gold placers on the
Fish River, left the company and opened a trading station at the present
site of Golovnin, then called Chenik or Dexter's. The galena-gold mining company
closed down, but Dexter stayed in the area and continued to prospect for
gold. Daniel B. Libby, who had been with Bendeleben in 1865-66, was
so forcibly reminded by the Klondike Strike of 1897 of the gold on the
Niukluk, that, despite his age and relative ill-health, he found a backer
and sailed from San Francisco for Golovnin Bay, arriving in August, 1897.
The silver-lead Omalik Mine was already in operation, and a Norwegian
named Johannsen , had panned gold on the Niukluk in 1894 , but had abandoned
it for the Yukon, so that Libby had some indication of the value of the
country. Tom Guarick, an Eskimo , whom Dexter had taught to pan, offered to
guide the Libby party to Ophir Creek, where he had reclaimed an ounce of
gold while on a hunting trip. Libby accepted this offer, and h [: ] s party,
having made the trip and spent a winter prospecting the entire area,
in the spring of 1898 staked their claims and recorded the Eldorado
Mining District, in the vicinity of Ophir Creek. In so doing they founded
Council City which was to prove to be the first producing camp on Seward
Peninsula. It was from Golovnin Bay that Eric O. Lindblom, Jafet
28 [: ]


Lindeberg, and John Brynteson set out on September 11, 1898 for their
history-making prospecting expedition to the future Nome District during which
they staked Discovery claim on Anvil Creek. When news of this strike
reached Golovnin Bay , it started the Nome Gold Rush which affected first
Golovnin, and particularly John Dexter, then Council, St. Michael and the
Bristol Bay area, then Yukon, and finally the west coast of the United States, and thus
initiat ed ing the economic development of the entire Seward Peninsula.
7 [: ]
Sources: Colby, Tewkesbury; USCP; VSGB;
Tompkins, Stuart Ramsay. Alaska, Promyschlennik, and Sourdough. Alaska, Promyschlennik, and Sourdough.
Norman, Okla., Univ. of Oklahoma
press, 1945.
French, L.H. Seward's Land of Gold. Seward's Land of Gold. N. Y., Montross, Clarke & Emmons (n.d.)
French, L.H. Nome Nuggets. Nome Nuggets. N.Y.,Montross, 1901.
Greely, A.W. Handbook of Alaska. Handbook of Alaska. 3d ed. N.Y., Scribner, 1925.
Mckee, Lanier. Land of Nome. Land of Nome. N.Y., Grafton (c1902)

March, 1949

Text- 820 wds.
Bibl- 25 wds.
GOODHOPE BAY, in the southeastern part of Kotzebue Sound,
an arm of the Polar Sea, indents the northern [: ] hore of Seward Peninsula,
Alaska. Kotzebue named this bay in August of 1816. "I gave up for the
present," he wrote, "the farther examination of this arm, as it would cost
me too much time on account of the shoals, and put it off till next year,
when I might continue it by means of very small baydares from Oonalashka. I
called this bay, the Bay of Good Hope, as I might really hope to make a
very remarkable discovery here. The coasts on the northern part of the arm
rise to a considerabl e height, but gradually become lower the farther one
penetrates to the N., where there are many small lakes and rivers. The
southern coast of the arm is low, and continues so as far as the eye can
reach. It is only in the vicinity of the Devil's mountain, which is fifteen
miles from here, that it becomes mountainous. The land is every where green,
but has not a single bush on it."
As Kotzebue was to discover, this bay is quite shallow. (See
Devil Mountain article.) It does, however, receive three good-sized tribu–
taries: the Nugnugaluktuk, Lane, and Pish Rivers. The first of these was
recorded by Witherspoon, in 1903. Lane is a prospector's name given to the
stream known to the Eskimos as the Kugachuk . The Pish, likewise, is known
to the natives as the Kutuk . However, neither of these original names
appears on recent maps.
The Nugnugaluktuk [: ] rises in a lake twenty or so miles
inland and flows through a divide south of 880-foot Devil Mountain, and
then continues almost directly eastward to the bay. Lane and Pish Rivers
rise in a low divide east of the Serpentine River system and flow northeast–
ward for about twenty miles to the bay.
The arbitrary line separating the Port Clarence mining district


from the Fairhaven precinct passes between the Pish and the Goodhope
Rivers. Goodhope River is the next more easterly affluent to Goodhope Bay.
The Goodhope system drains an area of 500 square miles. The
main river rises among the lava flows a few miles northwest of Imuruk
Lake (q.v.), proceeds westward for about twenty-five miles, then turns
northward and northeastward for another twenty-five miles, and debouches into
Goodhope Bay. The river may be said to o riginate at the junction of Right
Fork and Cottonwood Creek. Cottonwood, with its tributaries, Trail, Divide,
and Noyes Creeks, are the most important early tributaries, while Esperanza,
placer, and Humbolt Creeks are the main streams in the western portion of
the Goodhope basin. The gravel in the beds of these streams is so coarse
and loose that almost all the low water flow sinks into it and out of sight.
Above placer Creek, the basin includes an area of interbedded limestone and
schist, covered with lava, into which the river has cut a fairly deep and
narrow valley. Below placer Creek the river valley broadens considerably and
merges with the coastal flats.
R ight Fork has carved a narrow canyon in the lava and receives
part of its water supply from lava springs, which may in turn receive some
water from Imuruk Lake. Because of these springs, Right Fork is more plenti–
fully supplied with water during the summer than some of the other streams
in this system.
About 1908, some gold was found in these early tributaries to the
Goodhope, but mining did not flourish in this region, probably because of the
lack of a reliable water supply during the summer months, which is the only time
[: ] when [: ] placer mining can be carried on [: ] in this part of Alaska.


Traveling eastward around Goodhope Bay, the next tributary is Cripple
River, which receives the waters of Oregon, Mystery, Hoodlu m , Polar Bear,
Excelsior, Long, and Eagle [: ] (or Pot) Creeks. The Cripple is only
about ten miles long and takes a generally northwesterly direction from the
same lava flows as those in which the Goodhope rises.
Still traveling eastward, Francis, Clifford, Rex, Sullivan,
and Fox Creek, all relatively short streams, flow into the Bay.
Although considerable numbers of natives live in this region,
there are no named communities. The nearest settlement is Deering, east
of Sullivan Creek and Point Deceit, at the mouth of the Inmachuk River (q.v.).
The Eskimos here earn their living [: ] by hunting, fishing, and trapping,
activities which are not hindered by the underlying permafrost in the soil,
as [: ] are the mining endeavors of the white man.



Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.

Henshaw, F.F. Surface Water Supply of Seward Peninsula, Alaska Surface Water Supply of Seward Peninsula, Alaska . Washington,
1913. (U.S. Geological Survey. Water Supply Paper Water Supply Paper 314)

Kotzebue, Otto von. Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's Voyage of Discovery, into the South Sea and Beering's
Straits ... in the years 1815-1818 Straits ... in the years 1815-1818 ./ London, 1821. 3v.
Translated by H.E. Lloyd.

6 July 48

1824 wds.
GOODNEWS BAY, a small, southeastern arm of Bering Sea
south of Kuskokwim Bay, lies just north of 59° N. Lat. and across
161° 40′ W. Long. Two shingle spits, North Spit and South Spit,
reduce the entrance to less than a mile, but there is a deep channel
which leads through the entrance and for a distance of about one mile
inside. This channel affords good anchorage for ocean-going vessels,
but beyond it, for the remaining 8 or 9 miles to Goodnews, at the head
of the bay, the water is shoal and is swept by tidal currents reaching
a maximum of 2 1/2 knots, and, with southerly or easterly winds, by
dangerous rip tides. The tidal range is about 9 feet. Under Beluka
Hill on the north side of the bay 6 feet of water will be found at low
tide, and other deeper anchorages have been reported just inside the
entrance, but most parts of this bay have not been surveyed recently
so that strangers to the region should attempt it only in daylight,
on a rising tide, and with constant use of the lead.
The largest tributary to Goodnews Bay is Goodnews River
which rises in Goodnews Lake and takes a meandering course southwest–
ward for about 45 miles to the head of the bay. The Ahklun Range
borders the river basin more closely on the northwest than on the
southeast although tributaries to the Goodnews rise in the heights
and mountain lakes on both sides of its course. Middle Fork and
South Fork, the two largest tributaries to the Goodnews, enter from
the east near its mouth. From north to south the main western tribu–
taries are Canyon, Bear, Slate, Olympic, Cascade, Wattamuse, Granite,
and Barnum Creeks. Of these, Barnum, which is joined by Camp Creek,
is the largest. In addition to these tributaries, many small streams


unnamed streams drain from nearby lakes and mountains into the Goodnews
Beluka Mountain and Lump Mountain border the northern shore
of Goodnews Bay near its head, and several other peaks in the Ahklun Range
rise above the narrow strip of lowland which edges the southern shore of
the bay. These include: Red Mountain, just south of the village of
Platinum, at the base of South Spit; Thorsen Mountain, a few miles south of
Red Mountains; and Susie Mountains a few miles to the east. Crater Hill,
Pyramid Peak, and Dome Mountain lie northeastward from Susie Mountain.
Salmon River follows the valley between Red and Susie Mountains southwest–
ward to Kuskokwim Bay at a point about midway between Chagvan and Goodnews
Bays. The Salmon is joined by Clara Creek and Platinum Creek from the west
and by Medicine Creek from the east. Smalls River rises in a high mountain
valley between Susie Mountain and Crater Hill and flows northwestward into
Goodnews Bay. Tundra Creek joins Smalls River a few miles from its mouth,
and the town of Platinum is on the west side of the mouth.
Between these peaks in the Ahklun Range and along the whole
extent of the Goodnews River Basin the country is treeless tundra which,
during the summer, is covered with moss and many kinds of wild flowers.
Although the soil is too acid and the climate too rainy for any kind of
crop, the vicinity supports large herds of reindeer and a variety of
other wildlife including fox, ducks, geese, mink, and muskrat.
In 1926, Walter Smith, an Eskimo, confided to another Eskimo,
Henry Whuya, that he had found 'white gold' in Fox Gulch at the south
end of Red Mountain. Whuya told Charles Thorsen, an old resident and
[: ] [: ] miner, about this discovery. Thorsen collected some
samples from the same spot and sent them to Fairbanks for analysis. The
'white gold' was platinum. For many years gold had been known to exist
and had been mined in a small way north of Goodnews Bay, but Smith's find


was the first indication that there was platinum south of the bay.
Thorsen continued his prospecting in the area and discovered platinum
in Clara Creek in 1928. That same year Edward St. Clair made a similar
find on Squirrel Creek. In October, 1936, while three Alaska miners
were hand-drilling on the beach near the head of Goodnews Bay they
hit a heavy layer of platinum gravel on bedrock at about 38 feet. This
gravel was said to be worth about $3.00 per cubic yard. The miners
S taked a claim and then went Outside to buy machinery and tools with
which to work it. News of their find leaked out, reached newspaper
headlines, and started another rush to Alaska. Goodnews River was
staked for miles upstream, new prospectors arrived daily by boat and
plane, and tent cities sprang up around Platinum and the old native
village of Mumtrak, near the head of the bay. Platinum, which had
previously been the site of a few native huts and a trading post,
grew to an estimated 50 in 1938 and to about 600 in 1947, by which
time the town had a general store, a third class post office, a road–
house, a radio sales and repair shop, a fur dealer, a liquor store,
and a bowling alley supported by the Goodnews Bay Mining Company.
Although the town lacked such basic facilities as a hospital or a
school, it did have a pet-shop and kennel specializing in springer
spaniels. The present landing field is 2,120 feet long by 100 feet
wide, and there is a second order CAA weather bureau station in the


The known platinum deposits south of Red Mountain are
important not only because they represent the first placers in Alaska
workable primarily for platinum, but also because they are much richer
than any others so far developed in the United States or its possessions,
despite the fact that the bedrock source of these placers has not
yet been discovered. An analysis of the 1945 platin um, production
figures: Alaska, 26,505 ounces; California, 43 ounces; Oregon, 3
ounces, making a total of 26,551 ounces, shows how slight is the
extra-Alaska contribution to the United States platinum industry.
The following table gives the history of placer platinum production
in Troy ounces:


1927 - 17 ½ 1939 - 32,460
1931 - 506 1940 - 33,800
1932 - 720 1941 - 26,221
1933 - 793 1942 - 23,213
1934 - 3,101 1943 - 27,162
1935 - 8,685 1944 - 33,625
1936 - 8,825 1945 - 26,551
1937 - 9,823 1946 - 22, 882 949
1938 - 40,932
Since 1938 the United States has been the fourth largest
producer of platinum in the world, being preceded by Canada, the
U.S.S.R., and the Union of South Africa, in that order, and being
followed by Colombia, which up to that year had held fourth place.
with the suspension of the OPA price of $35.00 per Troy ounce
on April 29, 1946, the price rose to between $95.00 and $100.00
within the year.
Platinum, once the supreme luxury metal, was put to hard,
practical use during the war in bomb sights, radar equipment,
magneto contacts, spark plug electrodes, and grids in high frequency
transmission valves. It was used as a catalyst in the manufacture
of nitric acid and for spinerettes and brushings in the manufacture
of rayon. Beginning in 1945 the percentage of sales for chemical,
electrical, dental, and medical purposes dropped markedly, and in
1946 the jewelry manufacturers took 61% of all the platinum produced,
reinstating the metal to its pre-war, primarily decorative status.
In the early days of platinum mining in the Goodnews Bay
area, a great many individual operators worked separate claims.
Since no one profited under this system, a movement toward consolida–
tion began, so that T t he Goodnews Bay Mining Company now holds a controlling
interest in the area. Incorporated in 1935, this company held, by
1947, more than 150 claims covering 2500 acres of the vicinity around


6 Platinum. The company maintains an 8 cubic foot dredge with a crew
of approximately 63, a gold-platinum placer with two 4 1/4 yard drag
lines, and a washing plant employing approximately 10 men. Mining
can be carried on in this area with a dragline excavator for about
5 1/2 months of the year. A December, 1947, report tells of the
Goodnews Bay Mining Company personnel flying out and the mine closing
down. The main plant at Platinum Creek is electrified. It has
power for the cleanup plant, the repair shop and the well-equipped
machine shop. There are bunkhouses for single workmen and about
11 small houses for married personnel. There is also a good gravel
road connecting the camp with Platinum.
The amount of platinum recovered from this area is so great
that in 1938 the Goodnews Bay Mining Company entered into a sales
contract with one of the largest refiners and sellers of platinum in
the United States not only to refine their product but also to feed
it to the market gradually so as to hold up the price. The Goodnews
Bay Mining Company produces about $25,000 to $30,000 worth of platinum
and gold a month. Total 1939 production for the entire Goodnews
Bay area was $300,000 in platinum and $100,000 in gold. Analysis
of the rocks in the vicinity shows the presence of chromium, nickel,
and copper, but not in sufficient quantity to pay for their recovery.
Efforts are still being made to discover the bedrock source
of the platinum in the Goodnews Bay area. Red and Susie Mountains are both composed of
ultrabasic rocks of the kind with which platinum is usually associated. Since the
northwestern side of Red Mountain was once covered by the Goodnews Glacier, a condition
which would tend to dissipate rather than concentrate any metallic elements which might
be present there, and since most of the placers have been found on the eastern side of
the mountain, it is felt that the lode deposits must lie along those eastern slopes.
However, according to Mertie's report of 1939, they had not yet been found.


The only other towns in the Goodnews Bay area are Goodnews,
and Mumtrak near the head of the bay, Goodnews Bay, shown on some
maps at the base of North Spit, and Barnum, 8 or 9 miles up the
Goodnews River.
Mumtrak had a population of about 161 in 1936 and a
Federal school. Barnum had a population of 27 in 1939, and Goodnews
Bay, with a population of about 48, is the post office for the area
north of the bay. These four towns are on or are connected with the long
winter trail which runs westward from two points on Shelikof Strait,
joining towns on Iliamna Lake, Kvichak and Nushagak Bays with villages
to the west. A branch of this trail connects Mumtrak with Platinum.
At Goodnews Bay the trail turns northward and follows the coast of
Kuskokwim Bay to [: ] Eek and Bethel.
In 1826 Sarichef gave this bay the Russian equivalent
of 'Goodnews,' Port Dobriek Vestei, and Lutke recorded it as Bonnes
Nouvelles Baie, adding "it might better be called the bay of false
reports ." His criticism may have been based on the difficulties
of navigating the bay, but no one, since Johnnie Kilbuck first told
of finding 'white gold'near Red Mountain has thought of Goodnews
Bay as "the bay of false reports."
[: Davis, Hubertw, & Grewspoon, Gerturde M. Platinium aelied [: necials]
1946.) Wash. GPO, 1947.
Sources: USCP & Suppl
US. Bus. of Mines. Minerals Yearbook, 1946 Wash. G.P.O. 1948
Mertie, J. B., Jr. "Platinum deposits of the Goodnews Bay District Alaska
Wash. GPO 1939 (U.D. Geol. Swu. Bulletin 910-B.)

November, 1948

1,000 wds - Text
50 wds - Bibl.
GRANTLEY HARBOR, western Seward Peninsula, Alaska, is an almost
land-locked arm of Port Clarence ,which itself leads by way of Tuksuk Channel into Imuruk Basin (q.v.). . It can be entered by vessels drawing
less than twelve feet and provides an excellent, well-protected anchor–
age for such small vessels.
Directly across from Teller, the northern sand spit at the en–
trance to Grantley Harbor is marked by a light, and buoys mark the channel
during the season of navigation. The small-boat landing in the Harbor
consists of floats which are raised or lowered on tracks. There are
no docks in the Harbor, and this float-landing is difficult during [: ]


Captain Frederick William Beechey, having already sailed around
Port Clarence, entered Grantley Harbor on September 1, 1827. He was
the first white man to [: ] do so, and [: ] describes the place as
follows: "On examination with the boats, we found, as we expected, an
inner harbour [ Grantley Harbour ] , ten miles in length by two and a
quarter in width, with almost an uniform depth of two and a half and
three fathoms water. The channel into it from the outer harbour is
extremely naorrow, the entrance being contracted by two sandy spits;
but the water is deep, and in one part there is not less than twelve
fathoms. At the upper end of the harbour a second strait, about three
hundred yards in width, was formed between steep cliffs; but this
channel [ Tuksuk Channel ] was also contracted by sandy points. The
current ran strong through the channel, and brought down a great body
of water, nearly fresh...The boats had not time to pursue this strait;
but in all probability it communicates with a large inland lake [ Imuruk
Basin ] , as described by the natives of Kotzebue Sound. At the entrance
of the strait, called Tokshook by the natives, there is an Esquimaux
village, and upon the northern and eastern shores of the harbour there are
two others: the population of the whole amounted to about four hundred
persons. They closely resembled the natives we had seen before [ in the
Kotzebue District to the north ] , except that they were better provided with
clothing, and their implements were neater and more ingeniously made.
Among their peltry we noticed several gray fox and land-otter skins, but
they would not part with them for less than a hatchet apiece. In addition
to the usual weapons of bows and arrows, these people had short iron spears


neatly inlaid with brass, upon all which implements they set great value,
and kept them wrapped in skins. Among the inhabitants of the village on the
northern shore, named Choonowuck, there were several girls with massive
bracelets. One had a curb chain for a necklace, and another a bell
suspended in front, in the manner described the preceding year at Choris
"These two ports, [Port Clarence and Grantley Harbor] situated so near Beering's Strait, may at some future
time be of great importance to navigation, as they will be found particularly
useful by vessels which may not wish to pass the strait in bad weather.
To the outer harbour, which for convenience and security surpasses any
other near Beering's Strait with which we are acquainted. I attached the
name of Port Clarence, in honour of his most gracious Majesty, then Duke
of Clarence. To the inner, which is well adapted to the purposes of repair,
and is sufficiently deep to receive a frigate, provided she lands her
guns, which can be done conveniently upon the sandy point at the entrance,
I gave the name of Grantley Harbour, in compliment to Lord Grantley.
"On the northern side of Grantley Harbour, Mr. Collie found a bad
of purple primulas, anemones, and of dodecatheons, in full [: ] fresh
blossom, amidst a covering of snow that had fallen the preceding night."

Grantley Harbor, Alaska

During the nineteenth century, Grantley Harbor, along with Port
Clarence, was an important rendezvous for the many whaling vessels which
sailed these waters. Whaling fleets are a thing of the past, and the
locality is now visited only by trading schooners and an occasional
The Harbor was surveyed by Beechey, in September, 1827, and
named Grantley, "in compliment to Lord Grantley."
Several small streams rising in the plateau on which Mukacharni
Mountain stands flow southward into Grantley Harbor. From west to
east these are: Bay, Sunset, Igloo, Dewey, McKinley, and Offield Creeks.
From the time of the first strike in this area, in 1900, the
gravels of these streams have been known to be auriferous, but the output
has been small.
A few streams rising in the foothills of the Kigluaik Mountain s , to
the southeast, also flow into Grantley Harbor. From west to east these
are: Coyote, and Dese Creeks. Very little prospecting has been done
along these streams because of their proximity to the Bluestone (q.v.)


-5- which gave, promise early in the century, of being a valuable gold stream.
One of the major difficulties in gold mining in this area has
been the problem of a reliable water supply. Early in the mining season,
the [: ] streams are too small to support dredging or sluicing activities.
Then, with the spring rains, they [: ] are transformed into torrents,
which destroy any dams previously contructed for their control. It
was originally intended to build a system of ditches to divert these
flood waters and put them to use, but then it was discovered that,
although the gold in the vicinity was coarse and characterized by
large nuggets, the deposits were not sufficiently rich to warrant the
expense of a ditch system. The mining activity in this area is now
USCP. Alaska. Pt.II. 1947
USC & G S Chart 9385
Collier, Arthur J. (and others) Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Gold Placers of Parts of Seward
Peninsula, Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, Port Peninsula, Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, Port
Clarence, and Goodhope Precincts Clarence, and Goodhope Precincts . Washington, D.C., 1908.
(U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin. Bulletin. No.328)
Brooks, Alfred H. (and others) Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and Reconnaissances in the Cape Nome and
Norton Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900 Norton Bay Regions, Alaska, in 1900 . Washington, D.C., 1901.
Beechey, Capt. F.W. Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's
Strait ... in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28 Strait ... in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28 . London, 1831. Vol.II

Ruby Collins

80 wds
GROSVENOR, LAKE, ALASKA, in the northern part of the Alaska
Peninsula, is about 17 miles long by only about 2 miles wide. It lies
northeastward of the Bay of Islands, an arm of Naknek Lake (q.v.), and is
surrounded on almost all sides by the foothills of the Alaska Range from
which several small tributaries drain into it. Lake Grosvenor may be
reached by easy portage from the Bay is Islands, or by ascent of the
Savonoski River which connected with an eastern outlet of the lake.
Sources: VS GB
in USCP and suppl.

Ruby Collins

1008 wds
Hazen Bay, western Alaska, opens into Bering Sea north of
Etolin Strait (q.v.). The bay was named by Edward William Nelson
in 1878 for General William Babcock Hazen, Chief Signal Corps
Officers, U.S.A.
The entrance to Hazen Bay is about 7 miles wide, and just
within this entrance the bay widens considerably. Several rivers
drain from the many lakes which dot this section of the Yukon delta
and flow into Hazen Bay. The Manopiknak River, shown on some maps
as an outlet of the Yukon River (q.v.), enters the southeastern
corner of the bay, and the Azun (Azoon) River enters farther up
its head. The mouths of these rivers are wide, shoal and completely
clogged with mud flats at low tide. The land which borders the northern
side of fo the bay is a marsh edged on the west by more mud flats and
cut by several small streams. Some maps show the settlements
Ukak and Anakak on the shores of Hazen Bay.
About 10 miles above
Hazen Bay the Manakinak River enters Bering Sea. The Kashunuk
River, thought to be another outlet of the Yukon, empties into
an unnamed bay a few miles north of the Manakinak. Kashunuk a
native settlement of 89 peoples in 1939 is in this vicinity.
Because so little is known about this stretch of the Yukon
Delta, the coast northward from the Kashunuk is represented by a
dotted line. Most of the information concerning this part of Alaska
was obtained by Nelson in 1878 , and very little surveying has been
done in this area since that time.
The entrance to Hooper Bay, about 22 miles up the coast
froms the Kashunuk River, is a narrow channel formed by two small
spits of land. Nelson named this bay after Captain Calvin Leighton
Hooper. Some maps show the Askinuk River flowing into Hooper Bay.


Hooper Bay on the north shore of this bay is the largest town in this area. It had a reported population
of 299, in 1939, which was estimated to have increased to 325 by 1947.
Hooper Bay has a post office, and an Alaska Native Service school contained
in the new community house which has, [: ] in addition to class–
rooms, a shop, clinic, laundry, showers, and teachers' quarters.
Mail service runs regularly from Mountain Village on the Yukon
except during the months of May and October.
Askinuk which is the only other settlement on Hooper Bay,
The promentory between Hooper and Igiak Bays is known as Point Dall.
Igiak Bay, a few miles north of Hooper Bay, is approximately
triangular in shape with its broadest side facing the sea. Two narrow
spits of land reach toward each other from the north and south to
leave a very narrow entrance into Igiak Bay. Dall Point is on the move southerly of these spits. The Kakechik River
flows into the bay from the mainland. The tiny native settlement of
Igiak on the south shore of the bay was reported both by Petrof and
by Nelson.
Cape Romanzof, the most westerly point on the Yukon Delta,
is also the most northerly point of the land mass north of Igiak Bay.
By a strange coincidence, three men, Shishmaref, Kromchenko, and
Etolin, working independently named this Cape Romanzof in 1821. The name
has been variously written as Romantsof, [: ] Roumiantsoff, etc.
This cape is made up of sheer, perpendicular shafts of rock rising
1,200 to 1,500 feet above the water. The Askinuk Mountains
end at Cape Romanzof, the highest peak of the chain, which attains 2,363 feet,
being about 5 miles in from the point of the cape. The land trends
eastward for about 15 miles from Cape Romanzof in continuous ledges,
nowhere lower than 1,230 feet, to the mouth of the Kun River which
enters the head of Scammon Bay.


Scammon Bay is shoal and marked with sand bars laid bare
at low tide. The only settlements are Kutmiut, at the mouth of the
Kun, and Scammon Bay (population 88, in 1939) on the north side of the
bay. Scammon Bay is connected by trail with Kwikluak and Kotik at the mouth
of the Yukon and with other points up the Yukon and along the shores
of Norton S t ound.
South Sand Island and North Sand Island lie outside the
entrance to Scammon Bay. Several small native settlements and their
associated streams lie on the shores of Bering Sea between the mouth
of the Kun and Black River, about 36 miles up the coast: Melatolik, a
village on a creek with the same name; Bimiut, an Eskimo camp and village
a few miles farther north; and Kwikak, an Eskimo village about 7 miles
south of the mouth of the Black River.
Black River is shown on some maps as following an extremely
torturous, generally southwesterly 45-mile course, from one of the many small lakes
which sprinkle the mainland in this vicinity, for about 45 miles past the
village of Ulakakarvik, through Lake Nunawakanuk, to the village of
Black (population 15 in 1939), at its mouth. This may be the same
village which as appears on some maps as Kipniak.
The entire stretch of coastline north of Scammon Bay is shoal
and for several miles offshore. The mainland for hundreds of miles
inland is a mass of marshes and lakes, most of which are connected by
streams and creeks of varying size. This enormous expanse of tundra is
the most important breeding ground for the waterfowl not only for
Alaska but also for all of western Canada and the United States.
Hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese come to this area every year to
lay their eggs and raise their young. The existing wildlife conserva–
tions laws are not yet enforced with sufficient strictness to stop the


natives from gathering these eggs by the boatloads every spring
nor from clearing whole areas of nesting and half-grown birds by
driving them into net corrals in July. Added to this human threat
is the arrival, within the last few years, of the first coyotes to this
region. Annabel points out in his recent book that unless something is
done very soon to protect these birds from both these hazards they
will be in danger of ultimate extinction.
VSGB; USCP; Baker; Colby; Annabel. Hunting and Fishing in Alaska ; N.Y.
Knopf, 1948

Ruby Collins
21 April 48 HOMER, ALASKA

450 wds
HOMER, ALASKA (59° 37′ N.Lat.; 151° 27′ W.Long.), a town and
post office on Coal Point, Kachemak Bay, Cook Inlet, 75 miles from Seward,
was established in November, 1895. It lies at the end of Homer Spit, a
narrow neck of land reaching southeastward into the bay. The increase in
population from 35 in 1930, to 325 in 1939, is one proof of the wealth of
resources in the vicinity and the progressive attitude of the people.
Not only is the region rich in gold, copper and coal, but an
estimated 35,000 acres of relatively treeless "Homer Country" is easily
cultivated, deep, fertile soil. By 1937, 150 farmers, mostly from the
Middle West, had arrived in Homer. In 1938 the Alaska Cooperative Association
was incorporated to establish a 200-family settlement program. This, the
first cooperative movement ever started in Alaska, was the work of residents
of Cordova, a large town on the mainland 210 miles to the south. Neither the
climate nor the promise of the soil disappointed the settlers. The mildness
of the climate is well shown by the January, 1936, official weather report
which recorded five inches of rain and temperatures above 40° for eleven
days in succession. The region has 35 inches of rainfall a year and a
relatively long growing season. Wheat, oats, barley, and all the hardy
vegetables mature successfully. Cattle and sheep stay on pasture at least
six months of the year. In about 1945 demands from military establishments
on Kodiak Island caused a shift of emphasis from the raising of cattle to
truck crops suitable for immediate consumption. Most farmers are specializing
on potatoes, although lettuce, celery, cabbage, and berries are also in demand.


cabbage, and berries are also in demand . All available homesteading
land for five miles beyond the town is now taken; although more land is still
available in the outlying areas. In contrast with Matanuska Valley (q.v.) the
development of the Homer area has gone forward entirely without
government aid.
Homer has a dock able to accom m odate large ships , and a road leads
from the dock to the town. Boats run regularly to Seattle, Anchorage,
and Seldovia. There is a fine CAA airport for land planes. A 1 1/2–
mile artificial lake beside the municipal airport for landing amphibian
and pontoon planes was nearing completion in October, 1947. There is
a radiotelephone station connected with Anchorage. An extension of the
Anchorage-Seward road is being built to Homer. This road will solve the
accute distribution problems of the Homer farmer , for Wwater transportation
is difficult, sometimes impossible , along the westernshore of Kenai
Peninsula. The new Anchorage-Seward-Homer road supplies the final
basic need for the development of Homer into a thriving community.
Homesteading land is still available along this road. The Cooperative
bought the cannery buildings at Kasilof, a town sixty miles to the north,
and moved them to Homer. The town has three schools (including a High
School), four churches, three restaurants, one theater, two mimeographed
weekly newspapers, two general stores, two cold storage plants, a
bakery, salmon packer, gift shop, insurance agent, and machine shop.
The newest school, completed in 1940, and the newest of the two hotels,
completed in 1947, the Alaska Cement Corporation announced plans
to build a $1,125,000 cement plant at Homer Spit capable of producing
600 barrels of cement a day. The plant will use native clay, gypsum,
limestone and coal. It is expected that proposed military construction


will use the entire output of this company for two years.
Fishing, canning and fur-farming are other successful
projects in the region. Homer was once one of the most important
trapping areas in all Alaska. A decade of intensive settlement,
however, has greatly reduced the number of mink, beaver, otter, and foxes.
The mart ien has been exterminated. In place of the hunter and trapper,
therefore, has come the fur-farmer.
Coal mining has always been important in the Homer area.
Early gold seekers around Cook Inlet found coal lying loose on the
beach. In 1890, five years before the town was established, a coal
mine operated in McNeill's Canyon, about ten miles up Kachemak Bay.
It is expected that present coal developments will soon be able to
supply all the towns on Cook Inlet.

Ruby Collins

780 wds
[: ] HOPE, POINT (68° 21′ N.Lat., 166° 36′ W.Long.),
one of the important promontories on the arctic coast of Alaska, is the
extreme westerly tip of a low, narrow finger of land projecting some sixteen
miles into the Polar Sea. Point Hope is about thirty miles south of Cape
Beechey named this point in August, 1826, in honor of Sir
William Johnstone Hope. It has been called Hoffnung (Hope) by German
cartographers and Golovnin , or Golofnin , by Russian voyagers, and the
Eskimo name, variously recorded as Tikira Tikira , Tikera Tikera , etc., is said to mean
"forefinger." The name Golovnin, or Golofnin, is now generally used to identify
the bay and sound on the north side of Norton Sound, Bering Sea.
The surface of the land mass terminating in the Point is
broken by a number of lagoons, and its shores fall away in a steep shingle
beach. Most of these lagoons are not named on recent maps, but the largest,
known as Marryatt Inlet, has its entrance on the north side of the promon–
tory several miles northeastward from the Point itself. Vessels with a
draft up to ten feet can enter Marryatt Inlet, and some schooners have,
for several years, been using it as a wintering place. Pilots unfamiliar
with this anchorage should sound out the channel before entering. It should
also be remembered that during the first part of the season, when the ice
is breaking up in the inlet, there is a strong out-going current which carries
the ice along at a dangerous velocity. Point Hope proper is marked by a
fixed white light maintained from August 1 to November 1 each year.
Very few climatological observations have been taken in this
area, but one set recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey between August, 1894,
and July, 1896, reads as follows:


Maximum Minimum
January + 23 -34
February + 6 -41
March + 38 -39
April + 35 -32
May + 55 -12
June + 58 + 21
July + 56 + 26
August + 62 + 36
September + 60 + 29
October + 39 -1
November + 34 -21
December + 28 -36
Mean total precipitation for the same period was 7.57″,
with some fall recorded for 64 days out of the entire year. Precipitation
was greatest during the summer months, relatively light from November through
March, with a sharp increase in April. The maximum number of rainy days
occurred in September.
The first frost occurred on September 13 of 1894, and the first
killing frost on October 16. The bay opened on July 17 and August 1, in 1895
and 1896 respectively, and closed on November 19, in 1894.


Writing in 1898, Lieut. E.P. Bertholf gave a good description
of summer at Point Hope. "In July it was difficult to imagine I was 125
miles north of the arctic circle, for the open sea showed nota sign of
ever having had ice on its surface, the land was covered with many varieties
of short-stemmed and brilliantly colored flowers, and the temperature, which
had been as low as -45 during the winter, was such that one could wander about
in shirt sleeves and not feel uncomfortable. And yet in spite of the fact
that we could walk around lightly clad and gather quantities of flowers,
with no ice or snow to be seen, if one were to dig below the surface of the
ground in the neighborhood of Point Hope from above the Kookpuk River to
about half way to Cape Thompson, solid glacial ice would be found at a depth
varying from 2, to 7 or 8 feet. How far down this ice extends is not known,
but under Mr. Nelson's storehouse an ice house has been chopped out to a
depth of 15 feet, and the ice is still clear and solid."


The settlement at Point Hope had a 1939 population of 257, a
Federal school, and U.S. commissioner, and Episcopal mission, a post office,
and a store. Planes equipped either with wheels or floats may land at Point
Hope, and the settlement lies on the winter trail which runs southward to
Kotzebue and Seward Peninsula, and northward to Point Barrow.
Point Hope is advantageously situated for trading purposes.
It is near the important sealing, whaling, and fishing grounds, while its
proximity to the mouth of the Kukpuk River (q.v.) offers an easy route into
the interior. Great numbers of Point Hope Eskimos travel the 150 or more
miles down the coast to Kotzebue in order to trade with other natives from
Cape Prince of Wales and from the far-distant interior regions of the Kobuk
and Noatak Rivers.
Tigara (q.v.) is a small Eskimo village a little eastward from the
Point on the sand spit which forms the north side of Marryatt Inlet.
Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.
Brooks, A.H. Geography and Geology of Alaska Geography and Geology of Alaska . Washington, 1906. (U.S.
Geological Survey. Professional Paper Professional Paper No.45)
Bertholf, E.P. Report of Second Lieut. E.P. Bertholf, R.C.S. Report of Second Lieut. E.P. Bertholf, R.C.S. July 15, 1898.
(U.S. Treasury Department. Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenue Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenue
Cutter Bear and the Overland Expedition for the Relief of the Cutter Bear and the Overland Expedition for the Relief of the
Whalers in the Arctic Ocean, from November 27, 1897, to September Whalers in the Arctic Ocean, from November 27, 1897, to September
13, 1898 13, 1898 . Washington, 1899. pp.18-27)

Ruby Collins

Text-600 words
Bibl-50 words
HOTHAM INLET, east of Kotzebue Sound, an arm of the Polar Sea,
separates the upper half of Baldwin Peninsula (q.v.) from the mainland
of northwestern Alaska. This inlet was named by Capt. F.W. Beechey, in
1826, "in compliment to the Hon. Sir Henry Hotham, K.C.B., one of the lords
of the Admiralty."
Capt. C.L. Hooper in his report of the second cruise of the
Corwin Corwin , which took place in 1881, gives a good description of this Inlet.
"Hotham between 30 and 40 miles in length and from 5 to 10
miles in width; and although connected directly with the salt water is
entirely fresh on account of the number of rivers which discharge int o it.
To the southeast of Hotham Inlet and connected by a narrow channel is
Selawik Lake, about 15 miles in width and 20 long, but very shallow. The
entrance to the inlet was sounded out by one of the Corwin's boats last
year, in the hope of finding a ship channel, but not more than one fathom
was found at the entrance, although much deeper inside. The land near the
inlet is low, but it is surrounded by a range of hills from 1,000 to 3,000
feet high, from 10 to 30 miles distant. Those to the northward were called
by Cook, Mulgrave Hills. To the eastward, in very clear weather, may be
seen two conical hills called Deviation Peaks."
The general trend of this inlet is southeast. The entrance is
not only shoal but is also obstructed by wide mud flats and innumerable
sand bars some of which are bare at low water. The channel within the
Inlet is of considerably greater depth, having been reported as early as 1884
as v arying from 18 to 43 feet for a distance of 20 or more miles. Because
of the width of the mud flats which fringe both the mainland and the
peninsula, no landing can be made at most places o n the Inlet.
Stoney describes the condition of the entrance and the channels


during his visit in 1884: "Sounding out and temporarily buoying a channel
over the bar, a mud and sand-bank about one thousand yards wide with eight
feet depth on it at low water, we crossed over. At high water, and when the
wind is from the southward and westward, two fathoms can be carried over.
Winds from northward and eastward give the least depth. After crossing, a
depth of three fathoms was carried in the channel for twenty miles, increas–
ing in places to seven fathoms."
Most of the mainland coastline of the Inlet is formed by the
many-channelled delta of the Kobuk River (q.v.). Recent maps show no per–
manent settlements on [: ] this side of the Inlet, although there is a
c abin at the mouth of Riley Channel, one of the more northerly mouths of
the Kobuk.
By way of Selawik Lake, Hotham Inlet receives the waters of
the Selawik River, from the east, while the Noatak River enters the north side
of the entrance at a point approximately opposite Kotzebue, on Baldwin
There are no named promontories on the mainland side, whereas
Pipe S p it, the northeastern tip of Baldwin Peninsula, Nimiuk Point,
several miles to the south, and Attiunik Point, the southern entrance point
to Selawik Lake, mark the peninsula side.
The most important settlement in this entire region i s the large and
the thriving town of Kotzebue (q.v.), on the northwestern tip of Baldwin



Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.

Beechy, Capt. F.W. Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's
Strait ... 1825, 26, 27, 28. Strait ... 1825, 26, 27, 28. London, 1831. 2v.

Hooper, Capt. C.L. Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenue Steamer Thomas Report of the Cruise of the U.S. Revenue Steamer Thomas
Corwin, in the Arctic Ocean, 1881 Corwin, in the Arctic Ocean, 1881 . Washington, 1884.

Stoney, Lieut. G.M. Naval Explorations in Alaska. Naval Explorations in Alaska. Annapolis, Md., 1900.

U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. United States Coast Pilot. Alaska United States Coast Pilot. Alaska .
Part II. Part II. 5th (1947) ed. Washington, 1947.

20 April 48

300 wds
HYDABURG, ALASKA (55° 13′ N. LAT.; 132° 50′ W. LONG.), a
native fishing village , had a population of 340 348 in 1939 1940 making it one of
the largest Indian villages of south [: ] eastern Alaska. It is located
one-half mile inland on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island just
across the Sukkwan narrows from the northernmost tip of Sukkwan Island. The
town itself is on the low coastal strip which runs around most of
Prince of Wales Island, but is backed by elevations of from 2,000 to
3,000 feet. Insert (see Below)
Hydaburg was founded on November 11, 1911 by a group of Haida Indians,
from the little Indian village of Klinquan, lead by Mr. and Mrs. Charles
W. Hawkesworth and several government representatives. The town was
intended as, and has always remained, a strictly native settlement run
on a cooperative basis. No white man is allowed to set up any business
in Hydaburg. The site was chosen because of its fine harbor, nearness
to the fishing grounds, and prospects of excellent hunting and trapping
in the interior. From its outset Hydaburg, so named by Mrs. Hawkesworth,
has been a prosperous community.
In 1939 the Hydaburg Cooperative
Association received
a loan of $145,000 under the Indian Reorganization Act. Using an all–
native crew, the Association built, equipped , and began the operation
of a modern cannery. From April 1 to September 30 there is a weekly
mail boat. There is a point to point r e adiotelephone and radio–
telegraph station connecting with Ketchikan.
In 1947 the Department of the Interior expanded the land
reserves of Hydaburg by 101,000 acres. It also set up facilities for
clearing land titles in all southeastern Alaska. All income from
these land reserves will be credited to native villages, such as
Hydaburg, for their free use. This grant of land to Hydaburg clears removes
all native claims to the Tongass national Forest, (q.v.)
since the natives of Hydaburg
agreed to exchange it for the new land reserves.
Hydaburg was founded on November 11, 1911 by a group of Haida Indians,
from the little Indian village of Klinquan, lead by Mr. and Mrs. Charles
W. Hawkesworth and several government representatives. The town was
intended as, and has always remained, a strictly native settlement run
on a cooperative basis. No white man is allowed to set up any business
in Hydaburg. The site was chosen because of its fine harbor, nearness
to the fishing grounds, and prospects of excellent hunting and trapping
in the interior. From its outset Hydaburg, so named by Mrs. Hawkesworth,
has been a prosperous community.

Lee Collins ✓HYDER, ALASKA
20 April 48

300 wds
HYDER, ALASKA, is a town and post office at the head
of Portland Canal, about 150 miles northeast of Ketchikan, just
across the international boundary line from Stewart, British
Columbia. It was named in 1910 in honor of a Canadian scientist,
and is the American center of the Portland Canal mining district.
The population, mostly Indian, was 254 in 1938.
There is a 400-foot wharf which bends inshore somewhat
for the last 215 feet. Depths off the wharf run from 22 to 30 feet.
There is no fresh water on the wharf and strong current eddies make
landing difficult. At the northern end of the wharf is a seaplane
float. There is communication by small craft to Ketchikan. In
1947 the Stewart telephone system was being rehabilitated to include
a line to Hyder. The Hyder Radio & Telephone Co. operates station KDF
A-1 emission, 425 kc.(705m.), 500 kc. (600 m.). Airplane transport
of winter fuel oil was being planned in October, 1946. A road along
the shore of Portland Canal connects Hyder with Stewart.
Deposits of the natural gold-silver alloy electrum,
valued at $14,000 to the ton, have been discovered by tunnel l ing
under the glaciers which lie northwest of Hyder. These glaciers
and their surrounding mountains are extremely beautiful and little
explored. Tungsten has also been found in the vicinity. The
Riverside Tungsten mine northwest of Hyder operates a mill in the
town. The Premiere Mine, largest in the vicinity, renewed operations
in June, 1947, after an eight-month shutdown. The Salmon Gold Mine,
Portland Canal m ining area, reported in 1946 what appeared to be a
large new vein of electrum assayed at 0.61 ounces of gold and 5
ounces of silver per ton.

20 April 48

850 wds
ILIAMNA LAKE, Iliamna District, Alaska, just north of the Alaska
Peninsula, is the largest lake in Alaska. Lying about midway between 59° and
60° N.Lat., the lake extends northeast-southwest between 154° and 156° W.Long.
It is about 70 miles long by 15 to 25 miles wide and is famous for the size and
number of its rainbow trout. In recent years trout measuring up to 3 4 ″ have
been caught here, but these giants do not approach in size the mythical blackfish,
Iliamna, said to haunt the lake and to bite holes in the canoes of bad natives.
In 1802, the Russians named this Lake Shelekhov, but it is now universally
known as Iliamna Lake.
For about one-half their length the north and south shores of the
western end of the lake are fairly even, but the eastern half is indented by
several small bays. Kakhonak Bay, with its five finger-like extensions, reaches
into the south shore of the lake like a great hand which, in general outline,
it resembles. The bay is about 7 miles long and about 5 miles wide at the
greatest points. It is formed by a narrow-necked peninsula which stretches
westward into the lake, partially cutting Kakhonak Bay off from the lake
proper. The waters north of this peninsula are dotted with small islands.
Kakhonak is a small settlement and post office on the shore just south of this
bay. There is a reindeer station on the tip of one of the finger-like extensions
at the head of Kakhonak Bay.
Pile Bay, an extension of the eastern end of Iliamna Lake, is
about 9 miles long by 2 to 3 miles wide. It is almost cut off from the main
body of the lake by the largest of the many islands which are scattered here.
Iliamna Lake is the source of the Kvichak River (q.v.) which drains
from its southwestern end. The lake receives the Pile and Iliamna Rivers
which rise in the glacier-covered mountains to the northeast, and many unnamed
tributaries from the highlands which surround the lake on all sides except


the southwest. These mountains are all part [: ] of the Aleutian Range and rise
from heights of 2000 feet close by the lake to giant peaks, such as Iliamna
Volcano, 10, 085 feet high, which lies only a little over 30 miles northeastward
from the head of Pile Bay. The Newhalen River drains from Lake Clark (q.v.)
and enters Lake Iliamna midway along the north shore. Kakhonak River enters
at the head of Kakhonak Bay. On all sides except the northeast the territory
around the lake is dotted with lakes. Gibralter, Kakhonak, Moose, and Meadow
Lakes lie southeast of the lake, while to the west and [: ] outhwest, where the
land is low and marshy, intricate systems of tiny, unnamed lakes send tributaries
into Iliamna Lake.
Depths of many hundred feet are reported in the east end of Iliamna
Lake. The lake is usually frozen over from late December to late May. In
this vicinity some snow falls in September, but the ground at low altitudes
is usually not completely covered for a few months thereafter. Most of the snow
leaves the low ground during April, but it remains until June in the pass between
Old Iliamna and Iliamna Bay, Cook Inlet.
Old Iliamna, the largest settlement in the area, lies a few miles
above the mouth of Iliamna River which enters the eastern tip of Pile Bay.
It has a United States commissioner, three stores, a Government school, and
a U.S. w eather Bureau Station with one observer, which was established in 1939. All parts
of Iliamna Lake and the Kvichak River may be reached in gasoline launches available
at Old Iliamna. The population of the village was estimated as 100, in 1939,
In addition to gas and furs, the busy trading post in the settlement handles
about 400 tons of goods a year.
Old Iliamna is only 10 miles from Iliamna Bay, Cook Inlet, on the
northeastern coast of the Alaska Peninsula, with which it is connected by a good
trail. This trail crosses a 900-foot summit a few miles west of Iliamna Bay.
At Old Iliamna the trail continues in two directions, southward to cabins in the
mountains southeast of the lake, and westward to Ped ro Bay, a small settlement


a few miles from Old Iliam [: ] , and to cabins along the north shore of the lake.
There is a second trail leading westward from the head of Cottonwood Bay,
just south of Iliamna Bay, which crosses three summits of 1700, 1500, and 1975
feet, to join the trail previously described connecting cabins southeast of the
lake with Old Iliamna. Horses and wagons can be used on these trails from
June to November and dogs and sleds for the remaining months of the year. old
Iliamna may also be reached by portage from the head of Kamishak Bay, at a point
south of Cottonwood Bay, to Kakhonak Bay, but this route is seldom used except
by natives because of the difficulty of landing supplies on the shores of this
part of Kamishak Bay.
Seversens is a small settlement on the north shore of Iliamnan Lkake
which is connected by a winter trail to a village at the south end of Lake
Clark, about 13 miles north, and to the village of Iliamna. Iliamna is a post
office and native settlement on the north shore of Iliamna Lake only a few
miles from Seversens. Newhalen, a few miles farther east, at the mouth of the
Newhalen River, had a population of 55 in 1940. Recent maps show no towns
on the remainder of the northwestern shore of Iliamna Lake. Igiugig, a village
and post office on the lake at the head of the Kvichak River, had an estimated
population of 100 in 1938. From mid-May to late September small boats and
launches can navigate the Kvichak up to Igiugig, and, of course, beyond to
other points along Iliamna Lake. Flights to all these points are conducted
by planes equipped with floats.

November, 1948

470 wds
IMURUK BASIN (Imaourouk, Imurook, Imagazuk), western Seward Pen–
insula, Alaska, is a shallow body of water connected by Tuksuk Channel
with Grantley Harbor, which in turn leads westward into Port Clarence,
and so to Bering Sea. Beechey reported the Eskimo name as Imau-rook , in
1827, but it has also been called Cowvinik and Salt Lake.
Several small streams flow into the south side of the Basin,
the longest and most westerly of these being Canyo w n Creek, followed by
White, Fall, Pond, Glacier, Snow, and Cobblestone Creeks. Several of
these streams enter Windy Cove r , which indents the southern shore of
the Basin.
Cobblestone Creek enters the Basin only a few miles below
the mouth of the Kaviruk, a wide stream which enters the head of Imuruk
Basin from the north. About the middle of the nineteenth century a
Franklin Search party recorded this stream as the Cov-vee-arak. Cov-vee-arak. The
name has also appeared as Covearak Covearak , Kaurveren Kaurveren , Ka-oovern Ka-oovern , and Kvuveren Kvuveren .
Some sources identify this river as with Mary's River Mary's River , but most modern
maps have dropped this name entirely.
Having bent northward for about five miles to meet the Kaviruk,
the head of Imuruk Basin then veers southeastward, and, after about
five more miles, splits up into several channels which finally develop into
two well-defined forks.
The southern fork, called the Kruzgamepa (q.v.), rises in the
vicinity of Mount Osborn, well within the Kigluaik Mountains to the
south. It flows southward until it leaves the Kigluaiks, then takes a
northeasterly course around the east end of the range, after which it
twists westward to its junction with the Kaviruk and Imuruk Bay.
The northern fork, the Kuzitrin ( Koosetrien Koosetrien ) (q.v.), has its
source in a broad, flat drainage basin northeast of Imuruk Basin. It


flows in a generally southwesterly direction for about sixty miles and de–
bounches very near to the mouth of the Kruzgamepa.
A fairly large unnamed stream flows into the northeast side of
Imuruk Basin, but the main northern tributary, the Agiapuk River (q.v.),
enters about midway of that side.
Imuruk Basin is navigable to light-draft vessels. It early in this century , formed one
link in the chain of water s ways , starting with Port Clarence and Grantley
Harbor, and continuing up the Kuzitrin, by which supplies were brought
into the Kougarok District early in this century. With the completion of
the Seward Peninsula Railroad, now called The Pupmobile, down the
Kruzgamepa and northward to Shelton, on the Kuzitrin, most freight ship–
ments were brought to the mining camps of the interior by rail from
Nome, rather than by water. However, a few supply ships still visit
Imuruk Basin.
Except for two sections, the northwestern and south-central,
the Basin is surrounded by low, marshy grassland, usually called 'tundra.'
This marshland is particularly extensive around [: ] and
eastward from the eastern end of the Basin, so that the streams entering
this end follow a [: ] sluggish, meandering course for their
final few miles. In the main, however, the rivers of this area keep
to a remarkably straight course, except for the Kruzpamepa and the
Agiapuk, both of which are fed from several different watersheds with
axes running in different directions. For this reason, these two rivers
undergo major changes in direction.
The lowlands and hills of this part of Alaska are timberless,
although small willow and alder grow along the banks of the streams.
Although Imuruk Basin was once the center of the gold mining
excitement along the Bluestone River, a tributary to Tuksuk Channel,


because of its extreme shallowness, there was never a settlement on
its shores. Supplies could be landed only with difficulty anywhere
in the Basin, and, since no remarkable gold strikes have ever been
made on the streams entering it, no settlement has grown up there.
USCP. Alaska. Pt.II.1947
U.S. C. & G.S. Chart No.9380
Collier, Arthur J. (and others) Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsu- Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsu-
la, Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, Port Clarence, la, Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, Port Clarence,
and Goodhope Precintcts and Goodhope Precintcts . Washington, D.C., 1908. (U.S. Geological
Survey. Bulletin, Bulletin, No.328)
Dall, William H. Alaska and Its Resourc Alaska and Its Resourc es. Boston, 1870.

March, 1949

Text-420 wds
Bibl-25 wds
IMURUK LAKE, northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska, is about 75
miles northeast of Imuruk Basin, near 65° 33′ N.Lat., 163° 10′ W.Long.
The Eskimo name, which has also appeared as Emuruk and Imourok was first
reported by Mendenhall, in 1901.
This lake, whic h has an area of about 31 square miles and which drains
a basin of about 102 square miles, is the largest body of fresh water in
Seward Peninsula. It occupies a lava plateau with an elevation of 960 feet.
Imuruk Lake supplies water to the Noxapaga (q.v.), an important
stream in the Kougaro k system, and to the Kugruk, on e of the main streams
in the Fairhaven mining district. Forty-mile Fairhaven Ditch, one of the
early efforts to bring a reliable water supply to the Inmachuk system, ran
from Imuruk Lake to the upper Pinnell River and from there to Arizona Creek.
This was one of the upper Pinnell River and from there to Arizona Creek.
This was one of the most extensive ditch-building enterprizes in all of
Seward Peninsula.
The thin coat of lava over the plain gravels o f this region has
interested geologists since the area was first officially surveyed by Collier,
Mendenhall, and Moffit during the first decade of this century. The Imuruk
Lake region shows the effects of an older lava flow than is represented
in the upper Kuzitrin valley to the south and southwest. Geologists estimate
that the volcanic activity around Kotzebue Sound extended over a considerable
portion of the Pleistocene Age, ending only in comparatively recent geologic
times. The Pleistocene Age, ending only in comparatively recent geologic
times. The extruded lava occupied depressions and flowed down the river
valleys in broad streams of molten rock. "At times," Moffit writes, "the
cooling of the advancing front wall dammed back the flow and forced it over
the low, rounded divides between the watercourses in the next valley beyond,
or formed a lake which finally overflowed the obstr u ction and resumed its
original course, only to repeat the process a little farther on. In this


way islands of bare ground were left between the great finger-likepro–
trusions along the edge of the sheet. At the same time a shifting of the
watercourses was br ou ght about, for when not of sufficient volume to fill it
the lava occupied the lowest part of the valley and the waters sought a new
channel parallel to the old one, along the edge of the hardened flow. A
number of lakes and ponds also owe their existence to the d amming of streams
by lava, among which may be mentioned Lake Imuruk, the largest body of fresh
water on the peninsula."



[: ]

Baker, Marchs. Geo[: g]raphic Dictionary of Alaska Geo[: g]raphic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.

Brooks, A.H. Mineral Resources of Alaska, 1907. Mineral Resources of Alaska, 1907. Washington, 1908.
(U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 345)

Moffit, F.H. Fairhaven Gold Placers, Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Fairhaven Gold Placers, Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Washington,
1905. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 247)

Text- [: ] 1,380
Bibl-50 wds

Ruby Collins

INMACHUK RIVER, northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska, rises on the
western side of the divide separating it from Trail Creek, a tributary to
the Goodhope River immediately to the west. It then flows generally north [: ]
eastward for about 30 miles to Kotzebue Sound, at Deering.
Hannum Creek, from the northwest, and Pinnell River, from the
south, chief tributaries to the Inmachuk, each drain larger areas than does
the main river above these junctions. Below the Pinnell, several smaller
tributaries, Arizona, Fink, Washington, West, Cue, and Mystic Creeks,
enter the Inmachuk.
The Hannum valley is deep and narrow. Its principal tributaries
are Cunningham, Milroy, and Collins Creeks. The Pinnell rises in a broad
swamp formed by the lava flow, but about seven or eight miles below its head,
the river has cut a deep narrow. Canyon through the laval-covered gravels,
and drops about 300 feet in half a mile. Mag n et, June, Perry, Old Glory
Creek, and Snow Gulch are the chief affluents to the Pinnell. These streams
rise in the vicinity of the 1800-foot peak called Asses Ears, so named by
Kotzebue in August, 1816, because of the appearance of its double summit.
The Inmachuk Valley is characterized by a lava rim which follows
the left side of the Pinnell for several miles and then crosses to the right
side and continues down the Inmachuk to the coastal plain. Below the
Pinnell canyon this rim is generally 300 to 400 feet above the level of the
The Inmachuk, below the Pinnell, and the basins of Hannum and
Old Glory Creeks contain gold placers which were first discd. worked in 1900. [: ] Describ-
ing the mineralization of Hannum Creek region, Moffit writes: "Besides the
gold, the heavy concentrates from the sluice boxes show a large number of

Ruby Collins

Writing in 1904 Moffit says: "The first prospecting in the Kotzebue
gold field was done in the latter part of the season of 1900 by William T. Fee
("Missouri Bill"), who discovered gold on Old Glory Creek in the fall of that
year. Mr. Fee seems to have prospected all the streams heading up toward the
east side of the Asses Ears, but did no staking, owing to the failure of his
supplies and the consequent necessity of returning to Nome as quickly as possi–
ble. Old Glory was staked on September 21 of the same year by William H. Davis
and Jessie Pinnell. Three days later, on September 24, gold was discovered
on Hannum Creek, a tributary of Inmachuk River, by Z.E. Foster and Fred Sand–
strum, who staked the creek on that day.
"No work done on the gravels in the fall of 1900, owing to the
shortness of provisions and the lateness of the season. Snow was already
falling, and the prospectors returned to Nome, the nearest recording place to
this then unknown region, to register their claims and prepare for active work
during the following season. Their reports on the region caused considerable
excitement among the miners wintering in Nome, and some time in the early months
of 1901 M.V. Perry crossed the country on the snow with a dog team and staked
the creek now known by his name, Perry Creek.
" With the opening of spring a considerable rush of prospectors to the
new field took place, and a large number of claims were staked on nearly all
the neighboring creeks, both to the west and to the east. The first locations
on the Inmachuk proper were made by Messrs. Applegate and Perry on Discovery,
at 'Hot Springs'... 2 1/2 miles above the mouth of the Hannum. Very little
work aside from the location of claims was done in the Inmachuk Valley during
1901, for in the latter part of the season the news of very rich finds on
Candle Creek drew many men away and notably retarded the development of the
[: ] properties. This condition continued during the season of 1902,


but the summer of 1903 witnessed a revival of interest in the Inmachuk and
its tributaries, and a still further increase in the development in 1904 is certain.
"C andle Creek was staked about July 23, 1901, by Messrs. Enos Thomas,
Alexander Patterson, Robert Schneider, and Blankenship, and up to the present
time has produced a much greater amount of gold than any of the other streams
of this field. Although Mr. Blankenship was probably the first miner to
drive stakes on Candle Creek, Messrs. Thomas, Patterson, and Schneider were the
first to enter the region and made the original discovery of gold on Jump Creek,
a small tributary which comes in from the west and joins Candle Creek about
1 1/2 miles above Kiwalik River. These four men staked claims on the most
promising portions of the main stream and one claim each on the lower ends of
the t ributaries, thus acquiring right to a consider a ble amount of ground, part
of which has proved to be of much value.
"News of the strike spread quicly and was followed by a stampede
of miners in the late fall, so that the entire creek was soon taken up and
scores of men with rockers busied themselves in cleaning out the richer and
more readily worked portions of the gravels. As high as an ounce of gold per
day was paid to shovelers on some claims...
"The total production of the Kotzebue gold field for the three years
during which mining operations have been carried on is probably not far from
$415,000. Of this amount Candle Creek alone has turned out over three-fourths."
Describing the mineraliza t ion of Hannum Creek region, Moffit writes:
"Besides the gold, the heavy concentrates from the sluice boxes show a large
number of


rounded and polished pebbles of hematite or ' iron stones, ' some pyrite, and
a small quantity of galena, which is probably derived from the limestone area
west of Cunningham Creek, and will be referred to again. B lack sand is not
found with the gold, since magnetite occurs in very small quantity; the magnet
discovers only occasionally small pieces in the tailings from the sluice boxes.
' Gray sand ' or finely ground pyrite appears constantly in the pan. and larger
pieces up to 2 or more inches in diamet i er are not infrequent. The best gold
values are taken from the bed rock, which is usually a blue clay resulting
from the decomposition of the underlying schists. The gold is heavy and black
and is said to assay about $18 to the ounce when cleaned. Nuggets worth $2.50
are not uncommon, but no very large ones have yet been found."
One of the major hindrances to the mining development of this dis–
trict has been the inadequacy of the water supply during the summer dry season,
which is the only time of the year when placers can be worked in this section.
Several ditches were constructed, the longest of which, Fairhaven Ditch,
brought water from Lake Imuruk into the Inmachuk basin, a total distance of 35
or 40 miles.
By 1908 there was conside r able activity along the Inmachuk, some
of it fruitful, and some of it fruitless. As Henshaw explains: "In the fall
of 1908 water ri g hts were staked by two different parties at the springs
of the upper Inmachuk. The first locator posted his notice late in September,
and by an error in wording claimed 2,000 'cubic inches per second,' the water
to be used on claims on the Inmachuk above and below Hannum Creek. Before
an amended notice could be posted the water had been staked by others, who proposed to divert it around to tributaries of Old Glory Creek. Both parties
took steps to start construction work, but the first actual diversion of
water was made by the second locator. During 1909 work was being prosecuted
on two ditches, located less than 10 feet apart in elevation, so close that
the lower bank of the upper ditch was sloughing into the lower ditch. In


September steps were being taken by the owners of the lower ditch to procure
an injunction against the continuation of work by their rivals. This is a
rather unusual instance of the contro v ersies arising over conflicting claims
to water rights in the present unsatisfactory status of the law governing
the appropriation of water for mining purposes."
Gold mining has continued in this region ever since this time,
and the placers give no indication of failing. However, since World War II,
gold mining in Alaska has been an unprofitable activity. For an explanation
of this conditions see article on Nome, Alaska.



Henshaw, F.F. Mining in Seward Peninsula. Mining in Seward Peninsula. (Brooks, A. H. Mineral Resources
of Alaska, 1909.

Mineral Resources
of Alaska, 1909.
Washington, 1910. U.S. Geological Survey.
Bulletin Bulletin 442)

Henshaw, F.F. Surface Water Supply of Seward Peninsula, Alaska Surface Water Supply of Seward Peninsula, Alaska . Washington,
1913. (U.S. Geological Survey. Water Supply Pape Water Supply Pape r 314.'

Moffit, F.H. F ia ai rhaven Gold Placers, Seward Peninsula, Alaska F ia ai rhaven Gold Placers, Seward Peninsula, Alaska . Washington,
1905. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 247)
VS Guidebook for Alaska VS Guidebook for Alaska

Ruby Collins

90 wds
IPNOT, a small Eskimo v illage near Cape Thompson, on the
shores of the Polar Sea, northwestern Alaska, had a population of 40 in
Petrof's report of 1880. Since this settlement does not appear on the 1939
Census, it may be assumed that it has decreased in size since that time,
although it continues to appear on recent maps of the [: ] region. The long
winter trail [: ] which runs southward to Kotzebue and Seward Peninsula
continues northward from Ipnot on its way to Point Barrow.

Ruby Collins

458 wds

JACKSMITH BAY, ALASKA, is a large, open indentation
of the mainland on the eastern side of Kuskokwim Bay, about 14 miles
north of Carter Bay (q.v.). The section of shoreline between these
two bays is marked by two spits each forming a tiny bay. Into the
more northerly of these two bays flows Cripple Creek which rises in
Twin Mountain, c urves southward and westward around Cone Mountain
and thereafter follows a meandering northwesterly course to the bay.
A few miles north of the spit which forms this small, unnamed bay
is a third and larger spit forming the southern entrance point to
Jacksmith Bay. This bay is shoal throughout and is entirely bare at
low tide. Jacksmith Creek enters the bay from the south. Several
creeks rising in Figure Four Mountain and in other heights of this section
of the Ahklun Range join just north of Twin Mountain to form Jacksmith
Creek which then follows a generally northwesterly course to the bay.
The prominent heights in this part of the range are only a few miles
inland, being considerably closer to the water than are the mountains
associated with Carter Bay. From south to north, the named peaks
grouped near Jacksmith Bay are Cone Mountain, Twin Mountain,
Figure Four Mountain, Yoke Mountain, and Yukon Hill. These range from
800 to 2600 feet in [: ] height, These peaks and form a north-south
chain which is cut from east to west only by Jacksmith Creek. The
inland side of this chain is the western watershed for the headwaters
of the Arolic River (q.v.), the first major stream north of Jacksmith
Bay. Separated from this mountain chain by a valley from 4 to 8 miles
wide lies Island Mountain, a [: ] cluster of peaks about 7 miles long and


2 miles wide, which form the eastern watershed for another group of
tributaries to the Arolic River. The valley between these peaks is
cut by numberless creeks and streams flowing northeastward from the
chain and northwestward from Island Mountain into an unnamed stream
which trends northward along the valley floor to join the Arolic
about 5 miles southeast of Yukon Hill.
A branch of the long winter trail which connects point son
Kuskokwim Bay with others on Bristol Bay (q.v.) and Iliamna Lake (q.v.)
leads from the north side of Goodnews Bay (q.v.) northward along this
same valley to a placer gold mine a few miles east of the junction of
this early tributary to the Arolic.
The territory between the mountains and the shores of Jack–
smith Bay is low, treeless tundra which, in the summertime, is
covered with moss and a variety of wild flowers.
Sources: VSGB; USCP & Suppl.
° in Baker; Colby

Ruby Collins

216 wds
KANEKTOK RIVER, southwestern Alaska, enters Kuskokwim Bay
about midway of its eastern side. The river drains from glacier-fed
Lake Kagati in the Ahklun Mountains, follows a generally northwesterly
course for a few miles and then turns west to run through a low , narrow
valley bordered with peaks 2400 to 4100 feet high. For the duration
of its 65 - 75-mile course the Kanektok carves a rapid and occasionally
branched course through treeless, tundra country to Kuskokwim Bay.
The only settlement on the river is the Eskimo village of
Kwinhagak (sometimes spelled Quinhagak or Kwinak) at the mouth of the
river which had a population of 224 in 1947. Because of the wide
mud flat bordering the shore in this vicnity the smallest craft some–
times fail to reach the village at low tide and launches can enter
only on the highest tides. Supplies are landed with great difficulty,
although they may be obtained in limited quantities in the town which
has, besides a native store, a Moravian Mission, [: ] a Government
school, and a fourth class post office. Fresh, clear mountain water
is available at all stages of the tide. Kwinhagak is on the long winter
trail which runs from points on Bristol Bay and Iliamna Lake to Bethel and
other Kuskokwim Bay villages.
Sources: VSGB; USCP & Suppl; Colby; Tewkesbury

21 April 48

KASAAN, ALASKA (55° 33′ N.LAT.; 132° 24′ W.LONG.) is an Indian
village and post office on the south shore of Kasaan Peninsula which pro–
jects into Clarence Strait from the west coast of Prince of Wales Island.
Since its establishment in December, 1899, it has grown to a population
of 110, as reported in 1939.
The cannery and radio station in Kasaan are usually operated by
the Pacific Alaska Fisheries, but are sometimes leased to other companies.
There is fresh water on the wharf and fishing supplies are available [: ] from
the general stores in the town. The cannery maintains a machine shop and
its own supplies of oil and gasoline. The main wharf is 125 feet long with
a low water depth of 32 feet.
Motor launches connect Kasaan with Ketchikan and Wrangel. In 1939,
under the Indian Reorganization A r ct, the town was granted $12,000 for
village improvements.
Kasaan is sometimes designated as New Kasaan to distinguish it
from the original native village, Old Kasaan (q.v.) on another arm of the
At the close of the short cannery season each summer, the natives
of the village live by fishing and trapping in the mountainous interior.
They have adopted a constitution and by-laws which were ratified on October
15, 1938.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Sources Baker, Marcus. Geographic dictionary of Alaska Geographic dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Prepared by James
McCormick. Washington, D.C., G.P.O., 1906. (U.S. Geological Survey.
Bulletin No.299. Series F, Geography 52)
U.S. Coast Pilot. Alaska. Pt.I. Dixon Entrance to Makutat Bay Alaska. Pt.I. Dixon Entrance to Makutat Bay . [: ] 9th (1943) ed.
Washington, D.C., G.P.O. 1943.
Colby, Merle. A guide to Alaska A guide to Alaska . N.Y., Macmillan, 1942.
Sundborg, [: ] George. Opportunity in Alaska Opportunity in Alaska . N.Y., Macmillan, 1945.
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur. Guide book for Arctic and sub-Arctic Alaska. Guide book for Arctic and sub-Arctic Alaska. Oct., 1940.
Tewkesbury, David. Tewkesbury's Who's Who in Alaska and Alaska Business Index. Tewkesbury's Who's Who in Alaska and Alaska Business Index.
Vol. 1947 I. Juneau, Alaska, Tewkesbury publishers, c1947.

Ruby Collins

390 wds - Text
25 wds - Bibl.
KAVIRUK RIVER (Covearak, Ka-ooveren, Kvuveren) central
Seward Peninsula, Alaska, rises south of Kougarok Mountain and [: ]
follows a generally southwesterly course for about twenty miles to
enter the head of Imuruk Basin near 65° 15′ N. Lat., 165° 20′ W.Long.
This stream, which lies between the Kuzitrin-Kougarok
system and the Agiapuk River, was formerly called Mary's River by the
Kougarok miners, but the orginal Eskimo name has since been reinstated.
Variants of this name have been recorded by some of the Franklin search
parties, l i n 1850, by Billings, in 1790, and by the Russians, in 1802.
The Kaviruk is joined early in its course by Johnston,
and Winter Creeks, and, just above the present site of Davidson, by
Hunter Creek.
The upper K aviruk is a mountain torrent, but, a few
miles above Davidson, the river leaves the mountains and enters upon the
lake-strewn marshland which encloses the eastern end of Imuruk Basin.
Here the Kaviruk gradually widens out, until, [: ] by the time it reaches
the Basin , it is almost two miles from shore to shore.
Davidson, formerly Davidson's Landing, at the head of
light draft navigation on the Kaviruk, was established, in 1906, by
J.M. Davidson, and Andrew J. Stone, both large-scale Kouga r o k gold
mine operators, as a transshipping point for freight coming into the
Kougarok District vi a Teller, on Port Clarence. Hoping to solve for all time, the
harassing problem of [: ] transportation to the Koug ra ar ok for all time,
they then built a road from Davidson , northward along the Kaviruk, over the
divide, and then down Lincoln Creek to the mouth of Taylor River, an
important tributary to the Kougarok. In this way, Davidson became a
busy trading post and supply base for the entire Kougarok mining district.


As long as the miners were prospering, so also did [: ]
Davidson, but with the slump in Kougarok gold mining from about 1910
to 1930, the town dwindled. It was not reported in the U.S. Census
for 1939, but it still appears on recent maps of Seward Peninsula.
It is now connected [: ] by sled road with Taylor and by
winter trail with Shelton, on the Kuzitrin River, and from there
with Kotzebue Sound, Port Clarence, and Norton Sound points.
There are no other settlements on the Kaviruk.
U.S. Geological Survey. Water Supply Paper. Water Supply Paper. Plate I.
Baker, Marcus. Geographical Dictionary of Alaska Geographical Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington,
D.C., 1906. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin No.299)
Harrison, E.S. Nome and Seward Peninsula. Nome and Seward Peninsula. Seattle, Wash., 1905.

Ruby Collins

50 wds
KILIMAK (67° 17′ N.Lat., 163° 46′ W.Long.) is a small Eskimo
village on the coast of the Polar Sea, northwestern Alaska.
The long winter trail which connects this part of Alaska with
Kotzebue and Seward Peninsula , to the south, and with other coastal towns ,
to the north, passes through Kilimak.

Ruby Collins
February, 1949 KING ISLAND, ALASKA

Text - 145 wds.
KING ISLAND, Bering Sea, Alaska, lies just south of the junction
of 65° N. Lat., and 168° W. Long.
This small island was discovered by Cook on August 6, 1778, who
named it after Lieutenant James King, a member of the Cook expedition. The
native name, which Nelson gives as Ukiwuk , has appeared in a great many variations,
e.g. Okiben Okiben , Oo-ghe-book Oo-ghe-book , etc.
King Island is about 700 feet high and two miles square. The
cliffs are nearly perpendicular and descend into deep water on all sides. The
bottom is generally rocky, but, offshore from Ukivok, a small native village
on the south side of the island, vessels will find anchor in about 90 feet,
with muddy bottom, and good protection from northwest winds. The houses making
up the village are built on the sides of the cliffs but well above high water.
In clear weather this island makes a very good landfall for vessels northbound
for Port Clarence (q.v.)
Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.

Ruby Collins
23 April 48 KING SALMON RIVER (Egegik River)

50 wds
KING SALMON RIVER, in the northwestern part of the Alaska
Peninsula, rises in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes (q.v.) in the
Alaska Range and takes a generally westward course across the
Alaska Peninsula to enter the mouth of the Egegik River (q.v.) from
the north. Over 50 miles long, the King Salmon River drains the
complex lake system of the coastal lowlands between Becharof and
Naknek Lakes (q.v.). It was named by Osgood in 1902.
Sources: Baker; [: ] Aeronautical Chart No.136
° in VSGB; Sund o b b o rg; USCP & Suppl.

Ruby Collins

340 wds.
KIVALINA, [: ] is a small village on the long sand spit
forming the west side of Corwin Lagoon, an [: ] arm of the Polar Sea off the
coast of northwestern Alaska.
Kivalina is the first town north of Kotzebue (q.v.) known to
be the home of any white people. According to a 1930 report, the Bureau of
Education had already established a school here, and the Eskimos operated a
cooperative store in connection with their reindeer business. In addition,
there was a branch of one of the Kotzebue stores, which also was in the charge
o a f a native. At that time, the schoolhouse and the homes of a few of the
native families were the only framed buildings in the town, all others being
constructed either of driftwood or sod.
The old site of this settlement would seem to have been at the
north end of the lagoon about ten miles away. The present site offers no
particular natural advantages, although it is well-situated for getting back
into the country by way of the Kivalina River (q.v.). It is also almost
directly across country from Noatak (q.v.), on the river of the same name.
It is approximately midway of the reindeer range used by the local herd, and
fish are said to be particularly numerous near the mouth of the Kivalina
River. Except for the occasional driftwood and scrub by willows that grow for
about ten or twenty miles up the river, however, there is no fuel supply any–
where in the vicinity.
In 1939, Kivalina had a population of 98 or more, a post
office, an Alaska Native Service school, one general store (the Kotzebue branch


store apparently having gone out of business), a Friends' Mission, and a
1500-foot landing strip. The store is still run by the Eskimos in connection
with their reindeer business, so that fresh meat is almost always obtainable
in the town. The Coast Pilot remarks that the red-roofed school house is
visible five miles offshore, constituting a valuable landmark for pilots
in these waters.



Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.

Smith, P.S. Geology and Mineral Resources of Northwestern Alaska. Geology and Mineral Resources of Northwestern Alaska.
Washington, 1930. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 815)

Tewkesbury's Who's Who in Alaska, 1947. Tewkesbury's Who's Who in Alaska, 1947. Juneau, Alaska, 1947.



Ruby Collins

130 wds
KIVALINA RIVER, northwestern Alaska, debouches about midway
between Cape Krusenstern and Point Hope (q.v.) into Corwin Lagoon, which is
separated only by a long narrow sand spit from the Polar Sea.
The Kivalina rises in the vicinity of 1630-foot Mount Jarvis
and follows a generally southwesterly course for about twenty miles before
entering the lagoon.
Scrub willows, the tallest less than ten feet high, fringe the
lowland sections of this stream but disappear from the early mountainous
regions. This growth of willow has been found sufficient for ordinary camp
needs, but not enough for many people or for long sojourns in one place.
The nearest settlement is Kivalina (q.v.), at the south end
of the sand spit.


Baker, Marcus. Geographic Dictionary of Alaska Geographic Dictionary of Alaska . 2d ed. Washington, 1906.
Smith, P.S. Geology and Mineral Resources of Northwestern Alaska Geology and Mineral Resources of Northwestern Alaska .
Washington, 1930. (U.S. Geological Survey. Bulletin Bulletin 815)

Ruby Collins

Text - 1,885 wds
Bibl - 100 wds
KIWALIK RIVER, the largest river on the north side of Seward
Peninsula, Ala [: ] ka, rises in a low ridge which separates it from the Koyuk
(q.v.) drainage basin, and flows almost directly northward for about 70
miles to empty into Spafarief Bay, a southeasterly arm of Kotzebue Sound.
The first thirty miles of this river crosses a low, flat area which
is several miles wide, but this valley narrows considerably in the vicinity
of Candle, about four miles u f rom the mouth of the Ki w alik. Below Cand e l e
the river widens into a lagoon, perhaps ten square miles in area, and covering
a region of mud flats, most of which are exposed at low tide.
The early western tributaries to the Kiwalik drain long narrow
basins, roughly parallel and separated by low ridges. The chief western
tributaries are Canoe, Gold Run, Glacier, Dome, Bonanza, Eldorado, Candle,
and Minnehaha Creeks. Kirk Creek enters the west side of the lagoon, a few
miles below Minnehaha Creek.
Of these, Glacier Creek carries the most water. It rises in the
eastern sope of Monument Mountain, the highest point in this part of Seward
Peninsula, and flows to into the Kiwalik at a point about twenty-five miles from
its mouth. During periods of low water this stream is fed by limestone springs
and by the water from the melting " glacier " which forms below these [: ] springs
during the winter months.
Gold Run, a few miles above Glacier Creek, also derives some of
its water from springs, but it does not have as well-sustained a supply as
Glacier Creek. All the other western streams in the Kiwalik system are reduced
to mere trickles during the summer, while Candle Creek, which has a drainage
area of sixty square miles at the mouth, frequently reaches a stage of zero


Candle Creek, economically the most important stream in this
system, receives a great many tributaries most of which flow in from the west.
Reading downstream these are: Ptarmigan, Potato, Thomas, Willow, Patterson,
and Jump Creeks. Gold placer operations began on Candle Creek in 1901 and have
yielded a large percentage of the total production of the Fairhaven mining dis–
trict ever since. The creek is about 18 miles long and is worked for the
greater part of its length. Up until 1910, the principal produci o ng ground
was between Patterson and Jump Creeks and extended to the third tier of benches
on the left side of the valley. Subsequently, gold was found on the right side
of the valley and farther upstream. Successful mining in this region has always
been handicapped by lack of water and is [: ] sometimes for this reason stopped
The largest eastern tributaries to the Kiwalik are Quartz and
Hunter Creeks, both of which rise in a mountainous mass separating the Kiwalik
from the Buckland River (q.v.) system.
Quartz Creek joins the main stream about 60 miles above Glacier
Creek and has a larger drainage area than any other tributary to the Kiwalik.
The Quartz Creek valley is generally hilly and even mountainous along its
eastern and southern borders. The slopes of the basin are steep and only
thinly covered with moss , so that water derived from rain runs off quickly. In
addition, the river bed is loose gravel which probably thaws considerably during
the summer, so that there may well be an appreciable underflow.
Hunter Creek drains an area north of Quartz Creek and flows through
a narrow, tortuous valley to the Kiwalik about 8 miles above Quartz Creek. Its
basin resembles that of Quartz Creek but is not so mountainous. The water
supply in Hunter is less, but more reliable than that in Quartz Creek.
Lava Creek, the only other named easter n tributary to the Kiwalik,
drains a flat lava area north of Hunter Creek. It has a very small run-off


except during the high water period in the spring and immediately after a rain
at any time of the year.
As early as 1884 and 1885, Lieutenant C. Cantwell described the
Eskimos of this region in his account of the cruise of the Corwin. In the
spring, Eskimos come to the larger rivers in the vicnity to trade, hunt seals,
and catch salmon. At that time, dried salmon was the most important article
of food both in summer and in winter. Cantwell found several families at the
present site of Ki q w alik, on the lagoon, and several more at Candle . a few
miles upstream. Some of these natives had been employed by the white miners,