Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Audio Availability: loading...

Total Audio Length: loading...

OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

SYNOPSIS: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle visitor brochure.

DESCRIPTION: Welcome to the audio-described version of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that park visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and provides information for planning your visit. The audio version lasts about 44 minutes. We have divided these descriptions into 38 separate components, as a way to give the listener flexibility about the topic and to improve the listening experience. About the first dozen descriptions cover the front of the brochure, which includes orientation information and a map of the area. The rest of the descriptions cover the of the back brochure, which consists of highlights about "Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!," "Seattle & Beyond," "Dyea & the Chilkoot Trail," "Skagway & White Pass," "Yukon via Bennett Lake," and "Dawson City & the Gold Fields."

CAPTION: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle Unigrid.


↑ back to top

OVERVIEW: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

SYNOPSIS: Essay created by Klondike Gold Rush's audio description team depicting scenes from Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle.

DESCRIPTION: The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle was established in nineteen sixty eight in Seattle, Washington. It is part of the National Park Service, and the location of the park is located in the historic Cadillac Hotel building. Each year, eighty thousand visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that only can be had at the Klondike Gold Rush. The site features two floors of self-guided interactive exhibits, experiences that include watching films that describe the journey of gold rush stampeders, and park activities such as earning your Junior Ranger badge, self-guided walking tours, ranger programs, demonstrations, and docent tours. For more information about the Klondike Gold Rush’s amenities, resources, and accessibility information contact the park directly or visit the “accessibility” and “more information” sections at the end of this audio described brochure.   

CAPTION: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle Description.


↑ back to top

OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

SYNOPSIS: This is the front side of the brochure for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle with a description of the park, images depicting various scenes, and a map of the area surrounding the park.

DESCRIPTION: The brochure is large and rectangular in shape, portrait-oriented with the width from left to right being shorter than the length from top to bottom. Beginning at the top of the brochure, there is a thin black horizontal bar across the entire width of the brochure, featuring the name of the park and the National Park Service logo. Below the black bar, there is a color photograph that occupies one sixth of the brochure's front page showcasing the Cadillac Hotel, the location of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle's Visitor Center. Below the color photograph, there are two columns of text that consumes the next sixth of the brochure's front page providing introductory content about the park. Below the text, a black-and-white historic photograph that consumes the next sixth of the brochure's front page that captures a street-view of Pioneer Square around the year 1897. Onto the second half of the front page of the brochure, the next sixth has a column of text on the left side, titled "Seeing Gold Rush-era Seattle Today" that provides accessibility, safety, and additional information about visiting the park. To the right of the text, there is a current map of historic Pioneer Place, showcasing Gold Rush-era buildings and other historic buildings around the Cadillac Hotel. The remainder of the front page of the brochure is a black-and-white historic photograph of a storefront with merchants posing for the photograph as they stand in the street with text accompanying the photograph. 

CAPTION: Front side of brochure featuring images, text, and a map that contains information about the Gold Rush era and its relation to Seattle today.


↑ back to top

IMAGE: NPS Black Banner

DESCRIBING: National Park Service brand identifier

SYNOPSIS: A black rectangle with the National Park Service logo and words, "Klondike Gold Rush"

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The black rectangle expands across the width of the page and is approximately one inch high and eight inches wide. The words contained within are white with "Klondike Gold Rush" in the largest-sized font. To the right, in smaller-sized font, are the words "National Park Service," "U.S. Department of the Interior," "National Historical Park," and "Seattle, Washington." To the right of these words is the National Park Service logo. This brown, green, and white logo takes the shape of an arrowhead and is approximately one-half inch tall and one-half inch wide. Different shades of brown are used to connote a three-dimensional texture for the arrowhead. The color green is used to illustrate a prairie and trees -- one of which is approximately one-half the height of the logo. The color white is used to illustrate a bison in profile, facing left, and standing in the foreground, at the bottom of the logo, within the prairie. White is also used to illustrate a body of water behind, and to the right of the bison; a snow covered mountain peak behind and above the body of water, and which extends the width of the logo; and, the words National Park Service above the mountain peak.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: The Visitor Center

DESCRIBING: A color photograph that extends the width of the page

SYNOPSIS: The photograph is of the National Park Visitor Center, which is a brick building that sits on the corner of two streets. Other brick buildings of differing styles and colors are located on either side of the buildings. Cars are parked in front of the buildings. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The National Park Visitor Center is made of weathered red brick and is three stories tall. There are windows on each floor -- approximately ten on each side, framed with wood painted blue. There are beige awnings above the corner entrance to the building and a beige and green sign with the word hotel jutting off the edge of the building on the left side. There are museum informational panels on display in the street-level windows.

The first building to the left of the National Park Visitor Center is made of pink-gray brick and is four stories tall. This building appears to have one or two additional stories added to the top made of beige stone rather than brick. 

To the left of that building is a leafy green tree approximately three stories tall, and to the left of the tree are three or so more buildings, the details of which are difficult to ascertain. They are all approximately four stories tall, the first one is white brick, and may also have a modern red brick addition added to the top (or, this could be a separate building behind); the others appear to be made of pink-gray brick. 

To the right of the National Park Visitor Center is a three-story cream-colored brick building and to the right of that is a three-story white stone building. In the background behind that building is at least one taller building that looks to be made of more modern materials. 

Above all of the buildings is a rich blue sky. In front of the buildings is a sidewalk with a yellow fire hydrant, numerous sets of parking informational signs on poles, and four light posts approximately two stories tall, each with three spherical globes. 

Numerous cars are parked along the street. From left to right, there is a teal pickup truck with a shell, a black jeep with a soft-shell top, a gold sedan, a silver sedan, a purple pickup truck, a silver pickup truck, and a dark colored SUV. 

To the left of the image, and across the street from the National Park Visitor Center, is a light post that matches the others, but is in shadow. Also within the shadow, are three to four cars parked along the street, all but one, a silver sedan, are difficult to determine the color and style of. 

CAPTION: The National Park Service Visitor Center, 2nd Avenue South and South Jackson Streets


RELATED TEXT: Written in white letters in the lower right corner of the photograph are the words, "The National Park Service Visitor Center, 2nd Avenue South and South Jackson Streets -- NPS"

↑ back to top

TEXT: "Klondike gold!"

The cry of “Klondike gold!” first captured the world’s imagination here in Seattle. It was July 1897. Tens of thousands of gold seekers soon poured through this small waterfront city. The Chamber of Commerce aggressively promoted Seattle as the “only place” to outfit for the goldfields. And sales did soar to $25 million by early 1898. Shopkeepers piled their stock 10 feet deep on storefront boardwalks (bottom photo). Stampeders eagerly bought supplies and had one last hurrah!

They then boarded ships bound for the wild unknown of Alaska and Canada. This frenzy of activity helped to re-ignite the nation’s depressed economy, and it ensured Seattle’s position as a regional trade center.

Discover many fascinating reminders of 1890s Seattle today in the Pioneer Square National Historic District. Immerse yourself in the glory days of the Klondike Gold Rush that this national historical park commemorates.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Pioneer Square about 1897

DESCRIBING: A historic black and white, horizontal image of a town square.

SYNOPSIS: A panoramic view of a bustling city square, two building lined streets are visible with many people walking the sidewalks, horse drawn carriages in the roads and electrical wires crisscrossing in from 4 story tall posts on the street corners. The buildings are between three and six stories tall based on the rows of windows visible on the exterior. Each is made from a different shade of stone or brick, neatly constructed. Most buildings have arched windows and flat roofs. The thinnest building all the way to the right has a sign, "Hotel Seattle" atop of it. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The image is busy with buildings. It is faded from white on the top edge, and fades into a gray bar on the bottom where the caption, credit and related text are. From left to right, the first item in the image is an electrical pole in the foreground. We only see the top half, giving perspective that we are at a high vantage point looking down on the town square. The first building on the left is the lightest in color with larger bricks or stones making up the bottom level. The second story has large, two story windows that are arched. The next three stories have thin windows lining the two sides of the building we can see. Leading from the left the buildings start to obscure as they line the rest of the street that leads away from the viewer. On the right side of the main street, a three story building leads the viewer to the largest building that sits on a street corner. This building is six stories tall and has a steeple in the middle front. The large building sits on the left side of the next street visible. This street is much thinner than the main street and leads the viewer to the right. The final building visible, "Hotel Seattle", sits on a small corner making the building thin enough that the front is only a window wide. The building is five stories high and looks like it is wide enough on the long edge for five windows.

CAPTION: Pioneer Square about 1897

CREDIT: Library of Congress

RELATED TEXT: The Pioneer Building dominated both Seattle’s skyline and its gold rush era commerce. Built in 1892, it faces historic Pioneer Place (see map). Between 1897 and 1908, the building housed 48 mining firms.

↑ back to top

TEXT: Seeing Gold Rush-era Seattle Today

This text is wrapped around the map of the Pioneer Square Historic District Map, which is described in a separate section below this one.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Seattle is located in the historic Cadillac Hotel, 319 Second Avenue South, two blocks north of the Seattle football stadium. Visitor center hours vary by season. Please call 206-220-4240 or visit www.nps.gov/klse for current information. It is closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1.

Ask at the visitor center about the schedule of walking tours and other programs and activities. Exhibits and audiovisual programs there tell the story of Seattle’s crucial role as the staging area for the Klondike Gold Rush.

Parking is available on the street and at several nearby locations. Bus stops, the train station, and local ferries are within walking distance.

The heart of gold rush Seattle, Pioneer Square National Historic District has shops, art galleries, restaurants, and book and antique stores. Many gold rush era buildings still stand in the historic district today. The map at right will help you identify them. To the north is Waterfront Park, the site where the steamship Portland docked in 1897 with the 68 miners whose cargo of gold launched the Klondike Gold Rush.

Below are paragraphs that outline accessibility, safety and contact information for the park.

↑ back to top

TEXT: Accessibility

We strive to make our facilities, programs, and services accessible to all. For information, visit us at the visitor center or check our website.

Website: www.nps.gov/klse

↑ back to top

TEXT: Safety

The park is located in downtown Seattle. Watch for traffic and take precautions appropriate to a major metropolitan area, especially with children. Be careful of uneven walking surfaces in the historic district. Firearms are prohibited in this park.

↑ back to top

TEXT: More Information

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. Learn more at, www.nps.gov.

Start your journey by getting information at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park visitor center, 319 2nd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104, 

Or contact:

Phone: 206-220-4240

Website: www.nps.gov/klse

↑ back to top

MAP: Pioneer Square National Historic District

DESCRIBING: A map of Pioneer Square National Historic District in Seattle, WA. This map shows where Gold Rush-era buildings and other historic buildings are located in this downtown area, east of Elliott Bay.  

SYNOPSIS:  This is a graphic wayfinding map, aimed at tourists, which shows the boundary of the Pioneer Square National Historic District in downtown Seattle, WA. It also shows the location of the National Park Service's Visitor Center, in the historic Cadillac Hotel, and other historic buildings from the Klondike Gold Rush-era as well as important buildings in this neighborhood not related to the gold rush. The historic district is adjacent to Elliott Bay, which provides the western border of the map. The map emphasizes the historic buildings, the baseline grid of streets, and the area's architectural landmarks. 

As the compass on the map indicates, north is at the top, with a directional arrow showing Pier 59 just outside the scope of this rendering. Pier 59 is where the S.S. Portland arrived with gold from the Klondike on July 17, 1897. Today, Pier 59 is the location of the Seattle Aquarium and Waterfront Park. 

The other reference points to the north, besides to Pier 59, and mostly outside of this historic district, are Madison, Marion, Columbia, Cherry, James, Jefferson, and Terrace streets. To the south is South King Street and the Seattle football stadium. To the east is Elliott Bay, where the Washington State Ferry provides transport to Bremerton and Bainbridge Island. To the west is Fifth Avenue South. The Pioneer Square National Historic District, inside these boundaries, is outlined with a dark-green line, creating a shape that appears roughly like a rectangle with a jagged top. The numbered streets, such as First, Second, Third, etc., run north-south, and the named streets, generally speaking, run east-west.

The map uses colors to represent different types of map designations. The streets are white. City blocks are represented by beige shapes that correspond to the shapes of the blocks in real life. Parks are represented by light-green shapes. Gold Rush-era buildings are smaller dark-gray rectangles on top of their representative locations on the city block shapes. Other historic buildings are in light-gray. Elliot Bay is represented along the left edge of the map in a light blue shape that corresponds to the shape of the waterfront in real life.


Connecting Pier 52 at Elliott Bay, on the western border, with the rest of the neighborhood, is Alaskan Way, which is the primary road facing the waterfront. The eastern border of the map is Fifth Avenue South. 

About in the middle of this map, at Yesler Way, the streets switch from a rigid north-south baseline grid to taking 45-degree angles away from those cardinal directions. Most of this historic district, except the most northern parts, are in the area of the neighborhood with the north-south streets. Yesler Way is adjacent to multiple map landmarks, including Pioneer Place, about two blocks east of the bay, Pioneer Building (1892), just east of Pioneer Place, and Smith Tower (1914), a block east of Pioneer Building. Smith Tower is the only one of those shown in light-gray, meaning it is not Gold Rush-era.

One block south of Yesler Way is South Washington, and a block south of that is South Main Street. Washington and Main therefore provide the north-south boundaries of Occidental Park. First and Second avenues provide the east-west borders of the park. 

Other notable and named buildings nearby each other in the area are: Merchants Cafe (1889), just south of Pioneer Place. The Schwabacher Building (1890) is one block west, and the Metropole Building (1895) is one block east of Merchants Cafe. Occidental Park and Grand Central Hotel (1889) are just a block south of Merchants Cafe.

Waterfall Garden, a block east of Occidental Park, is about two blocks northwest of Union Station and AMTRAK's King Street Station. Those two historic buildings are shown in light gray, meaning they are important but not directly related to the Gold Rush era.

RELATED TEXT: This "Seeing Gold Rush-era Seattle Today" map has accompanying texts that are provided in the project descriptions above this one.


↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Gold Rush Outfitters

DESCRIBING: A black-and-white historic photograph of merchants standing on the street in front of a storefront.

SYNOPSIS: On a dirt-covered road in front of a store called 'Cooper and Levy', a group of men are posing for the photograph. The men appear to be of various ages while all are wearing clothes that cover their seen arms and legs which include darker-colored pants, jackets, and hats. Most men are looking at the camera with a smile or a closed, straight mouth. The foreground of the image includes white colored text in the bottom right that overlays the image which contains the dirt-covered road with thin tire tracks and footsteps imprinted into the mud. The men are lined up in the middle of the image, with most standing in front of light-colored bags and boxes of supplies that are similar in height to the men. Some men are sitting on top of the supplies while posing for the image. Behind the men and supplies is the storefront of 'Cooper and Levy' with large windows that are framed with drapery. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Among the men standing in front of bags and boxes of supplies, there is also a wood pole, similar in width to a man in the photograph. The wood pole with pegs evenly spaced, appears sturdily placed in the dirt-covered road. The wood pole is taller than the dimensions of the photograph. The storefront which is located in the backdrop of the image has a sign in bold, capital letters reading, 'Cooper and Levy'. The storefront appears to be made of large stone blocks that create the framework for the windows, where goods can be seen through the glass. The clothing includes boots, long pants, button-up shirts, jackets, and hats with various brim-widths. 

CAPTION:  Sudden, huge demand for outfits and goods for the Klondike forced merchants to pile their wares many feet deep on Seattle sidewalks. Stampeders scrambled to assemble their so-called “ton of goods” that Canada’s Mounties would require before admitting gold-seekers to Canada, where the gold fields were. What might be called the “Klondike Outfit Rush” pulled or jerked Seattle out of economic depression. A number of today’s national retailers got their big break here from the gold rush. Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

CREDIT: Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

↑ back to top

OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

Description:  The back side of the brochure titled "Long Trail to the Klondike" contains a sequence of text, images, and a map arranged in six sections.

Synopsis:  The back of the brochure is organized into two columns of text and corresponding imagery. The background is white. There is a black bar across the top of both columns of text. Beginning on the left side of this black bar, there are white letters that read "Long Trail to the Klondike". On the right side of the bar, there is an inset map of the western coast of North America extending from the most northern point of Alaska to the south end of California.  The map shows water and land routes from Seattle to the Klondike gold fields; each route is color coded to match other text segments on the back of the brochure. The top of this inset map intrudes into the black bar. The map is mostly white with blue rivers where it touches the black bar.

The text columns are broken into six segments. All segments except the first one span both columns when reading down the page. The first segment is an introduction paragraph to the supporting five segments below it. The first text segment is in the first column only and the inset map is in the right column. Each segment after the introduction begins with a sequential number, beginning at 1 and ending at 5. These segment numbers are white font inside of a small colored circle. Each segment also has a title that is next to the number.  Segment title text is the same color as the number and is in a larger font than the rest of the text that follows it in that segment. Supporting text in each segment is in black font.


Caption:  Back side of brochure featuring images, text, and a map that contains information about the Gold Rush era.

Credit:  NPS/KLSE

↑ back to top

TEXT: Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!

DESCRIPTION: Bold text that introduces the back side of the brochure.

SYNOPSIS: Bolded text that introduces the back side of the brochure. The text is located under the black thin bar titled 'Long Trail to the Klondike', justified to the left side of the page, taking up half the width of the page. To the right of the text, is a map of routes from Seattle to Dyea, Skagway, Bennett Lake, and Dawson City.

CAPTION: GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! screamed headlines that sent over 100,000 people on a quest to pull themselves and the nation out of a three-year depression’s economic ruin. But to strike it rich they would struggle against time, each other, and northern wilderness. U.S. gold reserves plummeted in 1893. The stock market crashed. Ensuing panic left millions hungry, depressed, and destitute. Then came hope: on August 16, 1896, gold was discovered in northwestern Canada, near where the Klondike and Yukon rivers join. On July 17, 1897, the SS Portland reached Seattle with 68 rich miners and nearly two tons of gold! This promised adventure and quick wealth. For the lure of gold many risked all, even their lives, to be a part of the last grand adventure of its kind.

↑ back to top

MAP: Three Routes to the Klondike

DESCRIBING: A map of parts of the U.S. and Canada, the Northwest Territories, The Yukon Territories, and Alaska, showing the three routes to the Klondike.

SYNOPSIS: The map shows the three routes to the Klondike, two beginning in Seattle, Washington and one beginning in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, all ending in Dawson City, Canada and the gold fields.  The map has labeled each route as the All-Water Route, the Skagway Dyea Route, and the All-Land Route. There are 5 numbered cities in the U.S. and Canada corresponding to numbered informational sections of this brochure.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION:  The map shows Dyea (labeled 2), Skagway (labeled 3), and Bennett Lake (labeled 4), clustered around each other and the U.S./Canada border near the Gulf of Alaska. The Skagway Dyea route and All-Water Route begin in Seattle, Washington (labeled 1), and head north past Victoria and Vancouver into British Columbia where they diverge. The All-Water Route continues northwest to the Pacific Ocean and around the Gulf of Alaska landing in the middle of the west coast of Alaska at Saint Michael. The All-Water Route then heads southwest and northeast to connect to the Yukon River which it follows east over the U.S./Canada border to Dawson City, Canada (labeled 5). The Skagway Dyea Route continues north along the U.S./Canada border to Dyea and Skagway, following the Yukon River past Whitehorse and continuing north to Dawson City. The All-Land Route begins in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and heads northwest through Canada to the Pelly River and the Yukon River and then on to Dawson City.


Fewer than 3,000 took the all-water “rich man’s route” from Seattle to Saint Michael in Alaska, then up the Yukon to Dawson. It cost more than most stampeders could pay. Nearly 2,000 tried a difficult, all-land route from Edmonton. The handful who made it to Dawson took nearly two years, arriving after the rush was over. Numbers (1 to 4) on the map match numbered sections about the major routes taken to Dawson and the gold fields (5). Most stampeders chose Chilkoot Pass or White Pass, and then floated down the Yukon.

↑ back to top

TEXT: Section 1. Seattle & Beyond

The steamship Excelsior offloaded miners heavy with gold at San Francisco on the evening of July 14, 1897. The Portland docked at Seattle the morning of July 17, preceded by a reporter on a tugboat touting “more than a ton of solid gold on board.” (In fact it was over two tons.) Among these first Klondikers were former Seattle YMCA Secretary Tom Lippy and his wife Salome. They ventured north on Tom’s hunch in March 1896 just before the discovery. They brought back $80,000 dollars and would eventually take nearly $2 million dollars from the richest Klondike claim of all. The stampede was on, and all possible passage north to Alaska was booked.

The Klondike Gold Rush was well documented. Hopeful stampeders posed at painted backdrops in Seattle studios. Few realized what hardships awaited in interior Canada’s Yukon or on rugged trails leading to the gold fields.

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Posing for a Photo

DESCRIBING: A photo of a black and white photo in poor condition, depicting 4 men posing in front of a painted backdrop. 

SYNOPSIS: Picture shows a photograph with torn and curling edges, held in place at the top with a long horizontal clasp. There are 4 mustachioed men dressed in old fashioned clothing posing in a variety of positions in front of a backdrop of the outdoors.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: In the background of the photo are painted small evergreen trees and some rock face. In the foreground are 4 men. The first man on the left is sitting on something draped in a fur. He has a mustache and is wearing a light colored, brimmed hat with a band around it. He is wearing a light shirt and dark vest with a jacket over his arm, his knees are bent and slightly apart, his hands are in his lap. The second man from the left is standing, he has a mustache and is wearing a rounded cap with no brim, a dark vest and jacket. The thumbs of each hand are hooked in the armpits of his vest and one leg is slightly bent at the knee. The third man from the left is standing he has a mustache and is wearing a dark, rounded hat with a short brim, a dark vest and jacket, the fingers of his hands are in the front pockets of his trousers. The fourth man is laying leisurely at the feet of the others. He has a mustache and is wearing a dark, brimmed hat, a dark vest and jacket. He is on his side propped on his elbow, his other arm at his side with his hand resting in front of his hip. His legs are straight and crossed at the ankles. Under him is a fur. 


The Klondike Gold Rush was well documented. Hopeful stampeders posed at painted backdrops in Seattle studios. Few realized what hardships awaited in interior Canada’s Yukon or on rugged trails leading to the gold fields.

CREDIT: Provincial Archives of Alberta

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Ton of Goods

DESCRIBING: A horizontal image with an illustration of a man plus dozens of individually illustrated items, stacked neatly, and organized into six columns of irregular widths, sort of like a ledger, to show what a stampeder might need when looking for gold. It appears like an illustrated list of items to buy at a general store.

SYNOPSIS: The image is made up of six columns of items, or goods as they are called here. They are illustrated in a realistic style. All are shaded with sepia tones, mixes of light browns. From the left to right, there are items shown on a sled including sacks of food, a rifle, a pickaxe, a gun, and blankets. The sled makes up the first column, which is much wider than the rest and about half as tall. The other columns are all about the same width and height. Everything but the tools in that first column are tied to the sled with rope. Those tools are arranged above the sled, so the viewer of this illustration can better see the items included in this collection. The illustrations of the rest of the items are organized in a similar fashion, all laid out individually. The sixth column of the illustration has only a man standing in it, dressed for prospecting.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: From left to right, top to bottom, here is the list of items in each column: 

Column 1: What appears to be a small piece of paper, a long rifle, a shovel, and a pickaxe, above the thin sled, which has the following tied to it on top: three sacks of flour, a box with writing too blurred to make out, a blanket and pillow, and a bundle of fabric that seems like a tent. 

Column 2: A teacup and saucer, a knife, a skillet, fork, spoon, knife, pick, eight nails, an axe, a compass, a drill, and two drill bits, a hammer and seven sacks of flour. 

Column 3: What looks like a piece of paper, a gold pan, a long saw (this spans into column 4), three items of food in a can, and five items of food in boxes; it is hard to read all, except the largest, which reads "Butter," and seven sacks of sugar. 

Column 4: A hand saw, the other part of the long saw from column 3, a box that reads "Bacon," a box that reads "Salt," a box that reads "Queen Oats," a cup, two unlabeled boxes, and a box labeled "Crackers and Cakes." 

Column 5: An item that looks like a walking stick, gloves, a hat, thin socks, thick socks, a button-up jacket, a button-up shirt, folded, trousers, half-folded, and shiny black boots.

Column 6: A person appearing to be a man, because of the thick build and facial hair, looks directly at the illustration's viewer. He is wearing a wide-brimmed dark hat. He has an upturned head, tilted slightly to his right, and a closed mouth. He has a dark mustache. He is wearing a dark, collared, button-up shirt and trousers held up with light-colored suspenders. The trousers are tucked into knee high boots and laced up to the knee. This person is holding a hammer with his right hand at his waist and has his left hand resting on his waist, with his thumb tucked into his pant pocket.

CAPTION: The ton of goods (shown here) gives a physical sense of a stampeder’s life and diet. Considered essential were 350 pounds of flour, 150 of bacon, and 100 each of beans and sugar. Outfits cost $250 to $500.

CREDIT: NPS / John Dawson

↑ back to top

TEXT: Section 2. Dyea & The Chilkoot Trail

The title for this text is labeled with a number 2 in a small green circle, and the title "Dyea and The Chilkoot Trail" is in the same green.

Before the gold rush the Tlingit Nation controlled the strategic Chilkoot Pass trade route over the coast mountains to interior First Nation peoples’ lands. The 33 mile Chilkoot Trail links tidewater Alaska to the Yukon River’s Canadian headwaters and a navigable route to the Klondike gold fields. Over 30,000 gold seekers toiled up its Golden Stairs, a hellish quarter mile climb gaining 1,000 vertical feet, the last obstacle of the Chilkoot.

Most scaled the pass 20 to 40 times, shuttling their required ton of goods a year’s supply north to the border for North West Mounted Police approval to enter Canada. No exact international boundary had been set, but Canada’s regulation prevented starvation in the interior and protected its claim to all lands north of the passes. Conservationist John Muir was studying southeast Alaska glaciers when the stampede hit. Gold rush Dyea and Skagway “looked like anthills someone stirred with a stick,” Muir wrote.

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Golden Stairs

DESCRIBING: A cut out of a historic image in a portion of the brochure that has images and text collaged very close to each other. The image described here is placed diagonally from the bottom left corner to the top right corner of the crop.

SYNOPSIS: Eight figures carrying large backpacks appear to be hiking in a line upwards on a steep slope. The image treatment uses green overlay (looks like it would be a black and white image, but all tones are green). The way this image has been cropped shows all individuals, who appear to be men, hiking alongside a rope hung waist height to their right. The background and the ground have been removed from the image so only the subjects are seen.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: All individuals are wearing long trousers, hats and coats. From the bottom left, the first person is obscured and faded behind the text of section 3. The next person is the only one in just a long sleeved shirt and also the only one leaning into the sloped ground with their left hand on the ground and their right on the rope guide. The third person climbs behind the only visible post that is holding up the guide rope. The next four people are using a staff, or walking stick.

The fourth person in line is leaning on their staff, looking down at the ground. The fifth person leans into their walking stick with their left hand and rests their right hand on their right knee, looking ahead to the people in front of them. The sixth leans into their staff with the left hand and holds to the guide rope with their right hand, looking down at the ground. The seventh person is the only person with a slightly larger backpack, and they are turned slightly to the right looking in that direction. This person has their left hand on their staff and their right hand holds the guide rope. The eighth and last person is only half visible and blurred guiding our view off the page.

CAPTION: The Chilkoot Trail’s fabled Golden Stairs humbled argonauts intent on the summit. This vivid image, an endless line of prospectors toting enormous loads like worker ants, became the Klondike Gold Rush icon. It took three months and 20 to 40 trips to carry their ton of goods over the pass.

CREDIT: University of Washington Libraries

RELATED TEXT: This image and caption are to the right of section 2, "Dyea and The Chilkoot Trail."

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Chiefs

DESCRIBING: Black-and-white photographs of two people, side by side, Chiefs Doniwak (left) and Isaac of the Tlingit.

SYNOPSIS: Chief Doniwak stands in the background and to the left of Chief Isaac of the Tlingit, who is seated in a wooden chair. Both have a neutral expression and are looking directly at the viewer of the image. Doniwak is standing with his hands on his hips. He is wearing a formal and broad brimmed hat, a suit with tie and a long overcoat that hangs past his knees, long pants, and shoes. Isaac of the Tlingit is seated on a chair with his hands in his lap, with both of them holding a cane that is propped up on the floor and held between his legs. His elderly appearance and the cane indicates that Isaac of the Tlingit might have trouble with mobility without the cane. He is wearing a cap with a short bill, a button-up cape that hangs over his shoulders and is buttoned only at the top, long pants, and high boots.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The two images appear to be from photographs, but it is unknown if both individuals posed for the same photograph or if an editor cut the image of each individual out of separate photographs and pasted them together. Either way, an editor appears to have erased the background of the images, so that the background is white and all that remains to be seen are the two individuals, their clothing, a chair, and a cane. 


Chiefs Doniwak (left) and Isaac of the Tlingit were pivotal in transmountain packing and trading as gold prospecting increased in Canada’s interior. As the Klondike stampede intensified, demand for Native packers exceeded supply. Pack horses, aerial tramways, and other schemes would soon reduce the Tlingit’s packing business.

CREDIT: Alaska State Library

↑ back to top

TEXT: Section 3. Skagway & White Pass

A better port than Dyea, Skagway was the “Gateway to the Klondike.” Wild, it had something for all. Confidence artists and thieves, led by Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith, and greedy merchants lightened the unwary stampeder’s load. Up-to-date Skagway had electric lights and telephones. It boasted 80 saloons, three breweries, many brothels, and other service or supply businesses.

The White Pass Trail was 10 miles longer but its summit less steep and 600 feet lower than the Chilkoot Trail. Two months’ overuse destroyed it. Its second life began as British investors started to build the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad in May 1898. Rails reached the White Pass summit in February 1899, Bennett Lake in July 1899, and Whitehorse in July 1900. With the railroad open, development at Dyea and along the trails ceased. But by then the rush was over.

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Women and Children

DESCRIBING: A small black and white photograph of 4 people dressed in old fashioned outerwear standing in knee high water.

SYNOPSIS: Four people stand in knee high water. They are dressed in what appears to be old-fashioned clothing. They appear to be wearing boots of some sort. The person to the left seems to be holding a small bag. The person farther to the right appears to be holding the fourth person on their back.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Four people stand in calm knee-high water. The water appears to be somewhat murky. They appear to all be women. They are in the foreground of the photo, with the background being a sandy, rocky terrain and trees taking up the back of the photo up to the skyline. There is some object seemingly on the shoreline, but it’s unable to be made out. Of the four people, the woman farthest to the right is wearing a hat and holding the fourth woman on her back. All four women are dressed in dark, almost black old-fashioned clothing with what appears to be poncho styled overcoats, and some form of boot that ends at about the knee. The woman to the left holds a cylindrical looking bag no bigger than a loaf of bread that is dark in color, with the highlights of the photograph hitting the top left of the bag.

CAPTION: Women and a few children joined the stampede. Many women who went north were spouses, mining partners, or business owners. Some prostitutes, styled as “actresses,” went north to ply their trade.

CREDIT: University of Washington Libraries 

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: White Pass Trail

DESCRIBING: A square black and white image.

SYNOPSIS: The image shows a graphic scene, trigger warning - a dead animal. The image is tinted blue and cropped to focus on a dead horse slumped over a tree stump. The horse appears to be white, or light in color, with its shoulders and neck resting on the top of a thick tree stump. The horses limp neck and head are draped over the stump, almost turning towards the rear of the horse. The horse had a mane and tail slightly darker in color perhaps because they are dirty from apparent mud. The horse also has spots of mud over its body. The surrounding area is hard to make out exactly, but looks to be debris leftover from a snowmelt, mixing in with mud to make a mushy looking ground.

CAPTION: Falsely dubbed “all weather,” the White Pass Trail boulder fields, sharp rocks, and bogs earned the name Dead Horse Trail. Over the 1897–1898 winter 3,000 horses died on it “like mosquitoes in the first frost,” Jack London wrote.

CREDIT: University of Washington Libraries

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Beans, bacon and bread

DESCRIBING: Black and white photo of two men kneeling down.

SYNOPSIS: Two individuals are shown kneeling, the person to the left on some logs, and the person to the right on the ground. Both are holding buckets, and the person on the left holding a spoon. There is a round loaf of bread the same shape as the bucket laying on the ground in front of the person on the right.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Two individuals pictured. They appear to be men. The man on the left is holding a bucket by the handle, and a spoon. He is kneeling on some logs. He is dressed in a mid-toned long sleeve shirt, lighter vest, lighter pants, and socks. He is also wearing a light gray hat that is circular on his head with a flat brim around the bottom. He is facing towards the left, with the right side of his body facing the camera. He is looking towards the man to his left. The man on the right is kneeling on the ground on his left knee. This man is clothed similarly to the person on the left only with darker shades of pants and shirt, and no vest. He wears a hat similar to the man on the left as well, except darker. He is holding a bucket in his left hand. A round, almost circular loaf of bread sits on the ground in front of his left knee.

CAPTION: Diets of beans, bacon, and bread (see big round loaf,) lacking vitamin C from fresh produce, made scurvy all too common.

CREDIT: National Archives of Canada


↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Customs Canada Stamp

DESCRIBING: Photo of stamp

SYNOPSIS: Oval blueish grayish stamp hailing from Canada. The stamp is tilted to one side. The stamp is ink, and therefore various parts are blotchy or missing. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Blueish grayish stamp that is oval and slanted to the right. Scalloped edges surround the perimeter. The scallops are shaped like half eggs. Along the inside of the top curve reads “Customs Canada” with a royal crown in between the two words. In the center of the oval reads “MAR 22 1898.’ Along the bottom curve reads “White Pass.” Parts of the stamp are blotchy, due to it being an ink stamp.  

CREDIT: National Archives of Canada

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Official Entry into Canada

DESCRIBING: A black and white photo of 4 people standing around a flag on a pole, outside a building in deep snow. 

SYNOPSIS: A black and white photo with the roof of a building in the background and 4 Canadian Mounties around a flag on a pole, standing on deep snow that is as high as the roof they are standing in front of. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This is a photo with a rippled or corrugated metal roof surrounded by snow in the background. Some glass panes in the building are slightly visible under the roof where there is less snow. In the foreground standing on the snow at roof level are four men and a flag pole with a flag. The flag is limp and is an early representation of the Canadian government. The men are standing and looking at the camera. The man on the left is wearing a wide brimmed hat that signifies the Canadian Mounties, a thick coat with a high collar and fully buttoned, a bag buckled around his waist on the outside of the coat, long, dark pants that are tucked into boots that stop mid calf. The second man from left has a slight smile with his lips closed, he is wearing the same hat as the first man and a dark uniform jacket with a short collar and dark trousers with a stripe down the side, they are tucked into boots that stop mid calf. He is standing with his left hand gripping the flag pole, the other hand is in front of him with the thumb hooked between the closed buttons of his jacket, one knee is bent and his feet are crossed at the ankle. The third man from left is dressed similarly, but he has gloves that pass his wrists and knee high boots. His right hand is on the flag pole and his left is at his hip and it is holding a long stick-like object with its tip resting on the ground in front of him. The fourth man is dressed in the same uniform. His pant cuffs are not tucked into boots but fall to the snow. His hands are behind his back and his feet are together. Behind the man on the right, is an over turned wooden sled with metal rails on the bottom and two connected ropes hanging off the side.


At the Chilkoot and White Pass summits, Canada’s Mounties gave properly outfitted stampeders official entry into Canada. “It didn’t matter which one you took,” said a stampeder who had traveled both trails, “you’d wished you had taken the other.”

CREDIT: Glengow Archives, Calgary, Alberta

↑ back to top

TEXT: Section 4. Yukon via Bennett Lake

The title for this text is labeled with a number 4 in a small yellow circle, and the title "Yukon via Bennett Lake" is in the same yellow color. The text is justified to the left, taking up half the width of the brochure. The other half of the brochure to the right of the text contains a collage of historical photographs.

It took three months just to cross the mountains to the interior. Then most of the 30,000 stampeders sat out the 1897–1898 winter in tents by frozen lakes Lindeman, Bennett, or Tagish, still 550 miles from the gold fields. They built 7,124 boats from whipsawn green lumber and waited for lake ice to melt. Finally, on May 29, 1898, the motley flotilla set out. In the next few days five men died, and raging rapids near Whitehorse crushed 150 boats. After the rapids it was a long, relatively easy trip, but bugs and 22 hour sunlit days drove boaters nearly mad. Near Dawson some feuding parties split up—cutting in half even their boats and frypans. Then, finally, Dawson City!

Whipsawing trees into planks, stampeders built boats or rafts—and then waited for a long Arctic winter to end. A hundred miles of lakes led into the Yukon River, where canyon rapids soon gave way to smooth water beyond Whitehorse.

↑ back to top

LEFT IMAGE: Building

DESCRIBING:  A small sepia-toned photograph.


This photo is of a building site in a mountain setting.  The mountains in the background are fading into the distance.  They are smooth, rounded, and covered with snow.  They don't appear to have trees on them.  

A body of water is visible on the left edge in the middle of the photo.  The center of the image is a large white structure that may be a tent with canvas walls.  To the right of it is a row of evergreen trees.  There are two people on horses immediately in front of the tent.  There is a row of upside down boats in front of the row of trees.  

On the left of the photo below the water body is a man working on a large, upturned boat.  To the right of this boat is the wooden frame of a boat under construction.  To the right of this is a group of three men facing the camera.  Right of them are several wooden planks.

At this point, the image is covered on its right and bottom edge by the middle image of the photo collage. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: [The rest of the description, if needed]

CAPTION:  Whipsawing trees into planks, stampeders built boats or rafts—and then waited for a long Arctic winter to end.

CREDIT: National Archives of Canada


4.  Yukon via Bennett Lake

It took three months just to cross the mountains to the interior. Then most of the 30,000 stampeders sat out the 1897–1898 winter in tents by frozen lakes Lindeman, Bennett, or Tagish—still 550 miles from the gold fields. They built 7,124 boats from whipsawn green lumber and waited for lake ice to melt.  Finally, on May 29, 1898, the motley flotilla set out. In the next few days five men died, and raging rapids near Whitehorse crushed 150 boats. After the rapids it was a long, relatively easy trip, but bugs and 22 hour sunlit days drove boaters nearly mad. Near Dawson some feuding parties split up—cutting in half even their boats and frypans. Then, finally, Dawson City!

↑ back to top

MIDDLE IMAGE: Whipsawing

DESCRIBING: A horizontal and sepia-toned photograph showing, from a great distance, a group of men whipsawing lumber. Because the photo was taken from far away, the details are difficult to ascertain.

SYNOPSIS: A makeshift scaffold has been built out of logs, looking like a giant table frame but with an additional leg brace splayed out from each of the platform's corners, ensuring the structure's stability. Two men are on top of the scaffold, and two men are below it, but only a pair, one above and one below are holding onto a whipsaw, starting to cut a log together. The other man on top of the scaffolding platform is hunched over, looking down at something, and the man below the platform is looking off into the distance. The focus of the photo is on the broad action of people cutting the log with the whipsaw. The men are indistinguishable at this distance, all dressed in similar long-sleeved shirts, with long pants, and hats. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The platform for this table-like structure is roughly 7 feet off the ground, based on the height of the man underneath it and the space between his head and the bottom of the platform. The structure looks like a simple log table, with four main legs and four support beams, but there also are a few much-longer logs hanging off each end of the table, waiting to be cut to size by the men. The two men engaged in doing the whipsawing at this moment are roughly above and below each other, with the log they are cutting set up on the platform for the saw to work and the cut logs to fall off each edge once done. The men doing the cutting both have their hands on a saw handle, about shoulder height, with the saw blade positioned to cut into the log. The blade is nearly perpendicular to the log, and one can envision from this positioning that the person on top would push the saw blade down from the shoulders to about his knees, which would drop the blade's height for the man below at about the same levels, from shoulder to knees, and they would in a coordinated motion whip the saw up and down in synchronicity until the cut was complete. 

CAPTION: Whipsawing trees into planks, stampeders built boats or rafts — and then waited for a long Arctic winter to end.

CREDIT: University of Washington Libraries.

↑ back to top

RIGHT IMAGE: A Hundred Miles of Lakes

DESCRIBING: A square crop of a collage with historic images with the caption on the top left of the image.

SYNOPSIS: This sepia toned (brown and white) image is not very sharp, but the environment and silhouettes of people on a river are able to be seen. The image is only a portion of a roaring river, waves splashing from the current into the raft about eight people are maneuvering. The people are all holding what seem to be oars and are standing in a way that makes it appear like they are fighting the strength of the river. The river bed is lined with thin, tall pine trees making a dense forest.

CAPTION:  A hundred miles of lakes led into the Yukon River, where canyon rapids soon gave way to smooth water beyond Whitehorse.


↑ back to top

TEXT: Section 5. Dawson City & the Gold Fields

Before the gold rush a few Han First Nations people camped on the small island where the Yukon and Klondike rivers join. Prospecting in the area George Washington Carmack, Keish (“Skookum Jim” Mason), and Kaa Goox (Dawson Charlie) struck gold on August 16, 1896, on Rabbit (later re-named Bonanza) Creek. On August 17 they filed claims in Fortymile, the nearest town, 50 miles downriver. This sparked the first stampede as prospectors already in the interior got the news via the informal bush communication network. Former Fortymile trader and grubstaker Joseph Ladue shrewdly platted Dawson City and made a fortune selling lots.

Dawson City boomed. Soon it was Canada’s largest city west of Winnipeg and north of Vancouver, its population 30,000 to 40,000. It stretched for two miles by the Yukon, bulging with goldseekers. Anything desired could be had for a price: one fresh egg 5 dollars, one onion 2 dollars, whiskey 40 dollars per gallon. However, most stampeders did not reach Dawson City until late June 1898, nearly two years after the big discovery, and prospectors already in the region had long since staked claim to the known gold fields. Many disillusioned stampeders simply sold their gear and supplies for steamboat fare to the outside, their visions of wealth washed away. Canadian historian Pierre Berton writes that many stampeders arrived in Dawson City and simply wandered about, utterly disoriented by its frantic activity, not bothering to prospect at all. Played out over such vast space and time, the adventure itself seems to have been, for many people, the biggest attraction of the Klondike Gold Rush. Mining was another story.

To get through the perennially frozen soil called perma frost, miners built fires to melt a shaft down to where the gold lay. Two men digging like this for a winter used 30 cords of firewood that they had to cut themselves (until the stampeder’s large labor pool arrived). Miners dug shafts down to the gold just above bedrock, deep below the layers of frozen muck and gravel. At bedrock, they tunneled out, “drifting,” as it was called, along the gold bearing gravels of the old stream course. Dirt and gold-bearing gravel, called “pay gravel,” were hoisted out of the hole and piled separately for sluicing (washing away the dirt and gravel) in spring and summer, once sunlight thawed the dumps and streams. Reporting from right on the scene, journalist Tappan Adney wrote that considering the cost of reaching the country and the cost of working the mines “The Klondike is not a poor man’s country.”

↑ back to top

COLLAGE: Gold Pan, and Selling to Miners

DESCRIBING: A small black and white photo and a single image with text to the left and above both images.

SYNOPSIS:  A postcard sized black and white photo of a woman and 3 men standing in front of a wood paneled building. The man standing at the door has on a white apron. The woman on the far left, has a floor length dress, with her hand on her hip. The man next her with a cap, holds his hands behind his back. The two other men, both with different hats have their hands in their pockets. On the building just above the door a sign: Waffles and Coffee 25 cents. To the right another sign: open day and night. The building appears to have some sort of overhang to the far left and on the far right a clothesline hangs with clothing and a pair of boots just above the heads of the men on the right. 

This photo overlaps the edge of a scuffed-up gold mining pan, slightly tilted, about 18 inches in a circular shape, appearing to be 2 to 3 inches deep with nuggets of gold in the bottom quarter of the pan. 


In Dawson City and Seattle more fortunes were made off miners than by mining. By 1906 Klondike gold exceeded 108 million dollars at 16 dollars per ounce.

CREDIT: Canadian Museum of Civilization

↑ back to top

IMAGE and TEXT: Miners in a Tunnel

DESCRIBING: A black and white photo. 

SYNOPSIS: This is a comparison photo of what minors actually endured versus, stampeders posing in a Seattle studio in the picture above. (Referenced in text).

9 people posing for a photo, 5 holding candles, all huddled and seated on the floor of a mine. The ceiling of the mine just above their heads. Two of the minors appear to be male children. All the minors have various styles of hats. The photo offers the appearance of the minors being tucked in the corner of the mine with their feet resting on a mound of rock that has splashes of an element running through it.


The miners are dressed in dark clothing. Long sleeve shirts and durable pants. Some men are wearing hats.  The two individuals that are children have their faces blurred. The boy on the far right has some debris around his knees as if he was standing on his knees at some point. 


Compare real miners in a Klondike drifting tunnel (right) to stampeders posing in a Seattle studio (shown above). The photos reflect the same gold rush, one as a romantic notion, one as the harsh reality, the last grand adventure of its kind that the world will ever know.”

CREDIT: University of Washington Libraries

↑ back to top

By using this site, you agree to follow our Terms, Conditions, License, Privacy Policy, and Research Protocols.