Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12, 2015 at 08:38PM by advodna_dave

What was originally mistaken for green grass on a high hillside turned out to be one of the largest copper strikes of all time. Some of the ore initially tested from the site showed up to a 70% concentration of the precious element, enough to justify the building of a railroad almost 200 miles across formidable terrain (including a bridge that cost over a million dollars in the early 1900's!) from Kennicott to the coast at Cordova where it could be shipped south for processing. That rail line is now the McCarthy road we drove in on. After 27 years of incredibly profitable mining began to yield lower and lower grade ore, one day in 1938, the 500 workers living in the company town of Kennecott below the mines were given 24 hours notice to pack up what they could and vacate. While early homesteaders in the McCarthy area helped themselves to many of the valuables including building materials like windows and roofing, for many years one could walk through the abandoned buildings of the town and find papers on the desks and food staples on the shelves just as they'd been left. Today, we took a great tour through the town and into the 14 story mill where the ore was processed. #Kennicott #Kennecott #wrangellstelias #copper #mining #ghosttown #airstreamtoalaska