Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Klondike Gold Rush

The "Gold Rush Fever - A Story of the Klondike, 1898" by Barbara Greenwood is a fictional story about a boy named Tim and his brother Roy trying to strike it rich in the Klondike.

These are the interesting things I learned about the Gold Rush:

- Only a very small percentage of the prospectors actually made it to Dawson, because the journey to Yukon was very dangerous. You had to go through the Chilkoot Pass where the "Golden Stairs" were. (See photo above.) They had to carry one-year's supplies on their backs up sheer ice stairs!

- Bonanza Creek in the Yukon was actually called Rabbit Creek. It was renamed "Bonanza!" after a large amount of gold was found there, first discovered by George Carmack, his wife Kate, and her brothers, Skookum Jim Keish and Tagish Charley.

- Dawson was a quiet town that was transformed into a buzzling city because of the gold rush. But the town was very rundown. A smart businesswoman named Belinda Mulrooney became famous for opening up the Fairview Hotel where she provided prospectors with food and comfortable beds, in return for their gold dust.

Did you know:
  • storekeepers could make a fortune by sweeping the floor covered by stray gold dust that careless prospectors scattered?
  • crafty storekeepers wanting to cheat their customers would grow their fingernails out or wet their fingers before dipping their hand into a prospector's "poke" (small leather bag for keeping gold dust) so extra gold dust would stick to their fingers?
This is a very cool and educational website with historical photos of the Klondike Gold Rush. Check it out and have fun!

I also read "The Cremation of Sam McGee" and "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" by Robert W. Service. They're two famous dramatic ballads that give you an idea of the crazy conditions during the gold rush.

1 comment:

  1. We did like your poem recital. Well done.
    Must have been a scary time to live in
    Love Nanny & Papa