Independence Mine Buildings and Mine - Independence Mine State Park, AK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 61° 47.492 W 149° 16.934
6V E 379664 N 6853069
Quick Description: The buildings and structures that once were part of the Independence Mine operation are in various states of disrepair, but some have been preserved by the State of Alaska, and visitors can walk among them.
Location: Alaska, United States
Date Posted: 10/26/2010 1:32:23 PM
Waymark Code: WMA0GV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member QuesterMark
Views: 8

Long Description:
Near Hatcher Pass, within the Independence Mine State Historical Park is a collection of buildings in various states of 'disrepair.' Some have been preserved and even rebuilt. Some are sagging and partially caved in. Others are just piles of wood in place. And some areas have been rebuilt (and marked as such). This collection of structures was once the largest gold mine in Alaska.

Gold was discovered in the Willow Creek area of the Talkeetna Mountains by Robert Lee Hatcher in 1906. Other people found gold, but to be prosperous, claims had to be pooled together for more efficient operations. The Alaska Free Gold (Martin) Mine on Skyscraper Mountain, and Independence Mine on Granite Mountain were combined in 1938 as the Alaska-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company (APC). The highest production year was 1941, when 204 employees worked to extract 34,416 ounces of gold worth $1,204,560 (today $17,208,000). The mine ran until 1943, when the mine was shut down, for good, partly due to deeming gold mining unnecessary during World War II.

Since then, the building had been left to the weather. Many of the buildings and structures are now collapsed, while others have been stabilized or partially restored. One site indicates that the state of Alaska is not providing adequate funds to fully preserve the site and is looking for a private group to purchase it and develop it. What the state has done is create pavement and great historical interpretive signs throughout the site, so people can walk around, but stay safe.

The actual, old mine shaft is well above the mine complex. There is presently no public access to the mine shaft. Ore was once transported by aerial tramway to the mill complex. Worker access and entry to the shaft was through a series of stairs protected by a shed structure. In later years, there was a water tunnel, where a tunnel was bored where a stream flowed through the rocks. The following is a partial list of what is at the site:

Water tunnel portal - this structure still exists and has a rebuilt portion designed to give an idea of how the entrance looked, and there is an ore car in front.

Mine train - slightly downhill from the water tunnel is an example of a mine train that shuttled the ore out of the mine.

Mill complex/powerhouse - This jumble of buildings is where the rock ore was sorted, crushed and the gold separated. The buildings are in poor condition and the roofs in several locations were sagging. A remnant of the track is there, at points collapsed.

Sheet metal house - This is where fabrication and repairs of tools were done. This building is in poor condition, with the roof partially gone.

Bunkhouse, apartment house, mess hall, and Manager's House/Visitor Center - This is where the employees lived. There were - and still are - no major settlements in this area, so this served as the place where the employees lived. One can imagine how hard life was this high up in the mountains. These buildings have either been stabilized or partially restored. Some of these buildings are where the public can walk in and see.

As mentioned, interpretive signs are visible everywhere, starting with a set of signs right at the parking lot.

Sources:

Twentymile.com (Independence Mine State Historical Park):
(visit link)
Type: Ruin

Fee: No

Hours:
Any time (daylight hours). The park is staffed during the summer months.


Related URL: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
Original photographs showing additional views of the Ruin/Remnant or even just its current condition are encouraged. Please describe your visit, especially if no additional photos are available. Did you like the Ruin or Remnant? What prompted you to see the Ruin or Remnant?
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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AK-Jeff visited Independence Mine Buildings and Mine - Independence Mine State Park, AK 10/23/2010 AK-Jeff visited it
BruceS visited Independence Mine Buildings and Mine - Independence Mine State Park, AK 7/29/2010 BruceS visited it
chrissyml visited Independence Mine Buildings and Mine - Independence Mine State Park, AK 7/23/2009 chrissyml visited it

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