Juneau Alaska

Learn how Juneau Alaska came about because of a gold strike, how it got its name, and how it became the capital of Alaska.

Juneau AlaskaA modern look

The Taku and Auke tribes fished the Gastineau Channel location and area surrounding what is now Juneau.

While there isn't much known about the origin of the name Gastineau, history reveals an English civil engineer and surveyor named John Gastineau.

Gold is Discovered

juneau alaska 18871887 on the banks of Gastineau Channel

In 1880, two men, Richard Harris and Joe Juneau, left Sitka, Alaska, by canoe to prospect for gold.

The two ended up at Snow Slide Gulch in the Gastineau Channel where they hit pay dirt in a stream later named Gold Creek. The two packed out 150 pounds of gold.

Returning later, the two set up a mining camp.

Soon, word got around, and a gold rush was on.

When news of the strike reached the United States, the U.S. Navy dispatched a steamship to the area. When it arrived in the channel, U.S. Lieutenant Commander Charles Rockwell and a small detachment went ashore.

Maintaining law and order in the gold rush town became the job of Rockwell and his men.

By 1881, the mining camp had grown into a rough town of around 100.


How the Town Got Its Name


Soon, they called the new settlement Rockwell, after the Lieutenant Commander.

Then, in an unofficial act, the name changed again. This time to Harrisburg after Richard Harris, who had been one of the two original prospectors to find gold in the area.

Later on, during a meeting of the miners, most agreed that the town needed an official name. They decided on the name Juneau for the other prospector, Joe Juneau, who had discovered gold along with his partner Richard Harris… No one knows why they chose Joe Juneau over Richard Harris.


Capital, Just Capital


After the purchase of Alaska from Russia, Sitka became the largest town, and the capital of Alaska.

By 1906, Juneau had become the largest city and the capital for the territory.

In 1950, Anchorage became the largest town in Alaska, however, Juneau remained the capital.


Did You Know?


Having Canada on its eastern border makes Juneau the only state capital in the United States with an international border.

The city of Juneau is larger in area than the state of Delaware.

On April 1st, 2016 (note the date), Juneau became known as “Uno” after the famous card game.

Following the April Fools' joke, Mattel, the owner of the card game, donated 15,000 dollars to the Juneau Community Foundation for the privilege of the marketing joke.


Weather


Juneau boasts not one, not two, but three climates.

The Humid Continental, Subarctic and Oceanic climates, all resulting in warm, moist weather.

The coldest temperature ever recorded was -22F in February 1968 and January 12, 1972.

The warmest temperature ever recorded was 90F on July 7, 1975.


JUNEAU WEATHER

Juneau Alaska Economy


While the discovery of gold was what got things started, a flood in 1915 brought an end to mining in the area.

Today's economy looks like this:

Being the capital of the state of Alaska brings a contribution to the local hotel, restaurant, and bar economies.

The local commercial fishing industry is still going strong.

And tourism, with plenty of cruise ships bringing people to Juneau in the summer months, keeps the area busy.


A Final Note:


As with many cities, towns, and villages in Alaska, Juneau has a rich history.

From the discovery of gold in the area, to becoming the capital of Alaska, the city of Juneau plays a big part in the history of the Great Land known as Alaska.



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Vivien


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