Trail #1 - Klondike Goldfields, Km. 17

Grand Forks (Bonanza Creek Road)

Photo from Grand Forks (Bonanza Creek Road)

Grand Forks

Grand Forks was the second-largest settlement in the Klondike and the only community besides Dawson to have its own municipal government. First settled about 1896, Grand Forks sprang up quickly and haphazardly.

By 1899, the town had a main street with electric lights and a growing population. The community, one day's travel from Dawson via the Ridge Road, was officially known as Bonanza, but was usually referred to as Grand Forks. It had branches of Dawson City stores plus dozens of local businesses – everything from a public bath to a dentist. By 1902, mechanized mining and larger work crews helped the town flourish. However, the coming of the dredges and the amalgamation of large blocks of claims on Bonanza and Hunker soon after, eliminated individual operations and miners, causing the town to lose its reason for being.

The community's prime location between Discovery Claim on Bonanza and the mouth of Eldorado also meant that it would eventually be mined. The townsite was eventually destroyed although a few structures are still visible today.

Klondike Mines Railway

The Klondike Mines Railway was a narrow-gauge line about 30 miles long that ran from Dawson City through Grand Forks to Sulphur Springs, near King Solomon Dome. The project was plagued with problems from its inception, delaying construction until 1903. By the time the railway was complete, three years later, the advent of dredging operations had eliminated most of the individual mining operations and the long-anticipated motherlode, with its associated hard-rock mining, was nowhere in sight. The railway was mainly employed in hauling wood for the dredges and stopped running altogether by 1914. Some of the locomotives are on display at the Dawson City Museum.

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