The rush to Atlin Lake as reported in the August 9, 1898 issue of the Daily Alaskan.
Few endeavors are as exciting still as the placer strikes of Alaska. However, while we may remember aspects such as location, the riches (or the busts), and the often perilous conditions strikers endured for the chance of a lifetime, smaller yet telling details are often overlooked.
This cheeky article in the Daily Alaskan gives perspective into just that – the business men looking to profit off the strikers by packing up loads of whisky and tobacco, or the man who can’t quite seem to decide whether to take a chance and keeps changing his coat throughout the day as he changes his mind.
“THE MAD RUSH IS NOW OVER.
Few Left To-Day Except Those Unable to Leave Before.
NO DEFINITE NEWS YET.
Beyond What Was Given Last Evening, Which Rumor Tends to Confirm and to Exaggerate.
Packer Feero showed the gold he had dug on Pine creek, Atlin lake, with some amount of pride this morning, and appologized for not thinking of it yesterday. That sounds very much like millionaire talk. He was buttonholed by a number of would be millionaires, whose names appeared among the entries for the race to Atlin in last evening’s issue, but who were unable to get away until to-day.
There has come in no news to-day, confirmatory or otherwise of the strike on Atlin lake, but the city is filled with rumors. The DAILY ALASKAN hoped to have a messenger out this afternoon, with reliable dcetails, but up to the time of going to press nothing had been heard from him.
The claim stakers may be said to have gone yesterday. This was business man’s day. The schemes for making money were exceedingly plentiful, but it seemed as if impossible to mention a single enterprise that somebody had not already started in with and believed he had a cinch on. So far as we can learn there were at least seven who each packed in a stock of general merchandise; one man took a supply of whiskey and two others knew they could buy whiskey at Log Cabin or Bennett and save the freight; three cooking stoves were sent out in the wee sma hours of this morning, and one man staked his fortune on one horse and one-hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco and cigars. Brother Watson is going to have a “pudding.” He will have his real estate shingle out by the time crowd gets there, and will sell corner lots as fast as he can make change. Brother Church has gone to, but he took in an empty coal oil can with him, with the ambition to scoot over new territory and fill it with nuggets without bothering to locate anywhere. He has read books on mining.
The mining fever has spread right to the end of the wharf, and agent Twitchell has caught it. This afternoon he was studying how to affix wings on to his bicycle, so that he might go in to the new diggings from Log Cabin.
Thomas Whitten put on a blue sweater and started for the mines this afternoon. He took his surveying instruments with him and has the townsite fever.
Edward Foreman struck the trail for Atlin this afternoon.
Dr. Bryant did not know exactly what to do today. He changed his opinion and his coat several times. Early in the morning he sported a mackinaw, and of course he was going to hit the trail. But a little later he was strutting around in a very elaborate smoking jacket, as an indication that he would not leave Mrs. Bryant for all the gold fields in the new mining district. In the afternoon he sported a light yachting coat, showing that his thoughts would a roving go, whether he would or no. An extra will be published this evening if Dr. Bryant’s further changes are sufficient to warrant it.
Harry Lane Meyers, the safe expert, was called into the First Bank of Skaguay a few days ago to change the combination. He did so and gave it to Cashier Bullen. The strike excitement crowded the combination out of Mr. Bullen’s head last night and this morning he had to send for Mr. Meyers to open the safe for him.
Mr Everest did not get away until nearly 4 o’clock this afternoon. He put the delay on his wife, sarcastically suggesting that she was not satisfied with the set of the evening dress in which she will make her debut in Taku society. It was, in fact, the large business Mr. Everest has been doing in outfitting that caused the delay. They started for Bennett on the famous grey horses, and from there will go by boat.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith also left this afternoon.
Boniface Brannick was complimented on Sunday, and deservingly so, one beine one of the best-dressed men in town. At four o’clock this morning he donned a blue flannel shirt. It destroyed his natty appearance, but it looked like business. Toward noon he restlessly kicked his heels in front of his famous hotel and began to sprout the grey hairs of worry. He could not make up his mind whether to be a blue-shirted prospector or a boiled-shirted hotel proprietor. He hated like Hoboken to miss the chance of going to the new diggings, but then– the next steamers up were sure to crowd his hotel. As we go to press he retired to a quiet corner to toss up. Then he mounted his mountain stage with Mr. Hverst, Mr. Whitten and others and went.”