41 Photos - Jul 8, 2013
Photo: "Kennecott, also known as Kennecott Mines is an abandoned mining camp in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska that was the center of activity for several copper mines."Photo: "It is located beside the Kennicott Glacier, northeast of Valdez, inside Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The camp and mines are now a National Historic Landmark District administered by the National Park Service. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986."Photo: "In August 1900, two prospectors spotted a green patch of hillside that looked like good grazing for their pack horses. The green turned out to be part of a mountain of copper ore."Photo: "They, together with nine friends, formed the Chitina Mining and Exploration Company. Shortly after this time, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist found a sample of ore that analyzed as containing 70% copper as well as silver and traces of gold."Photo: "In 1903, additional financing for the mining came from the Guggenheim family and J.P. Morgan, who formed the Kennecott Copper Corporation in 1903. The corporation and company town were named after Kennicott Glacier in the valley below, which was named after Robert Kennicott, a naturalist who explored in Alaska in the mid-1800s."Photo: "Stephen Birch, a mining engineer just out of school, was in Valdez when members of the Chitina Mining and Exploration." Company arrived in the fall of 1900. B.Photo: "Birch, who knew wealthy people in the northeastern United States, bought the prospectors' interest in the mine for $275,000. Within twenty years, the find proved to be the richest known concentration of copper in the world."Photo: "On April 8, 1911, the first ore train hauled $250,000 of 70% copper ore. In 1916, the peak year for production, the mines produced copper ore valued at $32.4 million.  In 1925 a Kennecott geologist predicted that the end of the high-grade ore bodies was in sight. The highest grades of ore were largely depleted by the early 1930s. The Glacier Mine closed in 1929. The Mother Lode was next, closing at the end of July 1938. The final three, Erie, Jumbo and Bonanza, closed that September."Photo: "The last train left Kennecott on November 10, 1938, leaving it a ghost town. In the 27 years of operation, except for 2½ years of shutdown, Kennecott produced 4.625 million tons of ore averaging 13 per cent copper valued at roughly $207,000,000 with an estimated profit of $100,000,000. In addition, the silver by-product from this operation brought in another 4½ to 9 million dollars in revenues."Photo: "The Kennecott hospital (left) stood out as the town's only white-washed building. The vast majority of other town structures, including workers' bunkhouses (right), were painted red, the least expensive color at the time. The Kennecott hospital was also the site of the first x-ray machine in Alaska."Photo: so much crap left behind!Photo: We met some park tangers who were going to close this windo so people do not go into the building that they are going to let go. We got the last peak in!Photo: We are inside the leaching plant where they would take out the copper with chemicals. huge operationPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: reminds me of a brewery :)Photo: Huge power plant to supply electricity, they would not be able to mill the ore without this.Photo: the power plant did go in flames eventually but they spent 1.5 million to restore it to keep on mining.Photo: meat lockerPhoto: old $ vaultPhoto: this is what they were mining for, copper. rocks with a high % of it were pretty heavy; amazing how heavy it is.Photo: then we did a 2 mile hike to Root Glacier.Photo: got to walk up to it. no crampons and we did not go on a guided tour so we just got on it for a few seconds. ice is slippery!Photo: Lots of cotton here. rainy dayPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: we made it to the ice but did not get far on the slippery ice w/o cleats. we did not do the glacier tour as it started at 830amPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: a tunnel that people use to go through collapsed just yesterday.Photo: close upPhoto: Photo: view of the glacier from town about 7 miles outPhoto: kennecott is on the right those small buildings out there. it cost $10 to take the shuttle up there. not a bad deal!