Hirst-Chichagof Gold Mine

Located fifty miles from Sitka, the Hirst-Chichagof Gold Mine operated from 1920 to 1943 when it was closed during WWII due to lack of manpower and resources. During its brief operation, the Chichagof mine processed 35 tons of ore a day and supported a crew of 500.

In the summer of 1964, the year before my birth, my parents chartered an Alaska Coastal Ellis Airlines PBY Catalina for a sightseeing weekend trip around Southeast Alaska. One of the places they stopped was the abandoned Hirst-Chichagof Gold Mine, where they spent most of a day exploring the ruins and panning for gold. Only a little over a decade after the last caretaker had exited, the mine buildings were still pretty much intact, as you can see by the pictures.

The YouTube video Gold by the Sea : The Hirst-Chichagof Mining Co. is a wonderful 1975 film of the complete history of the mine.


Read about and see photos of Tenakee Springs Alaska.

For stories of growing up in the Far North, read Atlin Where Everyone Knows Your Dog’s Name.