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Hard Drive To The Klondike: Promoting Seattle During The Gold Rush

by Lisa Mighetto And Marcia Babcock Montgomery

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In 1896 gold was discovered in British Columbia on Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River. Newspapers trumpeted the discovery around the world. People from far and wide heeded this call and planned expeditions to the icy fields of the far north. Business owners in Seattle and elsewhere recognized gold's discovery as an opportunity to profit from the hordes of wide-eyed miners heading north. They hoped to supply erstwhile miners with the myriad goods and services they required--food, clothing, medicine, tools, machinery, boats, and pack animals.

However, Seattle wasnít alone in recognizing this economic opportunity and competed with San Francisco, Portland, Tacoma, and Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, to become outfitters for Klondike-bound miners. Seattle businessmen organized to win the miners' attention--and their ready cash--which would ensure that Seattle grew into an influential West Coast city.

Historian Lisa Mighetto captures the unique character of Seattle at the turn of the 19th century. Her engaging prose illuminates this in-depth study of the economics and culture of the time. Mighetto incorporates important background history of Seattle and its settlement and growth prior to the gold rush. Her storytelling skills capture the character of this robust city and its fragile class structure, a mixture of dry goods empires, saw mill kings, politicians, stalwart citizens, and the occasional ne'er-do-well.

Mighetto has gathered newspaper advertisements designed to attract the neophyte miners. An outstanding selection of historical photos and an array of informational graphics detail Seattleís growth as an important trade and business center.



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