Pioneer Spirit

“GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!” shouted the headline of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper on July 17, 1897. The Klondike Stampede had ignited in the Yukon and roughly half of the 70,000 gold-seekers stocked up in Seattle before heading north.

Seattle businesses prospered in the scramble for beans and supplies, which cost each miner about $600 (the equivalent of $20,000 today). When the gold dust finally settled in 1899, only 300 stampeders had struck it rich, but the mania left an indelible mark on Seattle.

Rediscover the city’s prospecting roots at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (*319 Second Ave S; nps.gov/klse) in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. The free “park” is actually a brick Victorian-Italianate building featuring interactive exhibits about the gold rush and those seeking fortune. Read journals from real stampeders, see examples of a miner’s supplies, and watch special  performances of Klondike: The Last Adventure, a tale of a young woman who joins the stampede.

Dive deeper into the pioneer spirit with tours exploring subterranean Seattle—the areas entombed when the city rebuilt and the street levels were raised after the Great Fire of 1889. Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour (*614 First Ave; undergroundtour.com) and Beneath the Streets (*102 Cherry St; beneath-the-streets.com) are two quintessential experiences with guided walks in the underground passageways.

Finally, shop like a stampeder at E. Smith Mercantile (208 First Ave S; esmithmercantile.com), which sells pioneer-inspired goods like woolen hats and beeswax beard conditioner. Or go to the original source at Filson (*1741 First Ave S; filson.com), which outfitted gold rushers in 1897 and continues to craft coats with Mackinaw wool.

*Visit Seattle Partner

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