By Gerry in Idaho
Yes this happened to me a few times in the early 70's. Mama found my porn stash under the bed and it was what set up my career. After all, I tell many I'm in the Adult Entertainment business selling high end toys.
These early magazines had me squeamish in bed a many sleepless nights. A boy my age was quite naive, so seeing such raw and natural images sent my brain into overload. I had no clue what the future would hold, but I feel it came out quite right.
View these 2 early magazines and you'll notice some of the articles and headlines. 1st is GOLD by True West, 1969 Vol. 1, #1 and looking at the inside page of the articles are authors mostly long gone. But I give credit to them for allowing me to dream. If anyone knows of these names, it would be neat to get updates.
2nd magazine porn I used to drool over, Old West 1971 and just as incredible is an article about "Elk City Idaho" and just below that....perfect timing. "One Thanksgiving Day". Folks, I can't make this up any better. I go to my old stash and grab a couple and these are absolute on. The inside cover (I forgot to check the centerfold) is a full page ad from Jetco and their top detectors 50 yrs ago. The models of the detectors are catchy like many muscle cars of the day, GTO, Mustang, GTX, Treasure Hawk...didn't Minelab have a Treasure Hawk?
So I ask you folks, show the rest of us your Treasure Porn that kept you dreamin, drooling and -master swinging.
The California Gold Rush certainly was in a far-off land for the Americans of the time, who had to trek long distances to get to their final destination. But the 49’ers had nothing on those brave adventurers who went to Nome, Alaska to seek their fortunes in 1899. Which brings us to the Nome Gold Rush.
While Nome, Alaska was owned by the United States at the time of the Nome Gold Rush, it might as well have been Mars, both in terms of getting there and in terms of surviving in the harsh and unforgiving climate. Despite the apocryphal quip often attributed to Mark Twain, that the worst winter he ever saw was June in San Francisco, there is simply no comparison between a miserable Northern California summer and any day of the week in Nome, Alaska.
Nome is not simply in Alaska, it is in a more northern part of the state. It is more than 60 degrees north of the equator (64°30′14″N to be exact), which puts it about 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle. It wasn’t the only gold rush in Alaska — there was also the Fairbanks Gold Rush — but it might hold the title for the biggest gold rush at the northernmost latitude.
It was the Nome Gold Rush that made Nome the largest city in Alaska for a period.
How the Nome Gold Rush Started
Alaska is known for many things, one being a popular vacation choice. However, Nome started off as a small outpost at the outlet of the Snake River on the Seward Peninsula, which is part of the Norton Sound on the Bering Sea. Prior to the settlement at Nome, Inupiaq Eskimo used the area as a camp dating centuries prior to the arrival of Russians in the area. The Port of St. Michael, about 125 miles southeast of Nome, was founded by the Russians for the purposes of sailing down the Yukon River. This area quickly became a popular destination for whalers and fur traders. Russian Orthodox Church missions began in the 1880s. Council, Alaska was the place where gold was first found a year before it was found in the Nome area.
The first men to strike gold in the region are known to us by the sobriquet “the Three Lucky Swedes.” These were Jafet Lindeberg (who was actually Norwegian-American) and Swedish-Americans Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson. We will talk more about these men and their fascinating life stories later in this article. The short version is that three men struck gold on Anvil Creek and founded what is now the Nome mining district. Their discovery quickly spread throughout the surrounding camps during the winter, leading to an influx of 10,000 fresh from the Klondike Gold Rush which began three years prior.
In 1899 there were significant amounts of gold found in the beach sands around the Bering Sea coast. By 1900 there was a tent city along the beach that stretched 30 miles from Cape Rodney to Cape Nome. This only accelerated the influx of treasure-seekers into the region. The spring of 1900 saw arrivals from San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland into the area aboard a newly vibrant steamship line running to the Nome region. People came from much further than the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, coming all the way from Adelaide, Australia aboard Inca, a schooner, in 1902, the maiden voyage of this ship.
The Nome Gold Rush was also more contentious than other gold rushes in the United States. “Claim jumpers” came onto the land, upset that all the best land had already been taken by earlier arrivals. They attempted to file claims for land that had already been claimed by other gold prospectors. The federal judge for the region decided to recognize the original claims at the expense of the claim jumpers, but the claim jumpers began offering a segment of their land to influential politicians.
How Mining Worked at Nome
There were two main locations for mining during the Nome Gold Rush: the beach and the creeks.
The beach presented a unique problem for prospectors in the region: The beach could not properly be claimed like the rest of the land around Nome. This created tons of problems because there were literally tons of gold on the beach. Much more, in fact, than what was available in the nearby creeks.
As is often the case, the first gold found on the beaches of Nome was simply panned out of the water. There was that much of it around. By the summer of 1899 people were using human-powered machinery to get it out, such as sluice boxes and rock crushers were present. The next year things got a bit more industrialized. Small machines utilizing hoses and pumps began to show up. By 1902, the big companies had taken over and small claimants and prospectors had virtually all disappeared, bought out by bigger interests who were much more capable of getting the harder to reach gold out of the ground than they were.
There was a very short window of time every year when the beaches could be worked — June to October. This is because Nome is so far north that even seawater will freeze during part of the year, making gold mining impossible. What’s more, the local police would chase off anyone who wasn’t adequately prepared for the harsh and unforgiving winters of Nome.
The creeks were less lucrative because not only are they cold, but they run slowly, making panning a much more labor-intensive form of gold mining than it is anywhere else in the world. At the creeks there needed to be special equipment to thaw the ground and suck up all of the gravel. Mining the creeks in Nome was more a question of quantity than quality. The more gravel you were able to suck up the more gold you were going to find. It was a numbers game. Sluices, gravity, and suction were the main ways of doing this. Gold dredges and mine shafts were also used, but in far less abundance then they were in other places that didn’t have frozen ground most of the year. Steam was used both to soften the ground before the actual mining as well as to collect the gravel during the winter months.
Nome: Alaska’s Gold Rush Boom Town
Gold rushes always have a massive economic impact on the surrounding areas and the Nome Gold Rush was no exception. What once had been a tiny, insignificant settlement in a backwater of America often referred to as “Seward’s Folly” to reference what was thought to be an imprudent purchase of the land by Secretary of State William Seward, was now a bustling metropolis fueled by the gold rush.
Before the gold rush, there was virtually nothing to be found in the area. After the gold rush, in 1905 there was just about anything one could want out of their community: schools, churches, saloons, a post office, and multiple newspapers. Even some of the nation’s earliest automobiles started showing up in Nome in short order and would drive down the planks on Front Street. America’s first wireless telegraph that transmitted more than 100 miles was in Nome. Telegraphs were relayed to St. Michael on their way to Seattle.
Strangely, there was no harbor for large ships during this period, only one for small boats. This isn’t to say that there were no ships coming within striking distance of Nome. Indeed, we have already mentioned one by name – the Inca from Australia. What would happen, however, is that the larger ships would stay out at sea and the people would be ferried to the mainland via smaller boats. This is because of the ice around the area that rarely ever melted, making a direct approach a dangerous endeavor indeed. Sometimes passengers were delivered to the ice itself, then brought ashore by teams of dogs.
In 1901, the town got a loading crane which certainly made life easier for those who were still mining gold. By 1905 there was a wharf. In 1907 the town got a tramway.
The Nome Gold Rush Winds Down
Gold is, of course, a nonrenewable resource and like all other gold rushes, the Nome Gold Rush eventually played out, meaning that individual prospectors could no longer profit from the gold deposits and had to either look for gold somewhere else or sell the claims they had to larger commercial interests capable of large-scale industrial mining projects.
In 1904 and 1905, gold was discovered on other parts of the beach which made for a sort of mini gold rush that boosted the main one and extended its life. However, none of these new strikes had nearly the same amount of promise as the original. Between 1900 and 1909, Nome was 20,000 strong but by 1909 the population had dropped to a meager 250.
Gold mining still takes place in Nome and, indeed prospectors continue to show up looking to strike it rich in Alaska. We’re not sure how many people have struck gold in Nome, but we do know of at least three men who made an absolute killing: The Three Lucky Swedes.
Who Were The Three Lucky Swedes?
The Three Lucky Swedes were indeed lucky. What else would you call three men who basically tripped over a king’s ransom in gold?
First, there was Norwegian Jafet Isaksen Lindeberg. His experience in Nome was not the first time he found himself prospecting. Indeed, he was a gold hunter from a very young age, looking for gold in northern Norway during his childhood. He first found himself in Alaska after the United States Congress stepped in to provide some direction during the Klondike Gold Rush. Congress feared a famine or other humanitarian disaster and sought reindeer handlers to ensure the smooth delivery of goods into the region.
Lindeberg was one of these reindeer handlers. He was recruited in Norway and set sail for the states aboard the SS Manitoba on February 4, 1898.
Erik Lindblom wasn’t a prospector, but he was from the iron and copper mining region of Sweden, which gave him a working knowledge of mining. He left Sweden at 17 and was involved in mining in Montana, Colorado, and Idaho before he found himself in Nome, Alaska. He became a naturalized citizen in 1894.
Finally, there was John Brynteson. He came to the United States from Sweden at the age of 16 and worked in copper and iron mining in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He gained his American citizenship in 1896. He came to Alaska under the auspices of the Swedish Mission Covenant.
These three men began hunting for gold together in mid-September 1898. They quickly happened upon what they knew was a major discovery. Together, they formed the Pioneer Mining and Ditch Company, which quickly became Nome’s biggest mining company.
Brynteson left Alaska first and was the only one of the three to return to Sweden. Lindblom took his gold profits and invested it in several sectors, including banking, real estate, and transportation. He eventually became the president of the Swedish-American Bank of San Francisco. He personally financed the construction of the ice parks in Stockholm for the 1912 Olympiad. Lindeberg’s life was mostly uneventful after Nome, but while there he was part of a group of masked vigilantes who attacked claim jumpers in an attempt to retain his property.
You can still visit the Camp Nome mining district, which is a historical tourist attraction in otherwise sleepy Nome. There aren’t even 4,000 people living in the Nome area these days, less than a quarter of what was there at the peak of the Nome Gold Rush. But for one shining instant, this little fishing village on the coast of Alaska became the hottest destination in the world for the most adventurous men alive.
The Nome Gold Rush and Three Lucky Swedes originally appeared on Kellycodetectors.com.
First off, hello all! Great reads here, and a big thanks to Steve for all of the generous work put in for the lay-detectorists.
I have gold fever. I’ve had it since I first dug up my own gold in 2013 and I’ve learned that it never goes away. It just gets worse as it sinks it’s claws deeper into its poor host.
My summer job this year really hasn’t left me much free time for prospecting. Mostly a very brief opportunity to pan some gravel in the Feather River for flood gold. Much of the time for prospecting it has actually allowed me has been in the form of Google Earth prospecting the reminiscent values found in old patches and pure fantasy of what’s left to be found elsewhere. All of this imagination mixed with the ungodly lack of personal time has really flared my case of gold fever to a boiling point... no, something more closely resembling a nuclear reactor nearing criticality... yes.
But, ah! Finally! After 3 months of work with only 10 days at home to take care of personal matters, another 2 days off without the chance of being bothered. An opportunity to go prospecting!
In all the time I’ve had locked inside of my own head with my thoughts and stupendous ideas. There was one idea I had been diligently working to manifest into reality; I was going to use a mountain bike to subtract the amount of physical exertion it normally takes me to hike in and out of an old, arduously located patch!
Well, my imagination is quite the steadfast optimist! And it kept being so, no matter how hard each and every contour line of this rugged desert terrain attempted to beat it into accepting the reality of the situation. Until finally, I submitted. My idea did not work. It was not smart, to try riding a mountain bike for my first time on the equivalent of an advanced, single track, rocky bike trail, with a backpack full of sustenance, plus a detector on my back. I had travelled 2 miles from where I parked and ridden the bike for maybe 500 feet... That translates to pushing the bike along in front of me with its front tire in the air for over 10,000 feet, not to mention the elevation gain involved!
It was 8 o’clock in the morning, and I looked like I just got out of the shower fully clothed in Georgia during an August heat wave at 3 in the afternoon! Without shame, I laid the bike on its side next to the trail and proceeded on foot without looking back. I dried off quickly and was pleasantly relieved at how much easier it was to just hike after the whole bike ordeal.
Eventually I made it to the old patch, where I had another plan thought up to explore the ground conditions for some future drywashing. This plan however was much safer, much less chance of failure. And I pulled it off without a hitch! It simply involved digging up a 5x5 foot area to see how deep the residual deposit laying over the area was. Of course more future exploration is planned, the purpose of today was just to have little teaspoon of medication for my fever.
But I didn’t bring that detector for nothing!!! After dreaming of nuggets all summer, you bet I was gonna listen to what the dirt had to say today! I threw my old SD together with my trusty stock 11” DD and in two minutes I had a beautifully screaming target that stayed faithful after scraping away the surface. I couldn’t believe it happened so quickly! Soon I was looking at my first nugget after a 2 year skunk streak. A beautiful little half grammer! In another 20 minutes I found its little sister about 20 feet side slope to the left at a quarter gram.
After exploring another one of my ideas without anything to show for it, I decided my day had been good enough and I’d head home and continue enjoying my short amount of time off. Plus I still had to push that dang failed plan from earlier back as far as I had pushed it in... but now with a Whopping .75 grams of extra weight of gold in my pocket
By Randy Lunn
This past weekend I participated in my first outing with the Southwestern Prospectors & Miners Association (SPMA) club. We met at a gas station off I-8 and headed to one of their large claims in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains west of Yuma on the California side of the Colorado River. It took just under an hour on desert dirt roads to get there but the drive was not bad. There were six other guys and we all bonded well. After discussing the area we split up with half trying their hand at dry washing and the other half metal detecting. I suited up with my GPZ and tool belt and headed out. The rugged terrain with 104 degree temperatures was challenging but felt great. I have not been able to get out much this year. I got lucky. On a moderate slope about four inches down in a crevice of schist I found a 2.1 gram nugget. Yahoo! My best and one of my few nuggets for the year.
The history of the area is interesting (from westernmininghistory.com):
“Mining was first done in this region by Spaniards as early as 1780-81, when placers in Jackson Gulch and oxidized ores in Madre Valley were worked. This is believed to have been the first gold mined in California. Later, mining was resumed under Mexican rule. The district received its name of Cargo Muchacho, or Loaded Boy, when two young Mexican boys came into camp one evening with their shirts loaded with gold. American miners became interested in this district soon after the end of the Mexican War in 1848. Mining became firmly established in 1877 with the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad to Yuma. Large-scale mining continued from around 1890 until 1916 and again from 1932 until 1941, with intermittent activity since World War II.”
I don't know how it happened but it looks as though my post "Sourdough Scott Survives Encounter With Big Cat" seems to have been mistakenly read as having something to do with wild animals. Perhaps this photo will provide needed clarification. This beast was a Deese' Ven.
Call them what you will- Mountain Lion, Big Cat, Cougar, Deese' Ven, Puma..... Until you encounter one real close you cannot comprehend the size and awesome power of these man-eating beasts. Sourdough Scott had such an encounter.
I gave him fair warning. As we drove down a steep, narrow trail to our destination I ask him if mountain lions made him nervous while detecting. He said "Not at all. My dog will let me know if anything is amiss." His dog "Rooster" is one of the best detecting dogs Ive ever been with so I didn't worry. When we arrived at our destination the first thing we noticed were it's tracks. They were huge! The pads were bigger than any cougar tracks I have ever seen. Sourdough grabbed his detecting gear and head off while I was looking for my pick (and headphones and battery). When I caught up with Sourdough, there he was, within the clutches of a Big Cat!
When it comes to heroic bravery I am one of the the bravest among mortals and I also posses uncommon wisdom. Which told me to run like hell, so I did. When I got back to the mining rig I got to thinking "this isn't right to just abandon my prospecting partner to a painful death. So I scrounged around in my backpack until I found my Kodak Instamatic camera.
I know that gruesome and disgusting photos of human misfortune are all the rage these days so I figured a few photos could be worth thousands.
When I returned to what I thought would be the scene of a tragedy, there was Sourdough Scott grinning like a conquering Gingus Kan and the Big Cat lay torn to pieces. Boy was I disappointed. There went my thousands.
We continued on our detecting trip with beautiful scenery and perfect fall weather and found enough gold to justify a return trip before winter sets in.
A good time was had by all.