The Treadwell mine was the largest gold mine on Alaska’s panhandle as well as the largest mine in the world at its time. This immense project was started in 1881 on the north side of Douglas Island just south of Juneau. John Treadwell, the man who the mine is named for, was one of the fortune seekers who came to make a fortune off gold claims that he had purchased. He partnered up with three other men: Erussard de Ville, D.P. Mitchell and Dave Martin. It was a huge find!

The results of the mine were fantastic and made Treadwell’s dream come true. Over three million troy ounces of gold were extracted out of that mine! That is a lot of gold! At its height there were two thousand people that worked taking the gold out and preparing it for shipment. This find of such wealth helped the making of the city of Juneau greatly since it was so close. Many people came to stake claims. The city grew and progressed rapidly. This mine had wonderful results!

Suddenly tragedy struck the mine! One of the shafts, which had extended five hundred feet below sea level, began leaking. Everyone was evacuated immediately! A few hours later the mine collapsed, but thankfully with no casualties except ten horses and a mule. When the mine collapsed, the impact sent huge gushes of water up to two hundred feet into the air! Now all that is left is some crumbling buildings and where the mine was, a “glory hole” (empty pit) filled with water. In its day, Treadwell Mine was a incredibly important mine, one that helped our capital become a city. It definitely served its purpose.