Tuesday, January 15

We Were There in the Klondike Gold Rush

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When three men found gold in the Klondike River in 1896, it set off another huge gold rush!  Thousands of hopefuls set off for Canada’s Yukon Territory, hoping to strike it rich.  The Alaskan towns of Skagway and Dyea became boomtowns, as these were the starting points of the 600-mile journey to the riches.  In our reading, we follow the journey through Dyea and up the Chilkroot Trail into Canada.

Equipment needed included :
  • warm clothes and outerwear
  • moccasins and boots
  • blankets and towels
  • mosquito netting
  • personal care items
  • medicine
  • first aid items
  • candles and matches
  • soap
  • approximately 1,000 pounds of food (year’s supply)
  • tools and mining equipment
  • camping equipment
Less than half of the people who set off to find gold actually made it to Dawson City.  While the Chilkroot Trail was difficult for the men who had to climb its steep slopes carrying all of their belongings, the White Pass Trail caused the deaths of more than 3,000 horses, and was thus dubbed Dead Horse Pass.  These horses often died because they were overloaded with supplies and forced up steep, rocky terrain – it was too hard on their bodies.

Those who did make it to the Yukon found that reports of gold had been exaggerated, and there was little to be had.  Many went home immediately.  Of those who stayed, they could only work during certain months of the year, when the ground was thawed, and they were subjected to disease and poor sanitary conditions.  Unfortunately, the gold rush turned out to be a disappointment for many.  It did boost the economy of areas like Seattle, which was a starting point for the trip north, but it also destroyed the Yukon environment and brought disease to the natives who lived there.

The real riches to be made in the Klondike Gold Rush were in retail.  Merchants, bankers, restaurant owners, and even saloon girls were able to charge ten times as much for food, services, and supplies, did not have to bear the back-breaking work of mining, and had a steady stream of gold-seekers to keep them in business.

Access the complete unit in the 'We Were There' Novel Studies Bundle!

Includes THIRTY-SIX unit studies covering World & American History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning the the ancient world through post-WW2.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

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  1. Studying about the Gold Rush is so interesting!

  2. Can't wait to study this with my daughter. Thank you.

    1. Stay tuned, too...I'm actually just finishing up part 2 as we type! :) Hope you enjoy it.


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