2017 Mining History Association Tour


Tour of the Fairbanks Exploration Archives,
Mining Equipment Displays,
Pleistocene Fossil Collection,
and Trans Alaska Pipeline
Tour Hosts: John Reeves and the Gold Daughters
June 18, 2017


When John Reeves acquired many of the assets of the U. S. Smelting, Refining, and Mining Company and the Fairbanks Exploration Company, they included the company archives and extensive mining lands. He has carefully preserved the records and described them to the MHAers.He has also gathered a large collection of mining equipment from these lands and placed them on exhibit at the Gold Daughters gold panning attraction on the Steese Highway north of Fairbanks.

Some of the Alaskan placer mines near Fairbanks were famous for their fossils of Pleistocene mega-fauna.John Reeves has gathered a large private collection of these fossils which he showed to the MHAers. One of the most famous Alaskan fossil finds is the Blue Babe, a 36,000 year-old, Pleistocene Steppe Bison on display at the Museum of the North on the University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus.  It was found by long-time placer miner, Walter Roman, at his mine on Pearl Creek.


(Right) The real Gold Daughters are John Reeves’ twin daughters, Jordan and Ilaura, who manage the Gold Daughters gold panning attraction.  They grew up in the Fairbanks area, living at Gold Dredge 8.  Several MHAers who tried their luck at gold panning reported that they had “struck it rich.”


Mastodon tusk fossils from John Reeves’ collection are on display at the Gold Daughters shop.

Hundreds of pieces of mining equipment such as the boilers shown above are on display in the grounds of the Gold Daughters.

Nozzles from hydraulic placer mining in which high pressure water was used to remove overburden.


Nozzles were designed in different sizes and shapes to control the quantity and direction of the water jets.

The buckets from bucket ladder dredges came in many sizes.


A line of buckets from a bucket line gold dredge.  Each bucket has a serial number used to track its production and maintenance history.


A seldom seen artifact of gold dredging is this spud from the end of the vertical pole used to hold the dredge in position while the bucket line mined the stream gravel.

The Gold Daughters from Down Under.  MHAers Rhonda Matthews (left) is from Queensland and Wendy Carter (right) is from the Kimberly of Western Australia.

The Trans Alaska Pipeline
An elevated section of the Trans Alaskan Pipeline is located across the Steese Highway from the Gold Daughters.  The pipeline was completed in 1977 to bring oil from Prudhoe Bay oil fields to the ice-free ocean port at Valdez.

Above)  MHAers examine an elevated portion of the Trans Alaska Pipeline.


(Right)  This close-up view shows the specially designed support columns with fins that dissipate heat to prevent thawing of the permafrost in which they are anchored.  The horizontal support allows the pipeline to slide back and forth, right and left, as it expands and contracts.

Photos courtesy of Mike Kaas





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