This history of our community is taken from a report
written by Jacob Tyrrell of Central, Alaska. He was 10 years old
at the time and it won 3rd place ribbon at the 1993 Southeast
Alaska State Fair held in Haines, Alaska.

We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did.

Circle Mining District Museum has kindly given us permission
to use some of their historical photos.  Some photos are shown
in the following links and the rest are after the history.

NOTE: the photos contained in some of the links are a large size.
If you have a slower connection, please click
HERE
to see all the historical photos. 

The following links are to photos, the others to addition information:
fishing grounds, trading post, Frank, homesteaded, built a hotel,
Deadwood, post office, Central House, and trading furs

 

 

 

 

A group of Athapaskan Indians known as "Kutchin"
settled in this area.  They were hunters and gatherers.
Their winter homes were made of moose.  The Kutchin's
winter homes were located at their hunting grounds.  In
the summer, the Kutchin stayed at their
fishing grounds.

Some of the first white men to come to the Central area
were traders, such as the
Hudson Bay Company.  They
would trade fur with the Indians in the 1840's.

In the early 1890's Pitka Pavaloff and Sergai Cherosky,
two Indian half-bloods, found gold on
Birch Creek. They
were assisting
Jack McQuesten in his trading post. He
was a man who outfitted miners and lived in Circle. When
Pavaloff and Cherosky discovered gold, McQuesten had
lots of business because the gold rush was on!

William Greats discovery of the hot springs in 1892
attracted people to this area.  The story has it that he
found the hot springs while hunting moose.  In 1903,
Frank and Emma Leach homesteaded 160 acres around
the hot springs.  In 1930, they
built a hotel that is still
standing.  Today lots of people come to swim in the
pool at Circle Hot Springs.
(editor's note: the hotel is not open at the present time)

The area was first settled around Deadwood in 1894.
Like many other towns, it was a gold mining center.
Deadwood had a
post office and in 1924, it was moved
to Circle Hot Springs because some of the miners left.
Now Deadwood is a ghost town because the town
died when most of the miners left.

Central didn't start as a town, it started as Central House.
It was a
roadhouse on a trail from the Yukon River
to the creeks where gold was discovered.

The Steese Highway was built right over the trail and it
connected
Central to Fairbanks and Circle in 1927.
World War II rolled around and the mining dropped
because the government didn't think it was a war effort.
The population went way down as the mining dropped.
The mining increased after the war and kept on doing so
until 1978 when gold prices sky rocketed.  The price of
gold went so far up that the miners poured in.  The
Circle Mining District became the most active
mining area in Alaska.

People came here for many reasons. Trappers for furs,
traders for trading furs with the indians, miners for gold,
tourists for fun, and homesteaders for land. My Dad
came as a miner, my Mom as a tourist.

The town got it's name because it was in between Circle
and the gold mines and there are lots of other trails
that cut off leading to other mines.  It was also named
after Central House.

 

 

 

Historical Photos
Courtesy of Circle Mining District Musuem
Central, Alaska
(unless otherwise noted)
 

May not be reproduced in any form without permission

To view the photos in a format for slower connections
please click
HERE
 

Click on thumbnails to see larger  photo
 

 

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Circle Hot Springs Hotel

Cabbage patch at

Cabin - circa 1920's

 

1953 - 1956

Circle Hot Springs

Circle Hot Springs

 

Choate Collection

Choate Collection

Choate Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The 1st landing at Leech Field

Circle Hot Springs & gardens

Circle Hot Springs in 1924

 

now Circle Hot Springs Airport

circa 1920's

cabin upper right is now #5

 

Choate Collection

Choate Collection

Choate Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This trail is now the road from

Bush comfort - old outhouse

Central House

 

Central to Circle Hot Springs

somewhere in Central area

during 1948 flooding

 

Choate Collection

Rasmussen-O'Leary-Warren

Rasmussen-O'Leary-Warren

 

 

  Collection

  Collection

 

 

 

 

 

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Central House

Central House

Road Grader

 

during 1948 flooding

during 1948 flooding

near Central House

 

Rasmussen-O'Leary-Warren

Rasmussen-O'Leary-Warren

Rasmussen-O'Leary-Warren

 

  Collection

  Collection

  Collection

 

 

 

 

 

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Rivard cabin in Central

Old bathhouse at

Circle Hot Springs pre 1930

 

circa 1940's - 1950's

Circle Hot Springs

Hotel opened for business in 1930

 

Rasmussen-O'Leary-Warren

Rasmussen-O'Leary-Warren

Ruth Olson Collection

 

  Collection

  Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frank Leech with huge cabbage

Birch Creek Bridge construction

Two waitress posing in

 

from his garden

between Central and Circle City

front of Central House

 

Ruth Olson Collection

Rasmussen-O'Leary-Warren

Ruth Olson Collection

 

 

  Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Circle Hot Springs Hotel

Circle Hot Springs Hotel and

Frank Leech's gardens at

 

circa 1950's

greenhouse - circa 1935

Circle Hot Springs - circa 1935

 

Ruth Olson Collection

Ruth Olson Collection

Ruth Olson Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Circle Hot Springs

Central House and service buildings

Central House as it is today. This is the

 

circa 1930's

Trail will become Steese Highway

 2-story log building in photo to  right.

 

Ruth Olson Collection

Ruth Olson Collection

courtesy of  Mac & Linda Carter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  Other Interesting Links

Virtual Panorama
(intersection of Steese & Circle Hot Springs road)

Moosifications

Old Cemetery
(at Circle Hot Springs)

Mining History

Yukon Gold Rush

Gold Rush Women
 

 

 

 

 

 Photo by Mac & Linda Carter - Copyright 2002 - All rights reserved
May not be used without permission
 

 

The moose used in the background was taken from a photo
courtesy of Vic Van Ballenberghe - Used by permission
 

 

Website designed by Karen Hamilton - Central, AK
Copyright 2002 - All rights reserved