Daily Archives: 3 October 2011

Kennicott Construction Co.

The Kennecott Mine was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The old buildings have certainly seen better days, but when I was last in Kennecott in 2007, the NPS had started to shore up some up some of the buildings. In the past four years, a lot of work had been done. The Park Service has moved into the recently renovated Company Store – Post Office building, and several smaller buildings are now occupied by Wrangell Air & some guide services.

I spent a lot of time crawling around the new cribbing under the buildings, and I went into a couple of smaller buildings that were under current renovation. For a history buff like myself, it was cool to see the work being done.

Now, it turns out I wasn’t as alone out there in the ghost town as I had originally thought. I knew that there were construction workers out at their camp … which included a motor home… and it would appear that someone was keeping an eye on me. When I had finally satisfied my construction curiosity, I went on about my hike around the historic buildings. A truck suddenly showed up, I waved to the driver and received a wave back. He then proceeded to go into every building that I looked into, and walk around all the cribbing that I had poked around earlier. Either he had very similar interests as myself, or he had been watching my every move, and wanted to make sure I hadn’t run off with a miter saw, or set plastic explosives under the cribbing.

I have to admit… it was a very nice miter saw, but I never laid a finger on it.

The McCarthy Tram

Now that, was a mode of transportation.
Photo courtesy of Alaska Gold Dot Com


It’s approximately a 6 mile walk out to the old Kennecott Mine buildings from the McCarthy footbridge which lies across the Kennicott River. Note: The mine was named after the glacier & river, but it was misspelled. I should have taken a picture of the bridge, but I didn’t think of it at the time. When I first moved to Alaska, there was a tram across the river, and you would wait your turn to climb into the basket and cross via the cable tram. The remains of the tram are still there, and it is a shame that it was replaced by the bridge. It was quite the controversy at the time. In all fairness, I doubt many people moved out to McCarthy, Alaska with the idea of dealing with tourists… still, the Bridge People won out, and progress once again derailed something truly unique.

I had passed a few people in the little community of Kennecott, but it was a ghost town out at the old mine. There wasn’t anyone else out there, and I enjoyed climbing all over the place with absolutely no interference. It was a blast. Not once did I have to wait to take a photo in order to get some tourist out of the shot.