Kennecott Mines: An Alaskan Ghost Town

In 1900, a pair of prospectors hiking near Alaska’s Kennicott glacier discovered an outcrop of copper ore on a mountainside about 100 miles inland from Valdez. Soon, several mines were developed, and a small base camp grew into a mill town dominated by enormous processing buildings. Kennecott Mines (yes, the town name is spelled differently from the glacier’s) operated for nearly 30 years, until the ore was depleted and the remote town was abandoned in 1938. Kennecott’s massive structures sat deserted for decades, until the Alaskan tourism market developed, and the site was declared a National Historic Landmark, much of it later acquired by the National Park Service. Some preservation work has been undertaken, but a few of the buildings are being allowed to continue their “slide into oblivion.”

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