Ruby's current residents are Koyukon Athabascans of the Nowitna-Koyukuk band, a nomadic group who followed game with the changing seasons. There were 12 summer fish camps located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk River and the Nowitna River. Ruby developed as a supply point for gold prospectors. It was named after the red-colored stones found on the riverbank which were thought by prospectors to be rubies. A gold strike at Ruby Creek in 1907, and another at Long Creek in 1911, attracted hundreds of prospectors to the area. At one time, over 1,000 white miners lived in Ruby and the nearby creeks. Placerville, Poorman, Sulatna Crossing, Kokrines and Long Creek were some of the area's boom settlements. A post office was established in 1912, and Ruby incorporated as a city in 1913. Initially, the City was governed by miner's meetings, then later by Pioneer Igloo Number 5.
After the gold rush, the population declined rapidly. By 1939, there were only 139 residents. During World War II the mining operations were shut down and most of the white residents left. After the war, the remaining residents of nearby Kokrines relocated to Ruby, and the population began to increase. Ruby incorporated as a second class city in 1973. A clinic, watering point and schools were constructed in the 1970s. During the 1980s, telephones and television services were provided.
To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online
History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development