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The Jack Wade Gold Dredge


Jack Wade gold dredge     Until September 2007 this gold dredge sat alongside the Taylor Highway between Dawson City, Yukon and Tok, Alaska. Due to its deteriorating condition and safety concerns, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had it removed. Some major parts were set up as an interpretive display near the Chicken post office, but the majority of it went to the Tok garbage dump.

    One of the first bucketline dredges in the Fortymile Mining District, this dredge was also one of the last dredges to work in the district. This was a stacker type dredge with two flumes. It had 32 buckets of 4½ cubic feet capacity, and a 150-horsepower boiler which powered 4 steam engines. The trommel screen is 22 feet long, with 4 sections, and 2 flumes leading from the end of it.

    It was first freighted up the Fortymile from Dawson City in 1907 by Russell KIng, and was put to work on Walker Fork at Twelvemile Creek. In 1909, it was moved to Uhler Creek, where it was known as the Mulvane Dredge. In 1914, it was shut down, and it remained idle until 1935 when it was purchased by the American Mining Company of Boston. They moved it to Jack Wade Creek, considered by many to be the richest creek in the region (it is still being worked today). American Mining replaced the hull and bucketline during the move to Jack Wade, and operated it until 1940, when they sold it to Jack Wade Dredging. That company converted it to diesel and replaced the ladder in 1941, but shut it down soon after.

    During its best years, the dredge would operate 24 hours a day for 10 das, then would be shut down to clean up the sluice boxes. The best cleanup produced about $30,000 worth of gold, at a time when gold was selling for under $35 per ounce - at the January 2013 price of just under $1,700 per ounce that would make that cleanup worth almost $1.5 million today.

The first group of 7 photos below were shot in 1999 and 2000, the next group of 6 shows the dredge parts at the interpretive display in Chicken. Click on each photo to enlarge it.





Jack Wade gold dredge
Jack Wade gold dredge
Jack Wade gold dredge
Jack Wade gold dredge
Jack Wade gold dredge
Jack Wade gold dredge

The Jack Wade Dredge from upstream


Jack Wade Dredge display at Chicken, Alaska
Jack Wade Dredge display at Chicken, Alaska
Jack Wade Dredge display at Chicken, Alaska
Jack Wade Dredge display at Chicken, Alaska
Jack Wade Dredge display at Chicken, Alaska
Jack Wade Dredge display at Chicken, Alaska



Jack Wade Dredge
From the Library of Congress, 22 survey photos of the dredge, taken in 1986.

Gold Dredges of the North

An Explorer's Guide to the Taylor Highway



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