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The History of Rampart, Alaska

    Rampart is located on the south bank of the Yukon River, approximately 75 miles upstream from its junction with the Tanana River, 100 miles northwest of Fairbanks. It lies at approximately 65 30' N Latitude, 150 10' W Longitude (Sec. 23, T008N, R013W, Fairbanks Meridian). The community is located in the Rampart Recording District. The area encompasses 233 sq. miles of land and 8 sq. miles of water.

    The name Rampart refers to the range of low mountains through which the Yukon passes in this region and which forms the "ramparts" of the Upper Yukon.

Rampart, Alaska 1898     Rampart City was established in 1897 as a river supply point for gold placer mines in the hills and creek valleys south of the Yukon. News of strikes in Minook Creek, Idaho Bar, Quail Creek, and Eureka Creek, all within 30 miles of Rampart, triggered a rush to the community in 1898 and swelled the population to as high as 10,000 by some estimates. The photograph to the right shows the community in early 1898 (click on it to enlarge it). During its heyday, Rampart had a newspaper, hotels, saloons, library, fire department, hospital, and a host of stores and businesses that were typical of the mining towns of that time. The boom was short-lived. New strikes in the Upper Koyukuk River, Anvil Creek, Nome and Fairbanks rapidly depleted the population. By 1903, only a Native community remained among the abandoned homes and businesses.

    Over time, the population gradually increased as people migrated from Minook Creek. By 1917, about 30 Natives and 30 Whites were living in Rampart. An agricultural experiment station was established by the University of Alaska across the river from Rampart in 1900 to cross-breed grains and legumes. By 1920, more than 90 acres were under cultivation. The station also tested vegetables, strawberries, flowers and field crops. The farm was closed in 1925. An airstrip was constructed by the Alaska Road Commission in 1939. A salmon cannery was established in the 1940s, and a sawmill and logging operation was built in the 1950s. Residents continued to work in nearby gold mines and the local store served as supply point for area operations.

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