Abandoned Kennicott Copper Mine was one of the biggest in the world. It took its misspelled name from Kennecott Glacier. Once home for over 800 workers, today this is a ghost town.
The Russians came to Eklutna in the early 1800's and converted Athabaskan Indians to Russian Orthodox religion. Many of the religious practices of natives and the Russians blended. One of the most interesting are spirit houses found in the Eklutna Cemetery. They contain personal items to help the spirit in the next life. Each family uses specific colors for their spirit house to identify their clan. There are no written names. The three-bar Orthodox cross placed in the foot of the grave identifies members of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The totem poles from coast region of Alaska trace the history of individual families and clans. They are like a family crest or family tree. Each figure on the pole is a symbol of a family characteristic, an event, or a totem - a power of nature to which the family has a special relation. From the many portrayed figures, Thunderbird is the most powerful spirit. It perches at the highest point. The ideal tree for carving is a western red cedar that grows close to the sea or a river, so it is easy to transport. Unfortunately, cedar posts rot after about 65 years, so few old poles remain standing.
Gold! A magic word that was the magnet for thousands of people to travel to the last frontier in search of a fortune. This soft metal played an important part in Alaska's history. Many of todays towns were settled and grew during gold rushes. It is a good idea to try a gold panning in Crow Creek Mine to see how cold is the water in a stream and find out how much blood can mosquitoes pump out from your body.