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Stock# 37256
Description

Fine large format manuscript map showing the gold diggings on the Ono Ko Yak River and its tributaries, shortly after the discovery of gold in 1898.

The map notes a "discovery claim" on Bunner Creek, a tributary of the Ono Ko Uak (Anikovik) River. The "York Townsite" is noted, as an area referenced as "Back Door Beach Claims." The choice of wording "townsite" suggests that the town had not yet been laid out, to the extent the town ever really existed. During the height of the brief York Mining District Boom, the town was set to become a place of prominence, but by the end of 1900, its population had dwindled to less than 30 people.

The name "Konowgok" appears only briefly in history. The only appearance of the name retrieved using a google search is in the Annual Report on Introduction of Domestic Reindeer Into Alaska, Volume 9 (US Office of Education, 1900 at p. 12), where it was noted that

One of Mr. Lopp's Eskimo herders at Cape Prince of Wales discovered gold on Anacovak Creek, which was the commencement of the new mining district of Konowgok, a few miles from Cape York, o the Bering Sea coast.

Following the discovery of Gold in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon in 1897, the race for gold in Alaska was on. During the summer of 1898, a few enterprising men struck out to seek new fields. Some went eastward and found gold on a number of southward-flowing streams, including Bonanza and Solomon rivers, but were unable to prove its presence in commercial quantities. Others went westward and named and staked Cripple and Penny rivers. Gold was also found during this season in the gravels of some streams near Cape York, and the York mining district was organized at the mouth of the Ono Ko Yak (Anikovik) River on the Bering Sea, north of Nome.

The earliest reference to the York Mining District appears on a map by "The Nome Map Company," published in 1898. /gallery/detail/19071

As noted in The Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, Alaska:

Anikovik River, which enters Bering Sea at the town of York, about 12 miles east of Cape Prince of Wales, is 15 miles long. It heads in the York Mountains, and through the greater part of its length flows across the York Plateau, in which it has cut a comparatively broad valley. For several miles above its mouth the valley and river bed contain gravels several feet deep and 200 to 300 feet wide. In 1900, the whole of this river was regarded as gold-placer ground, but at the present time nearly all the workings have been abandoned. The conditions as they existed in 1900 were described in Brooks's report, already cited," and further notes were published in the report of 1901.

In 1903 only one party of prospectors attempted to mine the gravels of this river and the whole product for a month's work did not exceed $600. At a point about half a mile from the coast a ditch had been dug along the side of the valley, and the river was turned through this ditch by means of a dam. leaving the river bed exposed. The gravel was about 2 1/2 feet thick and rested upon slate bed rock dipping at an angle of about 70°, which contained placer gold to a depth of 6 to 18 inches. In size the gold ranged from very fine to nuggets worth $10. The fine gold was generally bright, but the nuggets were iron stained. Cassiterite and magnetite were found with the gold in the concentrates. These gravels evidently carry a small amount of gold, and if they could be worked economically by a company holding several miles of the river bed it is possible that adequate returns could be obtained. Up to the present time, however, the efforts to mine gold on Anikovik River have not been successful. Small amounts of gold are also obtained from the tin placers of Buck Creek, about 15 miles north of the Anikovik, which have been described in a previous report."

A remarkable survival, quite possibly the only surviving map to reference to so-called Konowgok Mining District and one of only a few maps to mention the York Mining District.

Condition Description
One panel with discoloration.
Reference
Department of the Interior, The Gold Placers of Parts of Seward Peninsula, Alaska . . . (1908), page 281.