Kennicott National Historic Landmark

The history of Kennicott, Alaska began in 1900, when prospectors spotted a patch of green hillside that looked like good grazing ground for their pack horses. The grass, as fate would have it, turned out to be the green glint of copper ore.

From that incident, a boom town was born, where 600 workers lived, toiled and played. Within 20 years the strike proved to be the richest known concentration of copper ore in the world, and Kennicott became a company town that included homes, stores, a laundry, school, and even a wood surfaced tennis court. By 1911, a 196 mile railroad had been built from Kennicott to Cordova to remove the ore.

The centerpiece of the town was a massive 14-story mill building where copper ore was processed for shipment. There was also an ammonia leaching plant, machine shop, and powerhouse which generated steam and electricity.

By the 1930’s the high-grade ore played out, and when the Kennicott Copper Corporation pulled out in 1938, Kennicott became a ghost town overnight. All of the equipment, furnishings, and buildings were left, and most are still here for you to see and explore.

In 1986, Congress recognized Kennicott as a National Historic Landmark, and efforts were begun to stabilize and preserve the site. In 1998, the National Park Service acquired the Kennicott National Historic Landmark.

Guided tours into the mine buildings are offered three times each day.  Many of the buildings are also open for the public to explore during the day.