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Richard T. Harris, one of the discoverers of gold in this area and a founder of the town of Juneau. Harris was born near Cleveland, Ohio, on October 31, 1833, graduated from Girard College in Philadelphia, then went to Mexico in search of gold. He prospected and mined in Colorado and Montana and perhaps in other parts of the west. He came north during the Cassiar excitement and prospected both in the Cassiar and along the coast. In 1879 Harris went to Sitka and worked for George Pilz, a mining engineer, at Silver Bay. The following summer he and Joe Juneau were grubstaked by Pilz and N.A. Fuller and left Sitka on July 19 to prospect. After working along the mainland coast from Windham Bay to Eagle River, Harris and Juneau landed at the mouth of Gold Creek on August 17, 1880. They found gold, running ten cents to the pan in the lower part of the creek and returned to Sitka. Arriving back on Gold Creek on September 29, they staked the first claims in Silver Bow Basin on October 4. Harris was elected Recorder of the Harris Mining District that same day and served until February 9, 1881. Harris mined successfully in Silver Bow Basin for a number of years but lost his claims through litigation after the courts were established. He subsequently worked for several mining companies in various capacities. About 1905 he became blind and through the Masonic organizations to which he belonged he was sent to a sanitarium near Portland, Oregon, where he died on October 11, 1907. He was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Juneau on December 28, 1907. A monument to Harris and Juneau was erected near their first landing place, just off Willoughby Avenue, and dedicated on Memorial Day, 1940. Harris Street - a residential street in the northeastern part of Juneau named for Richard T. Harris. Juneau - Alaska's capital and currently its third city in population, is located on Gastineau Channel at Latitude 58 degrees 18 feet North, Longitude 134 degrees 24 feet west. The townsite was staked October 18, 1880, and settled in December of that year. The town had two names, Harrisburg and Rockwell, before December 1881, when it was named for Joseph Juneau. In the original record of the townsite location the name is spelled Harrisburgh. It is generally believed that Richard Harris, one of the two locators, named it for himself. In 1900 he wrote, however, that he named it for the capital of Pennsylvania. On February 10, 1881, the miners at the new camp held a meeting "for the purpose of renaming Harrisburg." The name "Rockwell" received 18 votes, "Juneau received 15, and "Harrisburg" only one. In the meanwhile, two applications for a post office had been filed in Washington. One was sent by Wm. Gouveneur Morris, Special Customs Agent for Alaska, who asked that the post office be named Pilzburg for George Pilz, the mining engineer who had helped grubstake Joe Juneau and Richard Harris. The Post Office Department granted the second application which asked for the post office of Harrisburg and the office was established on April 8, 1881, with Edward DeGroff as postmaster. The town was scarcely five months old and already it had two names. The miners, to be safe, used both in their mining records, usually calling it "Rockwell" also known as "Harrisburg." The town continued with its dual name until December 14, 1881, when, at another miners' meeting, it was moved that those present ballot on a new name. There were 72 ballots cast, of which 47 went to "Juneau City," 21 to "Harrisburg" and 4 to "Rockwell." Richard Harris moved to call another meeting for the express purpose of naming the town but lost on a vote of 23-43. The postmaster was requested to notify the Department of the action of the meeting and must have done so promptly for on January 10, 1882, the post office was officially designated Juneau. The Department dropped the "City" but local usage retained it for many years and one of the early newspapers was the Juneau City Mining Record. As the center of a mining district that extended to Windham Bay on the South, Berners Bay on the north, and Admiralty Island on the west, Juneau had a steady growth, reaching a population of 1253 in 1890 and 1864 in 1900. In 1910 it slumped to 1644 but it climbed back to 3058 in 1920, 4043 in 1929, 5729 in 1936, and 5956 in 1950. Quartz Gulch - on the eastern side of Mount Roberts, above and running into Silver Bow Basin. Joe Juneau and Richard Harris made their discovery of gold in this gulch on Sunday, October 3, 1880. Harris later wrote: "The gulch I named from the fact that it contained the most gold bearing quartz I had ever seen in one gulch."


Henry H. Hendrickson was born in Finland on November 8, 1862, came to the United States in 1879 and to Juneau in 1894. He followed mining and fishing and homesteaded first on the creek named for him and later at Sunny Point on Glacier Highway. He died at Juneau on August 11, 1945. Hendrickson Creek - on Douglas Island, discharging into Gastineau Channel five miles northwest of Juneau and almost due west of Vanderbilt Hill. Named for Henry H. Hendrickson


Frederick Higgins, Douglas Resident, Born in Springfield, Nova Scotia in August of 1891, died on September 17, 1919. He worked at various mines in the area. He played semi-professional ball in the United States and was well known as a pitcher in the Douglas baseball team. He was a member of the Douglas Volunteer Fire Department. He is buried in the Douglas City Cemetery.


James Huffman, who claimed a homestead 20 miles northwest of Juneau in 1887. Huffman was born February 21, 1868 at Chandlersville, Ohio, and came to Alaska in 1887. For many years he owned a cabin in Douglas, but he spent most of his time around Eagle River where he worked some mining claims. In 1911 he filed a homestead claim on the north side of Eagle River near its mouth and built a cabin there. In October, 1934, he was drowned at the mouth of the river while returning from Douglas in his motor boat. Huffman Harbor - the more southerly of the two bights on the east side of Eagle Harbor, 20 miles northwest of Juneau. Named for James Huffman

 

 
 

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