Alaska Facts and History
Did you know that in 1898, Sunrise City was the largest town in Alaska for a short time? Discover how Hope and Sunrise, Alaska were founded in this edition.
Hope, Alaska in 1906
The towns of Hope and Sunrise sprang up as supply centers for stampeders, during the 1895 Turnagain Arm Gold Rush.
The first claim was staked on Resurrection Creek in 1893. And by the Spring of 1896, around 3,000 stampeders arrived by ship on Cook Inlet.
Two settlements sprang up.
The one at the mouth of Resurrection Creek was named Hope. It is believed that Hope may have been named after a prospector named Percy Lee Hope.
At one time, the town of Hope had a population of 200, plus the prospectors who were all over nearby creeks looking for gold.
During that time, Hope had two saloons, two general stores, a brewery, pool hall, restaurant, hotel, post office, school, social hall and a sawmill.
In the photo above is the town of Sunrise
The settlement at the mouth of Sixmile Creek was named Sunrise City. The story behind that name is said to have come from the way the sun appears to rise three times from behind the steep mountains.
Miners had arrived at Sunrise by shallow-draft boats from Turnagain Arm.
During that time, Sunrise City had three saloons, three general stores, a billiard hall, restaurant, hotel, post office, social hall and a ferry service. Sunrise was also the Judicial Center for Cook Inlet.
Share this Edition
You can easily share this edition of Alaska Facts and History with friends and family. And when you do… they will think you’re swell.
Just click on the following link
The Klondike Gold Rush
The Summer of 1897 marked the beginning of the Klondike Gold Rush. But a few thousand of those stampeders also came to Cook Inlet.
In 1898, Sunrise City was the largest town in Alaska. Population numbers vary, but during the Gold Rush, anywhere from 800 to 2,000 people were estimated to be in and around the town.
The Turnagain Arm Gold Rush
By 1906, the Turnagain Arm Gold Rush had produced more than $1 million in gold. But the boom was over.
When the gold rush began winding down, Sunrise was still an important waypoint for the Iditarod Trail System that linked Seward with mining camps in Knik, Iditarod and Nome.
Supplies were still being ferried from Sunrise, to Knik, across Cook Inlet.
Then Came the Railroad
The railroad contributed to the decline of Sunrise.
By the 1930s, only one resident still lived there.
Today, all that remains, is the cemetery.
Hope City and Sunrise City were the oldest Gold Rush towns on the Iditarod Trail, the Government mail route at the time.
There is more to the story.
Hope remains a populated town to this day. If you’ve never visited Hope, it’s well worth your time. Especially now that you know at least part of the story.
To learn more, take a look at the Hope, Alaska Guide and enjoy
Learn more at the Hope-Sunrise Historical Society and discover
Supporting Your Anchorage Memories VIP Club
Did you know?
When you become a paid member of your Anchorage Memories VIP Club, you also receive special access to the VIP Club Library of Anchorage and Alaska stories, e-books and audio. And, when you become a paid member, you can visit this exclusive library as often as you want to.
Anchorage Memories VIP Club is a reader-supported publication. Please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
What our Readers Had to Say
From our story on Gwennie’s Restaurant
“I worked at Gwennie's in Spenard in 1985/86. It was one of several part-time jobs I worked when I first moved to Anchorage. I worked the breakfast shift and had a lot of regulars. My favorite was probably reindeer sausage and eggs, sometimes with pancakes if I was really hungry. The portions were pretty generous, so I filled up fast and usually had to get a doggy box for the rest. I liked the club sandwich too. It's been a long time since I've eaten at Gwennie's. I probably should go in for old times' sake, especially since it's around the corner!”
“Wonderful! I DO remember Gwennie's. It was one of my Dad's favorite places to go when making a trip from Valdez to Anchorage, and we all loved it. I hadn't known that she had given it up and moved on… BUT… I have actually SEEN the Sequim restaurant! My husband and I (living in Aberdeen, WA) drove up that way one summer, and had a look around, and (though we didn't actually eat there), we saw that. I didn't even think that it might be somehow related to the Gwennie's in Anchorage, or I would DEFINITELY have eaten there! Life is strange sometimes, isn't it?”
Get in Touch
Mary and Mike in the photo above.
Did you know the story behind the towns of Hope and Sunrise?
Have you ever visited Hope or the Sunrise cemetery?
Do you have a comment, or just want to say “hello there”? We would love to hear from you.
You can get in touch by replying to this email, or you can Contact Us right now.
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary