Atlin is a gold town and will most likely always be a gold town. If it wasn't for gold this town would most probably not even exist. After all, a quick look at a map will show you that there is thousands of square miles of nothing but mountains and limited vegetation surrounding this small town. Mining plays an important role in the economy of the town by employing locals and local business's in the selling of goods and services. Over the years it has been towns like this that has kept the coffers of government filled. Taxes collected go to help pay for schools, medical services and roads. Too forget the past is to ignore the future.
The Atlin gold rush was not quite as big as the Klondike gold rush back 1898 but it did garner world wide attention. What got it started was all these men hiking over the Chilkoot trail and beyond to get to Dawson City Yukon, some men ventured off in other directions. Two propsectors, Kenny MacLaren and Fritz Miller were two such people that didn't follow the crowd. Instead they headed east in an area just about 6 miles from where Atlin is today on Pine Creek and found gold. Lots of gold! Didn't take long and word got out that there was gold in Atlin and a lot of the men enroute to Dawson abandoned that idea and headed across to Atlin.
Wasn't long before a town sprung up out on Pine Creek. The town became known as Discovery and almost 10,000 people were there working the creeks for the yellow metal. At it's peak there dozen of saloons, brothels and of course essentials like groceries and other supplies. Soon the town moved to where it is today along the shores of Atlin Lake. Mining spread over to ther creeks such as Spruce Creek where some of the world's largest nuggets have been found. Small settlements scattered these creeks as well as small groups of miners lived out along the creeks. Mining wasn't just for the little guys either. Various companies came in and built large dredges on both Pine and Spruce Creek. Upper Spruce became famous for the Nolan Mine right at the tributary of Spruce and Dominion Creek.
Other creeks in the area like Birch Creek, Boulder Creek, became famous in their own ways. Pine Creek however held the most riches. Over the years many companies have gone in and developed large placer type operations on this creek. In the 1980's Queenstake had a large placer operation where thousands of ounces were sluiced from this rich creek. Even today there are still small placer miners poking around looking for left overs.
Creeks such as Ruby Creek saw a lot of placer mining over the years but also saw other minerals being mined. Moly exploration by Adanac Moly took center stage for a while. In the early 2000's Adanac Moly was looking to develope the Ruby Creek Moly deposit. Roads where constructed and a lot of drilling was done. Then the 2008 credit crises hit and the abilty to raise money dried up. The price of moly also fell from around $40 lb to around $12 lb.
Gold wasn't the only metal sought after in the Atlin area. In the early 1900's silver was found on Mt. Vaugn and soon silver was being mined at what became known as the Ruffer Silver Mine or Atlin Silver as other have called it.
Today there is still some active mining and exploration going on around the Atlin area. About 60 miles south of the town is the Tulsequah Project that is owned by Chieftain Metals and also Brixton Metals just a bit past that. Just across the lake is the Old Engineer Mine and that also is being worked on now and then that gold prices are a bit higher.
Below are a couple of old rare post cards showing Pine Creek and a couple of placer miners. These old post cards are reprints but are still unique and would make for a nice addition to someones collection. Click on either card to see an enlarged version. Prices are $8.95 Canadian each. Shipping is included.