Ellamar is a historical mining camp on Virgin Bay in Prince William Sound, at the base of Ellamar Mountain, about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Valdez and 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of Tatitlek, Alaska. A post office was established here in 1900. The mountain was named for the mining camp which, in turn, is a portmanteau of Ella and Margaret, daughters of C.L. Wayland, the first Postal Inspector for the Territory of Alaska.
In 1897, prospectors stumbled upon an outcropping of high-grade copper on the shoreline of Virgin Bay and staked a claim. The Ellamar Mining Company was formed in 1898. The company dug a shaft 100 feet (30 m) deep with dynamite, diamond drills, and shovels and then excavated a horizontal tunnel toward the copper deposit. The extracted copper ore was shipped to a smelter in Tacoma, Washington. Within ten years of its discovery, the workings of the mine had been extended to include a shaft 600 feet (183 m) deep, with a network of horizontal drifts branching off in various directions every 100 vertical feet (30 m). A bustling waterfront community grew up around the mine as the workings grew more extensive and the property’s copper-fueled profits soared.
By 1912, copper production at Ellamar was in decline. The rising groundwater in subterranean mine shafts, extensive surface runoff, and seawater from a constantly leaking cofferdam flooded the 600 feet (183 m) and 500 feet (152 m) levels of the mine and massive pumps were required to keep the 400 feet (122 m) level open for work. With the rumblings of war in Europe in 1914 and the economic uncertainty brought by the conflict, the mine was closed. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ellamar and Virgin Bay here: