Claim Point, Chrome Bay

Claim Point, Chrome Bay

by | Mar 25, 2023

Claim Point forms the western shore of Chrome Bay at the northern entrance to Port Chatham on the Kenai Peninsula, the site of a historical chromite mine, about 100 miles (162 km) north-northwest of Kodiak and 33 miles (53 km) south-southwest of Homer, Alaska. Port Chatham was named in 1794 by Captain George Vancouver for the HMS Chatham that was commanded by Lieutenant William R. Broughton and served as the tender for HMS Discovery during the surveys of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest from 1790 to 1795. The historical community of Portlock is situated on the southern shore of Port Chatham about 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Claim Point. The local name for the point was first reported by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1908 for chromite-iron prospects. Chromium is a metal refined from chromite and used primarily in the making of stainless steel and other alloys. Claim Point is an igneous intrusion in the surrounding McHugh Formation that created a pluton composed of peridotite, and the same rock occurs on the mainland just north of this peninsula, with bands and veins of chromite up to 10 inches (25 cm) thick.

In the summer of 1909, Ulysses S. Grant and Daniel F. Higgins were commissioned by the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a geological reconnaissance of the southern Kenai Peninsula. They spent 2 months on the coast between Seward and Seldovia visiting all the known iron, copper, and gold prospects. The largest chromite-iron claims had been staked on Red Mountain, a prominent peak about 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Seldovia, by James Linder, J.T. Ballan, and Bruce Markle. However, the mining claims with the highest concentration of chromite ore, and the most accessible, were staked by William and Charles Anderson on Claim Point, particularly on a small island situated to the southeast which is connected by a narrow reef to the point at low tides. Mining this ore body which was between high and low water was made difficult by the tides, but the Reef mine produced most of the chromite shipped from Alaska when the demand was created by World War I. Nearly 1,000 tons were extracted by the firm Whitney & Lass from the Reef mine in 1917 with a concentration of between 46 and 49 percent chromite and approximately the same amount in 1918 with a concentration of 40 percent chromite. In 1918, a new wharf was built from the mining camp that extended over 500 feet (152 m) into Chrome Bay north of Claim Point. With the collapse of the market after the war ended, all mining activity stopped.

Early in 1940, certain ores and metals were sought by the Metals Reserve Company, which was the Federal Government’s purchasing organization, for the production of equipment, ordnance, and supplies for World War II. The materials that were most in demand included tin, tungsten, antimony, chrome, and mercury. Red Mountain Chromite was a company organized by a group of Portland businessmen, including a wealthy lumberman named Blodgett who controlled 75 percent of the company. In late 1940, a plan was initiated to mine, crush, and ship ore from Jakolof Bay to Juneau for milling. The main ore body to be mined was from the Chrome Queen Mine on Red Mountain and the Star #4 mine in the headwaters of the Windy River. Access to this remote area required considerable development work to construct the required infrastructure including a mining camp, aerial tramways, conveyors, and a truck road, from the mines to the wharf in Jakolof Bay. The tidewater mine at Claim Point in Chrome Bay was less expensive to operate and work began there while the road was built to the Chrome Queen Mine. Nine conveyors were ordered to facilitate moving the ore from the mines to the loading wharf. Two large rock crushers were ordered, but one was lost in over 20 fathoms (36 m) of water off Claim Point when it was being loaded onto a small raft. After spending over $1.5 million and producing little ore, Red Mountain Chromite shut the operations at Claim Point and Red Mountain in April 1943. Later that year, the Chrome Queen Mining Company resumed operations at Red Mountain and from 1943 to 1958 extracted 6,650 tonnes of ore from the Chrome Queen Mine and 19,350 tons from the Star #4 mine. Read more here and here. Explore more of Claim Point and Chrome Bay here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

Please report any errors here

error: Content is protected !!