Hyder, Salmon River

Hyder, Salmon River

by | Feb 22, 2019

Hyder is a small community at the mouth of the Salmon River, on the west bank, and near the head of Portland Canal, Alaska. This mining community is the eastern and southernmost village in Alaska and was established in 1907 and named “Portland City” after the fjord. In 1914, when the U.S. Post Office Department told residents that there were many communities named Portland, it was renamed Hyder, after Frederick Hyder, a Canadian mining engineer who was brought to Portland City in 1914 to examine some claims and envisioned a bright future for the area. The town is now the only community in Southeast Alaska directly connected to the road system and relies almost entirely on neighboring Stewart British Columbia for support services.

The head of the Portland Canal was first explored in 1896 by Captain David du Bose Gaillard of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the American-Canadian Boundary Dispute. Storehouse No. 4, also known as the Eagle Point Storehouse, was built in 1896 under his supervision. The interior dimensions are 10 by 15 feet (3.0 m × 4.6 m) and its walls are 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45 cm) thick. The reason for its construction is uncertain, but it appears to have been related to asserting territorial ownership over Portland Canal.

The Salmon River is a braided stream that starts at the terminus of the Salmon Glacier in British Columbia and flows south for 14 miles (22 km), across the Alaska-Canada boundary and through Hyder to Portland Canal. The river was named in 1868 by Staff Commander David Pender, of the Royal Navy. In 1898, gold and silver lodes were discovered in the upper Salmon River basin. The Stewart brothers, for whom the British Columbia town was named, arrived in 1902 to work the mines. Hyder was the only practical point of access to the silver mines and the community became the main port for miners by 1917. Hyder’s boom years were the 1920s when the Riverside Mine on the U.S. side extracted gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, and tungsten. The mine operated from 1924 to 1950. By 1956 all significant mining had ceased, except for the Granduc Mine on the Canadian side. Read more here and here. Explore more of Hyder here:


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