Treadwell was a community on the northeast coast of Douglas Island on Gastineau Channel, about 1.2 miles (1.9 km) southeast of Douglas and 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of Juneau, Alaska. It was named for John Treadwell, who arrived in Juneau in 1881 and mined in the Gold Creek area. Later the same year he organized the Treadwell Gold Mining Company. In 1889 he sold his interests and left Alaska.
The Treadwell Mine operated from 1882 to 1922 and during its peak years was the world’s largest gold mine. The Treadwell Glory Hole was an open-pit mine that resulted in an enormous hole now partly filled with water. A massive cave-in occurred in 1917 resulting in the closing of three of the Treadwell mines. The fourth ceased operation in 1922.
The bustling Treadwell wharf at Douglas served steamships, freighters, and ferries. The Pump House was constructed in 1914 at the end of a pier 600 feet (183 m) long. The building’s three centrifugal pumps lifted 2,700 gallons (10,220 l) of water a minute from Gastineau Channel and the salt water was used to flush mill tailings back to the shoreline. There is now an 80 acre (32 ha), 2 miles (3.2 km) long sand beach consisting mostly of mine tailings from the Treadwell. The Pump House is one of the few remaining structures and serves as a visual reminder of the area’s rich mining history. Read more here and here. Explore more of Treadwell here: