A Gold Rush Town On The Yukon River

In 1906 gold was discovered on Ruby creek which brought more prospectors to the area. When word leaked out in 1910 about the discovery of gold on Long Creek, some 30 miles south of Ruby, it sparked a gold rush. New discoveries were then reported almost daily and continued through the following years. In 1912 gold was found on Greenstone and Poorman Creeks, in 1914 on Swift Creek and in 1920 on Moose Creek. Ruby became the supply center for mines in the area. Total gold production for the Ruby area through 1960 was about 390,000 ounces. Alaska's largest gold nugget, 294 ounces, was found in 1998 in the Ruby area at Swift Creek Mine.


*Compare Ruby then (1917) and now (2006) with side by side pictures.

*Genealogy-Ruby Residents1907 to WW2  

*Business in Ruby's early days 

*Fraternal Organizations, Churches and Schools    

*Placer deposits map of the Ruby mining district  

*Ruby Historic Photo Collections

*History of Alaska's trails and the gold mining towns that they connected.

*Visiting Ruby today.

*Mineral reports for the Ruby Mining District

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By summer of 1911 a tent city and a few wood frame buildings had sprung up. The city of Ruby was offically founded in January of 1912 and incorporated January 13, 1913. The name was actually a mistake as the early miners thought the red rocks (garnets) found in the streams were Rubies. In it's early days Ruby was sometimes called, "The Gem of the Yukon." Another nickname for Ruby was "The Hub of Alaska" for it's location in the near geographical center of the state.  

At it's peak Ruby had a population close to 3,000 with as many as 5000 people in the area. Ruby had electric lights, telephone, stores, outfitters, two newspapers, a post office, two lumber mills, hotels, a movie house and a show hall. There was scheduled barge and riverboat service. For a few years Ruby rivaled Fairbanks as the center of civilization in Alaska.

The following pictures are owned by Alaska Digital Archives. See many more pictures of early Ruby and Alaska on their web site.

1912, 1st Ave in Ruby. Note the electric street lights. Except for the dirt streets it was quite a modern town in it's day.
In 1911 there were still many tents but Ruby was seeing a building boom. The barge anchored near shore was the Northern Commercial Co. store until early in 1912.
By 1917 Ruby had seen a lot of development. The large white colored building in the lower middle of the photo is the Northern Commercial CO. store and warehouse. Below that, near the water, is Simon's sawmill one of two in Ruby.

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Copyright © 2006 - 2012 W. Larson