This Day in Alaska History-August 2nd, 1924

On August 2nd, 1924, a fire broke out in the power plant in Kennicott, the world’s leading producer of copper in the world.

The steam-powered power plant produced electricity for the mines in the mountains, the  Bonanza, Jumbo, Mother Lode, and Erie, as well as for the town that had sprung up to house and care for all of the mine workers and their families.

The power plant, innovative for its time, heated all of the homes in the town and even supplied steam to keep the streets and sidewalks snow-free year-round.

The power plant was quickly rebuilt and was once again operational within a year.

But, while the new plant was once again supplying electricity and heat for the mines and the town, copper deposits began to dwindle and within the decade petered out.

By 1938, the ore deposits were depleted and the mining town that sported railroads and steamships that had been brought in piece by piece by dogsled turned into a ghost town.

Kennicott was bought up by the National Park Service in 1998 and the rebuilt power plant is one of the most popular tour for tourists in the state.