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17 January 2015

Yukon and Alaska Bound, Part 24. Keno City, Yukon


Drive up to Keno City and visiting the town


Panorama of a river and landscape
Panorama of landscape you will see if you visit Keno City
Wilderness picture with a river
Love this landscape
We visited Keno City and Keno Hill, Yukon, the 12th of July 2014. This is a visit back in time, a story of gold and silver and of boom and bust.



The Swedish born John Kinman staked gold claims in Keno already in 1909.



In 1919 he found silver ore and staked a claim on the site of current day Keno City.



Panorama close to the old mining site of Elsa
Panorama close to the old mining site of Elsa
Sign of Keno Cabins, newly built.
Keno Cabins, newly built.

One of many old vehicals
One of many old vehicles

a small cabin
If the walls only could talk and tell the story.

Keno City Hotel
Keno City Hotel

Liz inside the museum.
At the same time Louis Bouvette staked a rich silver ore deposit on Keno Hill. By the 1920s Keno City and area was a humming silver mining town with a hotel and all other amenities a mining town needs.



Teamsters on huge wagons hauled the silver ore to the paddle wheelers in Mayo Landing. From 1945 to 1989 nearby Elsa produced 150 million ounces of Silver, 490 million pounds of Lead, and 370 million pounds of Zink. Elsa was the top silver producer in Canada during that time.



Today driving on the gravel road to Keno City we went by the defunct settlement of Elsa. Now closed to the public. Homes and apartment blocks stand empty and sad. Commercial mining junk is everywhere.


Keno City is different. Keno City today has about 15 residents.

We met some of them, they are wonderful people. They are a pro-active and resilient group. Together they collected and preserved some of the equipment, tools, memorabilia, and photographs of the boom time in their interesting Keno City Mining Museum. The museum is in the old, now renovated Jackson Hall, the old community centre from the 1920's.



Visiting the museum, we experienced a look back to the boom time mining era with its mechanical innovations, equipment, tools, but also the hardships of the miners.



Today, the man in charge of the Museum, once he closes at 6 pm, he opens up the pub at 6:15.



Another man, in his 1960's station wagon was busy all day watering the flowers and plants growing around town. He did not talk or looked at us.



Across the street from the pub, the Keno Hotel is under renovations and back in business? The note on the door said back in 5 minutes, we waited a half an hour and nobody came back.



Anders talking to Sonia
Anders talking to Sonia

The old church, now also serves as a library.
The old church, now also serves as a library.

Keno City Mining Museum
Keno City Mining Museum

Old compressors.
Old compressors.

This contraption was walked on it's own power from Dawson City to Keno
This contraption was walked on it's own power from Dawson City to Keno

An old wagon
An old wagon, look at its height!

The glass house, made from glass bottles.
The glass house, made from glass bottles.

Sign at Mike's
Sign at Mike's place....., he has a dog named Lucky...

Mike and Anders. Pizza is coming!
Mike and Anders....... Pizza is coming!
We talked to Sonia, a local artist originally from Vancouver, now married to a trapper, running a trap line in the McQuesten Lake area, he is also a silver smith.




She showed us her beautifully renovated home, and smiled and spread her genuine warmth and welcome.




She recommended to go for lunch at Mike's Snack Bar.




Mike Mancini is the soul of today's Keno City. Born in Italy, he immigrated with his parents to this mining town as a child.





Mike is the owner, operator of the snack bar. He serves fantastic pizzas and all the oral history of the area. Just make sure you have time to listen and enjoy.




It was at Mike's place we ran into some clients from Victoria, now living in Dawson City.




They were the only other clients all day! We shared our pizza and had a good visit.




Mike said we had to drive up Keno Hill. I am glad we have a truck with good traction and clearance.




The 10.5 km trail is really a rubble track and river bed. Not recommended for regular cars! Please see our next blog about Keno Hill.




Have a look at some more pictures from Keno City and the drive up.











































































































>>>NEXT>>> post in this series.

Here are some shortcuts to all the blogs post from our Yukon and Alaska Trip. Just hover over the number to see where it will take you.

  1,    2,    3,    4,    5,    6,    7,    8,    9,  10

11,  12,  13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20

21,  22,  23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  28,  29,  30

31,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36,  37,  38,  39,  40

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