Adventurous women from all walks of life joined the Alaska Gold Rush. Some came with their husbands. Many were seeking their own fortune and fame. They came as miners, housewives, businesswomen, teachers, nuns, shopkeepers and entertainers. Some struck it rich! One such woman was a certain Mrs. Willis. She staked a claim that yielded $300,000. Being a wise businesswoman, she also opened a laundry shop.
One of the most famous woman of the gold rush was Klondike Kate, or "The Flame of the Yukon," as she was then known. When she first came to Alaska she was not well known but her famous "flame dance" mesmerized the miners and it wasn't long before this beautiful dancer and actress was hitting the Motherlode in her own style. It is rumored she sometimes made $750 a night, back in 1900. That was certainly a motherlode!
This was rugged country and these women adapted. They bravely followed the men or forged their own path to the gold fields of Alaska.
Today, female gold prospectors play an important role in the prospecting community. Women often have a natural feel for a gold pan and an eye for gold. Hats off to all the gold mining gals out there!