An unrecorded Klondike Gold Rush promotional map

MAP OF ALASKA CAREFULLY PREPARED FROM UNITE STATES GOVERNMENT MAPS, SHOWING THE KLONDIKE GOLD DISTRICT. Buffalo: Niagara Lith. Co., [1897].
Chromolithograph, 23.5" x 14.5" plus margins.
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A striking and unrecorded 1897 map of Alaska, issued by an eastern railroad attempting to cash in on gold fever at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. Owned in partnership with James Arsenault & Company.

The map embraces Alaska, the westernmost portion of the North West Territory (including what would become Yukon Territory the following year), Northwestern British Columbia, and the vicinities of Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. The gold field region along the Alaska-Canada border is identified in bold red letters, as is the Klondike region. At the center of the Klondike Region lies the Klondike River and various tributaries with such evocative names as “All Gold Ck.,” “Too-Much-Gold Cr.,” and “Bonanza Cr.”

Three steam-boat routes from Seattle are shown: two leading to Dyea and Skaguay, connecting with trails to Dawson City (1437 miles in total); and another more circuitous route from Seattle to Dutch Harbor (on the Alaskan Peninsula), through to St. Michael’s Island, near the mouth of the Yukon River. The route then follows the river all the way to the Klondike (a total of 4,770 miles). The Northern Pacific Railroad is shown leading north from Portland to Tacoma, Seattle, and Vancouver, extending as a “proposed railway” through Ft. Selkirk to the Klondike Region, then running due west to Cape Prince of Wales on the Bering Strait.

Text below the map indicates that it was “Carefully Prepared From United States Government Maps” and is “Presented by the Passenger Department of the Popular Nickel Plate.” Three insets feature the stylized Nickel Plate emblem, depicting an oncoming locomotive with a train-route map situated above it, including its various stops. The New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad, commonly referred to as the Nickel Plate Road, extended from Boston and New York to Chicago. Those headed to the Klondike on the Nickel Plate would have proceeded via a connecting line from Chicago to the Northern Pacific Railroad, then on to Seattle.

Also below the map is a “Statistical Information” section opening with the following remark: “A few months ago the name Klondike was unknown; now it is a household word…it stands for the most sensational discovery of GOLD of recent times, perhaps for all time.” The text covers various routes to Alaska and the Klondike region, detailing steamer routes and trails, and incorporating a table of distances. The trails are given particularly detailed attention. Other subjects covered include outfits, packing, climate, fares (to and from the various points of departure), and trading companies, which have posts at the main points in the mining regions. In closing, it is noted that “new transportation lines and commercial companies are currently being organized and put into operation” that will be implemented by the 1st of January, 1898—provided there is still a strong popular demand.

In sum, a fine and apparently unrecorded Klondike Gold Rush-era promotional, featuring interesting text, striking design, and vibrant chromolithographic color.

References
Not in OCLC, Antique Map Price Record or Rare Book Hub.

Condition

Very good, some mends and reinforcements on verso and restoration to small loss in upper left margin, all expertly done and all-but invisible.