The first Independence Lode gold claims were discovered in in the Willow Creek Mining District at Hatcher Pass in 1906. The most productive of these mines were Independence Mine and the Alaska Free Gold Mine, which were operated by a variety of companies until 1935, when Alaska-Pacific Mines, Inc. leased both mines. Operations began there in 1936, with the Wasilla Mining Company running the operations at Independence Mine. In 1937, Alaska-Pacific Mines, Inc. purchased Independence Mine and continued to lease the Alaska Free Gold Mine from the Alaska Free Gold Mining Company. The following year, Alaska-Pacific Mines, Inc. merged with the Wasilla Mining Company to form the Alaska-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company (APCMCo.), eventually operating the Independence, Martin, Free Gold, and Ready Bullion mines. APCMCo. became the largest-producing hard rock gold mining operation in the Willow Creek Mining District, the second largest in Alaska, and the eleventh largest in the United States. The top production year for APCMCo.’s claims was 1941, but gold mining efforts ceased during World War II when the U.S. War Production Board designated gold-mining as a non-essential activity for the war effort. APCMCo. continued to mine for scheelite at Independence Mine until 1943 and mill and process ore until 1945. APCMCo. briefly re-opened full operations at Independence Mine in 1946 and 1949 but officially closed all operations in 1951. In 1980, the State of Alaska acquired the mine buildings and 271 surrounding acres, and the Independence Mine State Historic Park officially opened in 1982.
The titles of collections below are links to the full collection descriptions and inventories of those collections. Please click on the links to review more complete descriptions of the collections. This is not a comprehensive list of collections with materials related to the Hatcher Pass area. Please also keyword search mine names and place names on the main Archives page or using the Search our collections box on this page for a more complete look at our collections.
For additional collections relating to mining across Alaska, see our guide to Mining Collections.
The following collections have a smaller volume of materials on Independence Mine, Willow Creek Mining District, and Hatcher Pass than the APCMC records and the Stoll family papers.