Telegraph Hill LbNA # 55275
|Placed Date||Jul 30 2010|
This is one of two letterboxes that are within walking distance of the cruise ship docks in downtown Juneau, Alaska. The Telegraph Hill letterbox is hidden near West Portal to the Goldstein Adit of the Bonanza Lode Mine, the just across the street from Juneau's Centennial Hall and only a block away from the Alaska State Museum.
Telegraph Hill, now better known as Telephone Hill, was a portion of the location of the Bonanza Lode Mine, originally staked in 1886 by O.L. Sandstone and Louis Catto. The claim was huge, running beneath all of Telegraph Hill and on to where the Governor's House now stands, including parts of the block where the state Capitol is located. Catto didn't do his required assessment work and forfeited his interest to Sandstone, who sold a 5/8 interest in the claim to I. Nado and 3/8 interest to A. Goldstein in December 1888. Between 1888 and 1894, Anna Goldstein acquired the remaining 5/8 interest from Nado, becoming the sole owner. The original discovery is believed to have been on the outcrop just off Willoughby Avenue, now flanked by a parking garage, the Goldbelt Hotel, and the state Archives building.
In early 1894, when Juneauites raised money for a townsite survey and applied for a townsite patent, Mrs. Goldstein filed a protest to the patent and announced that she would seek a mineral patent to the Bonanza. If successful she would receive title to the surface of the claim as well as the minerals. The word was that she would assess everyone who owned real property above the claim; there were many lawsuits. An article from the Daily Alaska Dispatch, June 18, 1901, reported: "The tunnel which extends in on the Goldstein bonanza lode claim, and was driven from near the beach back of the court house reservation, is now the scene of considerable activity. The citizens' committee made up of property owners on whose property the alleged claim has thrown litigation are now actively engaged in clearing out the tunnel so that the experts can make a test of the ledge to be used in testimony in the cases now pending. The present condition of the tunnel is now bad. The property owners expect to make a satisfactory showing that the rock carries no gold values." District Court Judge Melville Brown decided in 1902 that there was no mineral bearing rock in the tunnel, and that the claim was not on a lode.
Start at the SEAlaska Building, a 4- or 5-story office building on Egan Drive, between Seward and Main Streets. You'll see the long, blue, shed-like building that houses shops and the Hangar Restaurant across the street. Cross Main Street and walk along Egan Drive, past the bus terminal. Continue walking past the front of the Goldbelt Hotel, bearing right when you come to Willoughby Avenue. Just beyond the hotel, at the base of Telegraph Hill, you'll see the boarded-up and padlocked entrance to a tunnel—the West Portal to the Goldstein Adit. The letterbox—a snap-lock container covered with camouflage tape—is hidden under a squarish, flat piece of concrete at the lower right-hand side of the door. Enjoy!