Prince of Wales Alaska Rainforest Realty, LLC | Southeast Alaska Real Estate | Homes and Lots for Sale

Southeast Alaska, Prince of Wales Island… realtor Dennis Sylvia happy to help you list or view homes and lots for sale on POW communities such as Coffman Cove, Craig, Hollis, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Klawock, Naukati, Thorne Bay, Whale Pass, and remote properties as well.

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lichtenstadter and mount andrew mine kasaan peninsula

Lichtenstadter and the Mount Andrew Mine

Abundant natural resources have attracted prehistoric native peoples, European explorers/traders, and Americans to Prince of Wales Island. The Island’s has a long history of natural resource development. Mining has been an important part of that history. This blog continues our series of blogs about mining on the Kasaan Peninsula. One of the principal mines on the Peninsula was the Mount Andrew mine. The Mount Andrews mine is located near the communities of Thorne Bay and Kasaan (see location map in Copper Queen blog).


Prince of Wales Copper Ore from the Jumbo Mine. Photo courtesy of  Microsoft Photobucket and John Betts-Fine Minerals Online Mineral Museum.

The Russians, who owned Alaska before 1867, knew of the copper deposits of the Kasaan Peninsula. The first claim was staked in 1867. The Mount Andrew mine has an interesting history of men seeking riches in Alaska. This mine’s tale includes a quest for copper riches by an entrepreneurial miner, shaky partners, an English syndicate’s backing, and plain bad luck in the wilds of Prince of Wales Island in the early 1900’s.

The tale begins…. while coming south from Dawson in 1900, Samuel Lichtenstadter met a

CQ Blog Fig 1 Kasaan Map

Kasaan Penninsula Map with mine location

Captain Crooks while on a boat out of Dawson traveling down the Yukon River. Crooks described how he had found copper ore on Prince of Wales Island in the 1870’s when hunting in the vicinity of Kasaan Bay. Crooks agreed to accompany Lichtenstadter back to Kasaan but died before the boat reached southeast Alaska.

Undaunted, Lichtenstadter hired local prospectors in Ketchikan to help him locate the copper outcropping described by Crooks. Lichtenstadter, together with F.F. Black, Harry Trimble and Joe Johnson, went to Kasaan Bay where they found outcroppings of ore and named the prospect after Lichtenstadter’s backer in England, H.Herbert Andrew. This is believed to have occurred shortly after 1900. The Mount Andrew lron and Copper Company was later formed, with Lichtenstadter as its president. Not unlike what may happen in a similar situation today, obtaining a patent for the claim was delayed due to litigation and claim jumping. However, the company brought the mine online and the first ore, 1,250 tons of it, was shipped in October 1906 to a Tacoma smelter.


Enormous tramway wheel among mining debris and pilings at the Mt Andrew Mine July 1971. Photo courtesy Pat Roppel , Capital City Weekly online.

Mount Andrew was productive from 1906-11 when during the first decade of the 20th century, copper prices soared. The mine is reported to have produced 1973 mt copper, 849 kg silver, and 71 kg gold. Unfortunately for the Mount Andrew Iron and Copper Company, copper supply exceeded demand after World War I and prices fell. There has been no further copper production at the mine since 1918.

However, because of the intense and widespread mineralization on the peninsula, the area has repeatedly been re-examined for copper, iron, and gold, notably during WW II and again since 1990 (including investigations by the US Bureau of Mines and the US Geological Survey). Currently, the Mount Andrew mine is covered by patented claims. The Sealaska Corporation, a native corporation, holds the subsurface rights to the land around the mine.

The Capital City Weekly online magazine (see link at end of paragraph) has an article by Pat Roppel of a July 1971 visit to the Mt Andrew Copper Mine. the article gives additional historical information up to 1968 beyond the period the mine was productive.

Note: featured photo taken from side of mountain on Kasaan Peninsula on logging road in clearcut. Photo by L. Sylvia

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Copper Queen/Baranovich

This is the first in a series of blogs focusing on Prince of Wales (PoW) Island’s geology and its rich mining history. This blog is about Charles Vincent Baranovich, a Dalmatian immigrant, and the Copper Queen Mine thought to be the first lode mine in Alaska. This early PoW mine was developed in copper sulfide deposits on the Kasaan Peninsula (see U.S. Geological Survey map, below). The Kasaan Peninsula is located south of the city of Thorne Bay, on the east side of PoW; Kasaan Bay lies to the south and Clarence Strait to the north and east.

CQ Blog Fig 1 Kasaan Map

Kasaan Penninsula Map

Baranovich, known as “The Slav”, had been bitten by the gold fever of the 1849 California Gold Rush. When the California Gold Rush played out, Baranovich looked north to find his fortune in the gold fields of British Columbia (late 1850’s). In 1865, Baranovich obtained a trading permit from the Russian American Company to trade in Kasaan Bay where he built a trading post. At this time, Alaska still was owned by Russia but the Hudson’s Bay Company (British) controlled much of the trade with coastal natives from its hub at Fort Wrangell to the northeast.

Baranovich’s interest in prospecting led him to continue to explore the area around his trading post where he located a copper deposit. He was the first to find copper-bearing rock on the Kasaan Peninsula. Development of the copper deposit, which became the Copper Queen Mine, and later development of a salmon saltery (see Baranovich’s saltery

CQ Blog Fig 3BaronovichSalmonSaltery

Baronovich’s Salmon Saltery

image, right) at this location largely were responsible for relocation of the Haida native village of Kasaan from Skowl Arm, situated to the south, to this site, today’s Haida native village of Kasaan.

The Copper Queen Mine subsequently changed hands several times – from San Francisco capitalists, to British Columbia businessmen, and to New Haven businessmen who formed the Kasaan Bay Mining Company. The Kasaan Bay Mining Company sunk a shaft and developed several rich copper pyrite ore bodies in the area. The company also built a store and salmon saltery in New Kasaan. In 1903, mining and saltery operations were closed down due to the company’s financial plight. The company’s assets were sold at a receiver’s sale in 1904. The story of the Copper Queen ends with its sale to an unknown purchaser in 1907 with 50 tons of ore still at the mine dump. The Copper Queen’s story fades from here.


Charles V Baronovich and family

The Copper Queen was not the largest copper mine on Prince of Wales or even on the Kasaan Peninsula. It never fulfilled Charles Baranovich’s dream of riches. However. the story of the Copper Queen Mine is a part of Kasaan Peninsula’s rich history involving native Haida, Russian, English, and American influence in the cultural melting pot that is Prince of Wales Island.

[Sources: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 345, Wright, et al., 1908; U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 87, Wright 1915; U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1090, Warner, et al, 1961; Fortunes From the Earth, Roppel,1991;  U.S. Bureau of Mines Open File Report 81-92, Maas, et al, 1992; Sit News, Kiffer, 2006.]

Note:  The financial plight of the Copper Queen was due to mining operations being no longer economically feasible.  Due to water flooding the lower levels of the mine, the miners were pumping water out of the mine until early afternoon resulting in actual productive mining for a couple of hours.  The increased cost of production, lowered production, plus the cost of copper extraction were not helped by the decreasing value of copper resulting in the decision to close the mine.