Hope and Sunrise | Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council
Hope, Alaska - Alaska's Friendliest Town Hope and nearby Sunrise sprang up in 1895 as supply centers for miners who stampeded to the area during the Turnagain Arm Gold Rush. Business was brisk at Hope in 1898, so the Alaska Commercial Company opened a store. In 1902, miner Ed Crawford built a cabin that would, beginning in 1904, serve as Hope's first school house. The community came together to build a social hall in 1902, one that still serves as the town's community center. The bustling town was reportedly home to "200 men, 2 white women, and 1 native woman." These numbers did not include the hundreds of prospectors scattered throughout the creek drainages in the area, looking to make it rich in gold country. The mining district was growing crowded. Most of the best claims had already been staked. So when new of the Klondike gold strike arrived, many prospectors headed for the Yukon. Miners that stayed worked first with pick and shovel and later with hydraulic mining equipment. The larger mining operations provided paying jobs but drove away many small independent miners. By 1906, the Hope and Sunrise districts had produced more than $1 million in gold but the boom was over. Only 35-40 people wintered in Hope in 1910-1911. Unlike Sunrise, Hope survived dwindling gold production. Resurrection Creek's sunnier location attracted permanent settlers to take up resident in Hope rather than Sunrise, which sat in the shadow of the Kenai Mountains. Today Hope is considered the best preserved gold rush community in Southcentral Alaska. Many of the historic buildings are still in use. The Hope and Sunrise Historical and Mining Museum is now home to the Bruhn-Ray mining structures that were moved from the Canyon Creek area by the Alaska Department of Transportation. A bunkhouse, blacksmith shop, and barn, restored by the Hope and Sunrise Historical Society, give visitors a flavor of the early years. Hope is currently home to nearly 200 residents and listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. The city of Sunrise is just a memory along the banks of Six Mile Creek. At one time Sunrise was the largest city in Alaska, currently there are 18 people, 9 households residing in the area. http://www.hopeandsunrisehistoricalsociety.org/