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Juneau, Alaska, Photo Album

An Explorer's Guide to Juneau, Alaska

Historic Postcards of Juneau

Click on each photo to enlarge it
These images are all © 2014 by Murray Lundberg.

The view up Taku Inlet to the Taku Glacier, Alaska The view up Taku Inlet to the Taku Glacier and beyond is stunning. I was out in the open on Deck 15 on the Coral Princess in late June when I took this shot. A guy I saw sitting in Horizon Court with a huge camera on his table came tearing up the stairs to capture the scene but by then the best was past. Some scenes give you time to react like that but most don't. You're either on an open deck or you miss it.

Sandy Beach, Juneau, Alaska As you sail up Gastineau Channel towards Juneau, Douglas Island is on your port side. Sandy Beach, part of which is seen in this photo, was created by the tailings from the huge Treadwell gold mine, which produced over 3 million ounces of gold between 1881 and 1922. By 1917, the Treadwell as well as the 700-Foot and Mexican mines were tunnelling to depths of more than 2,000 feet below sea level along the channel. That year, a fissure suddenly opened up and flooded all 3 mines, shutting down most of the operations, though production on a small scale continued for another 5 years.

Douglas Harbor, Juneau, Alaska Douglas Harbor was created in 1962 between Mayflower Island, to the left, and Douglas Island, after burning down the Tlingit Indian village that was there. Its current status is quite controversial. As well as the Tlingits who want compensation, a 2008 plan to dredge the harbor was blocked because it was discovered that the sand and gravel contains high levels of mercury, as well as arsenic and cyanide, so can't be dumped in the channel as has been done in the past.

Cruise ship Seven Seas Mariner docked at Juneau, Alaska One of the world's most luxurious cruise ships, the Seven Seas Mariner, is seen docked at the South Franklin Street Dock in Juneau, below the ruins of the Alaska-Juneau (AJ) Mine's Gastineau Mill. See our historic postcard collection for photos of what the mill looked like when it was operating. The Seven Seas Mariner, which carries only 700 passengers, was the first all-suite, all-balcony cruise ship to be built - she entered service with Regent Seven Seas Cruises in March 2001.

Mural on the dock in Juneau, Alaska On the dock at Juneau is a large "map/mural" of the world, made with steel and copper nails pounded into the dock (you can see it on the enlarged photo, in the wood around the forklift). The dock activity upon arrival or prior to departure is always interesting to watch.

Float plane base in Juneau, Alaska Taku Glacier Lodge is a very popular destination - that's where all of these Turbo Otters will be going. The blue building above them was the home of Alaska Coastal Airlines in the 1940s and is now the Merchants Wharf Mall. Its most popular resident is certainly The Hangar, a pub/restaurant that gets very busy, because of the view, the atmosphere and the quality of the food.

Governor's Mansion in Juneau, Alaska Tucked away above the harbor is the Governor's Mansion (at 716 Calhoun Avenue). The home, which now has 10 bathrooms, 6 bedrooms and 8 fireplaces in 14,400 square feet, was originally designed by James Knox Taylor. Territorial Governor Walter Eli Clark and his wife were the first occupants, in 1912.

Steamboat in Juneau, Alaska A mining-history tour on Captain John George's 18-passenger steamboat Laurie Ellen was one of the more unique excursions available in Juneau. She has a single-pass fire-tube boiler that burns scrap wood, and the canopy is designed to collect rainwater to supply the boiler. She is very similar to the ferries that ran between Juneau and the Douglas Island gold mines a century ago. Unfortunately, the Juneau Steamboat Company was closed in 2013.

A snowy day in Juneau, Alaska Juneau doesn't get a lot of snow normally, but as this photo shot from the waterfront parking garage in late March shows, it does happen.

Alaska's Capital building in Juneau, Alaska Alaska's Capital, built in 1931, now houses the State Legislature, and the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Thirty-minute tours are offered throughout the summer, mid-May through mid-September.

Baranof Hotel, Juneau, Alaska One of the classic buildings in downtown Juneau is the 190-room Baranof Hotel, built in 1939 and now part of the Westmark chain of Alaska hotels. Of particular note, the elegant art-deco public areas are home to original artwork by famous Alaska artists Sydney Laurence and Eustace Ziegler.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska The Red Dog Saloon is the most famous of the colourful drinking establishments in Juneau. It's only been in its current highly-visible location since 1988 when it was moved intact from a couple of blocks up Franklin Street. As recently as 2012, the saloon was expanded slightly to accommodate the hordes of tourists who come in when the cruise ships arrive. One of the notable pieces of memorabilia hanging on the walls is a pistol that Wyatt Earp checked and then didn't claim before he left for the goldfields of Nome. If you ring the bell on the left of this photo, you're buying a round for the house - in the summer that could get very expensive!

Franklin Street, Juneau, Alaska Franklin Street, the main business street in downtown Juneau, on a rainy day in late March.

Winter on South Franklin Street in Juneau, Alaska Most of the businesses along South Franklin Street focus on cruise ship passengers, and are closed in the winter, so it becomes a very quiet area.

Juneau, Alaska Probably the most famous piece of art in Juneau is a bronze statue of a bull terrier named Patsy Ann. She was brought to Juneau as a pup in 1929, and soon became a well-known character, mostly because, although she was born deaf, she never failed to be at the dock when a ship arrived. Mayor Izzy Goldstein dubbed Patsy Ann "Official Greeter of Juneau, Alaska" in 1934. She died in 1942, and the statue now stands about where she did for so many years.

Hardrock miners statue in Juneau, Alaska This bronze sculpture honouring Juneau's mining past was created by Juneau artist Ed Way, and was erected on the waterfront in 1981, the 100th anniversary of the city's founding. It shows hard rock gold miners working underground using a jack drill. The dedication panel says in part: "Dedicated to the men whose work provided the lifeblood of Juneau during the first six decades. In the late 1800s compressed machine drills replaced hand drills as principal tools of hard rock miners. This development allowed them to handle great quantities of ore at an acceptable low cost. The Alaska-Juneau Mine, which opened in 1897, ceased operating in 1944, bringing an end to an era. The total output of the Juneau goldbelt was over seven million ounces of gold."

Tlingit Indian dancers at Juneau, Alaska A group of Tlingit Indian dancers put on a lengthy performance at the tramway station one sunny July day when I was there, and drew a good crowd. These 2 adorable little guys were having lots of fun being part of it. The donation box the group put out seemed to fill up quite nicely.

Mount Roberts Tramway at Juneau, Alaska The Mount Roberts Tramway, which claims to be Juneau's top attraction, takes people in enclosed gondolas to the 1,800-foot level of the mountain. As well as offering spectacular views, there is a lot to do at the top, from endless hiking trails and art demonstrations, to a bald eagle display and a bar and restaurant.

South Franklin Street, Juneau, Alaska Looking down from the Mount Roberts Tramway to gift-shop-lined South Franklin Street on a busy cruise ship day.

Cruise ships docked at Juneau, Alaska The Diamond Princess and the Oosterdam, docked at the South Franklin Street Dock and the AJ Dock respectively.

Coast Guard Station Juneau, Alaska Coast Guard Station Juneau has been at this location in the main harbor since 1978, when it was moved from Auke Bay. The station typically performs about 50 search and rescue cases annually, 50 escorts of High Capacity Passenger Vessels, and 300 law enforcement boardings, with 4 Response Boats, two each of the standard 25-foot RB-S and 45-foot RB-M vessels. The vessels seen in this photo are commonly termed "lighthouse tenders", though they have many other duties as well.

The view from the upper terminus of the Mount Roberts Tramway at Juneau, Alaska The view from the upper terminus of the Mount Roberts Tramway, looking across Gastineau Channel to Douglas Island, with the Juneau-Douglas Bridge joining Juneau and the island.

Nature Center on Mount Roberts at Juneau, Alaska The Nature Center is located just below treeline, and going through it is the access to many miles of trails, with the main alpine trails leading to Gold Ridge, Gastineau Peak, and the summit of Mount Roberts at 3,810 feet.

View from Mt. Roberts at Juneau, Alaska The higher up Mount Roberts you go, the better the views are. This is looking north past a replica of Father Brown's Cross, which was originally erected by the Jesuit priest who, with with a group of volunteers, built the trail in 1908. Douglas Island is to the left, and the light green area in the distance is the Mendenhall Valley, location of the airport, the main residential area, and the glacier of the same name.

Mine ruins at Juneau, Alaska The Alaska-Juneau (AJ) Mine and Gastineau Mill tour offers visitors the most detailed look at Juneau's gold mining past. The Gastineau Mill started processing ore from the AJ Mine (a.k.a. Perserverence Mine) in 1915, and by the time it closed just 6 years later, it had recovered 500,000 ounces of gold from 12 million tons of ore. The building in this photo was the Railroad Superintendent's home.

Gastineau Mill ruins at Juneau, Alaska One of the many ore chutes that can still be seen in the massive concrete-and-steel ruins of the Gastineau Mill. The mill, which used used gyratory, jaw, and roll crushers, as well as tube mills to crush the ore rather than the stamps normally used at that time, was designed to process 6,000 tons of ore per day, but instead processed 12,000 tons per day at less than the projected cost.

Underground at the Alaska-Juneau Mine, Alaska A walk into the 360-foot-long conveyor tunnel, set up as it would have been if this was an operating part of the gold mine, gives a glimpse at how hard life would have been for hardrock miners almost a century ago.

Watching the big game on MUTS at Juneau, Alaska There may be a vast array of activities for cruise ship passengers in the Juneau area, but for some folks, you can't beat relaxing in a hot tub while watching the big game on MUTS (Movies Under the Stars), the 300-square foot, 69,000-watt poolside screen on the Coral Princess.

Aurora Basin boat harbor, Juneau, Alaska The view over the Aurora Basin boat harbor and Gastineau Channel to Douglas Island from my room at the Breakwater Inn.

Juneau, Alaska Visiting the Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most popular activities in Juneau, for locals as we as visitors. This 2½-mile-long river of ice is one of the 38 large glaciers that flow from the the Juneau Icefield, a 1500 square mile expanse of ice, snow and rock. This is the view from the Mendenhall Visitor Center. For cruise ship passengers, the Photo Point Trail is most heavily used of the trails here - it runs about 600 yards to the end of the peninsula in the center of the photo.

Juneau, Alaska The Mendenhall Visitor Center sits on a glacier-carved outcropping of granite, with a great view of the glacier. It can be accessed by stairs, ramps or an elevator, and the film and exhibits inside do a very good job of explaining the formation of glaciers in general, their life and death (most including Mendenhall are currently retreating and may some day no longer exist), and the plants and animals that live around it.

Alaska Glacier bear The Glacier Bear, sometimes called a blue bear, is a rather rare colour phase of black bears, Ursus americanus. The colour of individual bears ranges from a silvery-blue to gray, and isn't consistent - a black-coloured bear can have glacier-coloured young, and vice-versa. Because the colour is only found in Southeast Alaska, primarily in the Glacier Bay area, they have been recognized as a subspecies, Ursus americanus emmonsii. The unfortunate young bear seen in the Mendenhall Visitor Center was hit by a car near Juneau in 1998.

The route to Nugget Falls at the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska Nugget Falls, a large waterfall very near the face of the Mendenhall Glacier, has long been enticing people to get a closer look, but until 2011, the route to it involved navigating slippery granite slopes and flooded channels, and it was mostly locals who made the half-hour trek.

Nugget Falls Trail at the Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska The new trail to Nugget Falls is very nice, and draws a lot of people. This section of elevated boardwalk running through an old glacial meltwater channel is the most impressive part of the trail, which has several smaller bridges.

Nugget Falls and the Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska This was Nugget Falls before the new trail was built - it's a very busy spot now. There's no access route from here to the glacier.

Waterfall at the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska This waterfall makes it very easy to see how far the Mendenhall Glacier has receded in recent years - it used to flow from under the glacier.

Auke Bay and the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska A busy day in Auke Bay, with the Mendenhall Glacier and peaks that reach almost 5,500 feet (1,675 meters) providing an impressive background. The largest boat is carrying cruise ship passengers on a whale-watching tour. This photo was shot on May 22nd.

Juneau, Alaska Fishing in Auke Bay on June 5th, with the Mendenhall Glacier dominating the view.

Auke Bay and the Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska A similar view of Auke Bay to the ones above, but shot on September 7th. Those peaks would vey soon be covered with snow again.

Alaska state ferry Matanuska near Juneau The Alaska state ferry Matanuska (named after the Matanuska Glacier is seen departing from Juneau, northbound to Haines and Skagway.

Sea Lions near Point Retreat Lighthouse, Alaska Steller Sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) rest on a buoy in front of the Point Retreat Lighthouse, at the north end of 90-mile-long Admiralty Island. The first lighthouse was built at that location in 1904 (the 10th to be built in Alaska), and the current structure dates to 1924. It has been owned by the Alaska Lighthouse Association since 2002, and in 2004 a new lantern room was built, as the original had been removed, probably in 1973 when it became unmanned, and couldn't be found.

Humpback whale near Juneau, Alaska Although populations are endangered or depleted in many areas of the world, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are abundant in the Juneau area, and most whale watching tour operators guarantee that you see some. They can be up to 60 feet long (18 meters), and females are larger than males. They are well known for their long pectoral fins (up to 15 feet (4.6 meters) in length) - the scientific name means "big-winged New Englander".

Krill at Juneau, Alaska When you're on a whale-watching tour, it's fine to hear that humpbacks are baleen whales who filter great quantities of water for such things as krill which they eat. It's much better to have your captain (Larry in this case) net a bunch of krill so you can have a close look at them. It's hard to imagine how many million of them a whale must eat in a day.

Shrine of St. Therese, Juneau, Alaska The Shrine of St. Therese, overlooking Lynn Canal, is a wonderful place to spend some calm time on a busy tour day. The lovely little stone chapel seen in this photo was built in 1938. It was named for St. Therese of Lisieux, known as "the Little Flower of Jesus", who was canonized as St. Therese of the Child Jesus on May 17, 1925, and was declared Queen and Patroness of Alaska.

Eaglecrest Ski Area, Alaska Even when this photo was shot on June 5th, the Eaglecrest Ski Area, just 12 miles from downtown Juneau, had abundant snow, and some people were snowboarding. Runs here go from Easy to Double-Diamond (expert).

Tracy Arm, Alaska Tracy Arm, a particularly spectacular fjord located about 50 miles south of Juneau, is a fairly popular location for cruise ships to pop into for a couple of hours. Named after the Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Franklin Tracy, it is one of the two largest fjords in the Tracy Arm - Ford's Terror Wilderness, the other one being Endicott Arm. Ford's Terror is a smaller fjord off Endicott Arm.

Sawyer Glacier, Alaska There are two glaciers at the head of Tracy Arm (see this map), the Sawyer Glacier, seen in this photo, and the South Sawyer Glacier. Most of the large cruise ships only get a glimpse, if any view at all, of either of the glaciers, whose rapid retreating dumps a lot of ice into the narrow channel. The Sawyer Glacier is retreating up the bay at about 85 feet per year, while the South Sawyer is losing over 300 feet of ice per year.

Mendenhall Glacier and Valley, Alaska The Mendenhall Glacier and Valley, from a small Wings of Alaska plane headed for Skagway on March 30th after spending a couple of days in Juneau for a conference.

Aerial view of the Mendenhall Valley at Juneau, Alaska The Mendenhall Glacier and Valley, and the Juneau International Airport, in mid July. On this flight, we were on our way back to Skagway after spending a weekend in Juneau to take a small-boat Tracy Arm cruise.

Aerial view of Lynn Canal, Alaska When most people go flightseeing at Juneau, they fly over various parts of the massive Juneau Icefields, but even a scheduled small-plane flight up Lynn Canal between Juneau and Skagway offers incredible views.