The Langlow Family
in Alaska and the Yukon

Jack London's Pensionat

The Langlows now planned to expand their work very much at the Eldorado. What they needed the most were workers and living quarters. They wrote to their relatives and friends on the "outside", saying that if they had a desire to cone there would be work to get, but much more they did not offer, but that was enough. There always would be a group that would tempt their luck. In the meantime, it was necessary to build a house, first for himself, and afterwards for the workers that he needed. The houses that they built at this time in Klondyke usually contained only one roan, at the most two. But the Langlos aimed at one with four rooms. It was fortunate that they had a little knowledge of building from their home. In the woods close by they found enough timber. They set up a sawmill and cut off one side of the log, that which should be on the inside. The corners they laid together the best way they had learned. The houses were so fine that they put on bark roofs, which was something really special there. The birch woods they also had close at hand, and they hurried to debark it at the right time, such as they had learned in their childhood. Fortunately, they got ahold of some window panes. The usual thing was to make a square hole in the wall and fill it with empty bottles, alternating the bottles in such a way that the tops fit into the bottoms.

Besides all this, this was the only house for a long time in Eldorado that was cared for by a woman. So, it was no wonder that this home became a gathering place for both natives and strangers. Of the last-mentioned group, the most important man was a newspaper man by the name of Joaquin Miller, or "Mr. Walking'.', which they usually called him here. Little did the Langlows realize, every time that they gave him a meal , that their own dear Jack later should become known all over the whole world, through his picturesque writings about the people that he met in their house and on the outside. But at the same time, they realized that while he had written about them, there were many sides of the life of a gold digger that he had not considered. News and bookman Joaquin Miller -. alias Jack London - he was and always would be, all his life; a real tramp, a walker without roots. He never took a pick or shovel in his hands and never went down into the deep mines with the gold diggers. He never stood beside the men when, with shaking hands, they picked up the glittering stones which would decide their fortunes for a long time.


Here we have an understandable confusion as to the identity of their visitor and oft-times guest, Joaquin Miller, the poet of the Sierras, sent to the Klondike as correspondent for the Hearst San Francisco paper. He was not the better-known and ultimate author of Alaskan stories, Jack London. Miller, with inadequate equipment and supplies, by December of 1897 was ailing physically, was destitute and dependent upon the charity of others. Berton. He had a reputation as a sponger, but he paid with sparkling conversation and original poetry. No doubt he went often to the hospitable cabin at Eldorado 12 until he left Dawson for good, in June of 1898. (Ref: Wagner)

On the other hand, Jack London was at Dawson only in October and November of 1897 and in May of 1898. There is no evidence that he ever visited any of the mines in the area, probably due to his being afflicted with scurvy. (Ref: Walker)

Many friends and relatives did respond to the call for help at the mine. We have a group picture of the family at their 1897 Christmas dinner:
The three Langlow brothers, also Ingeborg and Marie and Peter (Hjorthol) Iversen, a brother-in-law. The latter had left San Francisco August 4, 1897, arriving at Dawson September 29. There is a detailed story of this trip, over the Chilkoot and down the Yukon in the Kjolas book.

Unfortunately at this late date, it is not possible to identify all of the friends and relatives who were at Eldorado and the nearby mines, nor to ascertain how and when they came. Peter Hale, John A. Peterson and Gust Anderson, who had a family affiliation through marriage, were in the Klondike in 1897 or later. They may 'have worked at Eldorado 12 during their sojourn in the far north. Later, all three became proprietors of Puyallup Valley farms.

Peter Iversen, with his wife (our Aunt Gina) and their two infant children, Anne and Ingvald, were at Claim 23 Gold Run Creek in 1899 and 1900. Afterwards, they established a general mercantile business in North Puyallup.

Under date of July 26, 1898, a "lay" agreement was executed by Louis and Jens, leasing the lower half of Claim 12 to Peter Iversen and to Nils N. Waldal and Nils S. Waldal, the latter two being uncle and brother of Ingeborg. Recently, it was learned through an unpublished private diary that Carl Waldal, the youngest brother of Ingeborg made the trip over Chilkoot Pass in 1898.

Rasmus Emdal , who made the trip north in the Iversen party in 1897 and who worked at the Opsvik-Langlow wine at Bonanza 17 from 1897 to 1899, states that the owners left Dawson in 1898 to go to Tacoma and then made a trip to Norway. They returned to the mine in the spring of 1899, at which time Emdal 's job at Bonanza was over. (Ref: Kjolas, pages 88-90)

We can assume that the various Langlow gold claims were sold in 1899 or 1900 at a time when large mining corporations began operating huge dredges in the Klondike mining district.

There is no further reference to Eldorado 12 in the Kjolas book. There is so much more that would be of interest. How did they house, feed and equip their men? How did they sink the shafts and sluice the pay dirt? How did they safeguard the gold and transport it to the assay office or bank? How costly was the undertaking in relation to the gold recovered? These and many other questions come to mind.

An occasional undated photograph of the claim shows use of horses, also of steam and perhaps hydraulic pressure in the mining process. We can conclude that Eldorado Claim 12 and 12A was a "million dollar" mine, but it must have been a very costly operation in such isolated and frozen terrain.

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