The average wages per day for the workers varied. A flunkie, unskilled worker, would make about $5 a day. A Mucker, miner, would make about $6 a day. A skilled worker, iron worker, would make $7 a day. During the peak of Independence mine there were about 206 men working. This did not include women and children. One of the most important jobs of the camp was the cook, who made $250 a year. He had his own separate living quarters with his family. He had the job of keeping the workers happy with good food everyday. As 1941 continued the reality of World War Two would soon approach the United States. On December 7, 1941 Japanese enemy forces would attack Pearl Harbor and leap the U.S. into WWII. Focus was now turned away from domestic projects and were turned outward towards Europe and Asia. Independence Gold Mine was now decommissioned and its resources were now used for the front line. The mine was using about 1000 gallons of fuel a day to keep the camp running. This was an extremely large amount of fuel. Soon the entire camp was abandoned and would never be brought back to its former glory. After 1946 the band on gold mining was lifted and Independence mine was allowed to prosper once more. There were few attempts to restore the camp but none were very successful. In the late 1970s the lands were donated to the Alaska State Parks, where today they have turned the camp into a Historical Park. . The tour guide showed us through the original buildings. The first building we walked through on the tour was the main hall, which housed the kitchen, main dinning area, and a living area on the upper floors. The large dinning room once held over 200 men, women, and children. We continued walking through other buildings around the complex which gave a great since that this small community were close knit. Even though the Independence Mine stayed open for only a few years, it was a very well oiled machine. To me it felt like a great place to work during a rough time in our countries history. The Great Depression affected almost the entire country, but not the tiny piece of land in the Talkeeta Mountains.
|Remnants of the mine|