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Juneau, Alaska was historically a small mining town,¬†before Alaska became part of the United States. Now, historical spots and 19th-century buildings tell the story of Juneau’s history. You can even visit some of the old miner dwellings and ruins around the city. Learn more about Alaska’s state capital through these historic spots.

Wickersham State Historic Site

The state historic site is one of the first Victorian homes built on “Chicken Ridge” in Juneau. Judge James Wickersham is the man behind Denali National Park, “Home Rule”, The Alaskan Railroad, the University of Alaska and the last inhabitant of the house before it became a historic site. He settled in the house in 1928, which was previously inhabited by gold mining officials. The Judge’s collection of historical diaries, photos, scrapbooks, and artifacts are on display for the public at the house. It’s a great place to tour and learn a bit about Juneau’s history.

Last Chance Mining Museum

Last Chance Mining Museum features mining artifacts from Alaska’s gold rush, rail cars that transported workers to the mines, and the world’s largest air compressor. It’s located in the old Alaska-Juneau Mining Company building and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can hike on the nearby Perseverance¬†Trail and take a look at other mining era ruins and make it a day trip.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum focuses on Juneau’s gold mining days and features historic gold mining artifacts. They also have a seven-foot map that shows the rugged Alaskan terrain in great detail and information on Juneau’s businesses and general history. You get to see local artwork and artifacts from the Tlingit people who inhabited Juneau before it was settled for mining. Right now, they have temporary exhibits on the stories behind ordinary objects in their collection and a Fumi Matsumoto art exhibit.

Shrine of St. Therese

Even if you aren’t a member of the Catholic church, the national shrine of St. Therese is a gorgeous landmark and stone church that is part of the ministry of Catholic Diocese of Juneau. The 75-year old shrine has welcomed visitors of all beliefs from all over the world. St. Therese is the patron saint of Alaska, missionaries, and the Diocese of Juneau. There are several holy grounds to visit while you’re there including the stations of the cross, shrine chapel, and the merciful love labyrinth.

Take a vacation and stay at a Juneau hotel to be surrounded by mining history and beautiful scenery on your next vacation.

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