By Bob Harner
Once the Excelsior docked in San Francisco in July 1897 and a handful of newly rich miners disembarked with sacks of gold nuggets, the Canadian Klondike Gold Rush was underway. By spring of 1898, more than 30,000 would-be prospectors and entrepreneurs (most from the U.S.) were building boats at the Yukon River for the 600-mile voyage to the gold fields.
As early as January 1898, Arizona and Prescott were already gripped by gold fever. In a single month, the Prescott Weekly Courier reported multiple departures for the Yukon, along with other related news. For example, the January 7 edition states: “Peter Wenn, who has for a long time been in the employ of Goldwater Bros., has resigned his position with that firm and anticipates a starting for Dawson...next Wednesday. May he strike it rich.”