CNN PRODUCER NOTE Vermont resident thepizzaman visited an abandoned copper mine in Kennicott, Alaska in 1994 with his wife. Deserted since 1938, when the mine's precious ore ran out, the scenery made for an eerie visit. "Everything was left just the way it was," he said. "I took pictures of the grocery store and a hospital where I peeked in windows and could see hospital beds still there. It was incredible, like being in another world." While touring the site, he said he couldn't shake the feeling that those who had lived in the town all those years ago were almost still there. "It was very eerie," he said.
- sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer
These are photos of abandoned buildings in the old copper mining town of Kennicott, Alaska. The history of Kennicott, Alaska began in 1900, when prospectors spotted a patch of green hillside that looked like good grazing ground for their pack horses. The grass, as fate would have it, turned out to be the green glint of copper ore. From that incident, a boom town was born, where 600 workers lived, toiled and played. Within 20 years the strike proved to be the richest known concentration of copper ore in the world, and Kennicott became a company town that included homes, stores, a laundry, school, and even a wood surfaced tennis court. The centerpiece of the town was a massive 14-story mill building where copper ore was processed for shipment. By the 1930's the high-grade ore played out, and when the Kennicott Copper Corporation pulled out in 1938, Kennicott became a ghost town overnight. Many of the historic buildings still stand as they were on that last day, leaving a living history of those rugged days of high adventure. In 1986, Congress recognized Kennicott as a National Historic Landmark. The National Park Service purchased the town in 1998 and began an extensive restoration and stabilization project
My wife and I visited Kennicott and took these photos. It was quite the experience getting there. We had to drive the McCarthy road. It is a 60 mile gravel road that follows the path of the historic Copper River and Northwestern Railroad. We had to be careful of spikes left behind from the railroad tracks. We stayed at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge. It was a lot of fun checking out all the abandoned buildings. Kennicott is also part of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.