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Hope is an inviting town of log cabins and frame cottages, rooted in the gold rush. Located on Turnagain Arm at the mouth of Resurrection Creek, Hope served as a supply point for gold miners on the Kenai Peninsula. Although gold mining on the Kenai was never as successful as at other places in Alaska, it was one of the first areas where gold was known to be found and had been identified by the Russians by 1850. The rush to the Kenai began in 1896, and when prospectors on a steamer from Seattle disembarked at Resurrection Creek, they named the place after the youngest member of their party, Percy Hope.

Hope experienced the boom and bust of most gold-rush towns. That winter, about 80 people stayed in Hope, and by 1899, there were 200 men and 3 women. A post office was established there in 1897, the Alaska Commercial Company opened a store in 1898, and the first school and a community hall were built in 1902. Hope also had four saloons, three stores, two hotels, and a sawmill for local use.

By 1910 the boom was over; 35 to 40 people wintered in Hope that year. By 1930 it was down to 15, but up to 71 in 1939. The 1964 earthquake caused about half of the townsite to subside, but about two dozen buildings from Hope's heyday remain.

The grid plan is still evident, defined by unpaved roads and fenced yards. Most of the houses are small, one story, with gable fronts and metal roofs. The structures are both log and wood frame. Not all of them date from the turn of the century; a square hip-roofed bungalow, constructed of logs, was built in 1924. Houses built in the last two decades tend to be larger, but remarkably compatible with the earlier architectural character.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland

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