garnet mining


A Family Endeavor The source of the garnets is an above-ground mine located approximately seven miles from Wrangell near the mouth of the Stikine River at a place aptly named “Garnet Ledge.” Garnets are crystalline gemstones formed under great heat and pressure that are translucent and red. At this location, they are embedded in a bedrock layer made up of very hard schist. The first documented commercial use of this site dates back to 1907 when two sisters formed the Alaska Garnet Mining and Manufacturing Company, reportedly the first all-female owned corporation in the U.S. This endeavor did not use the garnets as gemstones, but rather made them into sandpaper, which they produced into the 1930s. Ownership of the site changed hands several times over the years, and in 1962 it was bequeathed to the Boy Scouts of America from then owner, Fred Hanford. A stipulation that he included in…