Pond & Davies at Echo Cove

This booklet guides the reader through Alaska State Library's collection of historic photos of the Echo Cove area by turn-of-the-century miners Percy Pond and Lloyd Winter.  Carstensen describes and annotates the photos, putting them in historical, cultural, and natural contexts.  Originally used as enticing advertisements for prospective investors, these photographs are amazing windows into Juneau's past.

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More information from Richard Carstensen:

Most of us in Juneau are familiar with the wonderful photographs of Winter and Pond. But did you know that Percy Pond was a gold miner? And do you know who Davies Creek (in the Cowee-Davies watershed) was named for?

Percy and Hattie Pond at their tidewater camp near today’s boat launch in Echo Cove. To have a photographer of Percy’s stature documenting daily activities of a small gold-mining venture, has resulted in a rich historical resource–worth far more to us today than whatever gold he encountered above Echo Cove.

Percy and Hattie Pond at their tidewater camp near today’s boat launch in Echo Cove. To have a photographer of Percy’s stature documenting daily activities of a small gold-mining venture, has resulted in a rich historical resource–worth far more to us today than whatever gold he encountered above Echo Cove.

From a European perspective, it was gold that put Juneau on the map. Even folks like Percy Pond, of the famous Winter & Pond photography enterprise, couldn’t resist dabbling in the search for precious metal. That’s lucky for us, because he thoroughly documented the whole adventure.

The Alaska State Library has an original collection of Pond photos from the Echo Cove area, circa 1899, mounted in a notebook with Percy’s typed captions. Rarely do Winter & Pond photos include much background information, so these are a great way to get a sense not only of the geography and technology of mining, but of who Percy was as a person.

For one thing, he was a salesman. By the 1930s, when he had decided to unload the mining claim on some other hopeful investory, his challenge was to pitch the high probability of success, while simultaneously explaining why he and Davies weren’t already millionaires. Here’s his caption to the above photo:

“Another early view of tidewater camp at Echo Cove in winter, Mr. and Mrs. Pond in the foreground.  Note, sacked high-grade ore in front of the cabin awaiting shipment to Juneau. [reasons for lack of success so far. . .] insufficient funds. . . difficulty of travel, high wages. . .decline of population following WW activities. . . geographical seclusion of Alaska.”