Circle Hot Springs, Alaska

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Circle Hot Springs, Alaska
Unincorporated community
Circle Hot Springs, Alaska is located in Alaska
Circle Hot Springs, Alaska
Circle Hot Springs, Alaska
Coordinates: 65°29′00″N 144°38′03″W / 65.48333°N 144.63417°W / 65.48333; -144.63417Coordinates: 65°29′00″N 144°38′03″W / 65.48333°N 144.63417°W / 65.48333; -144.63417
Country United States
State Alaska
Census Area Yukon-Koyukuk
Elevation 906 ft (276 m)
Time zone Alaska (AKST) (UTC-9)
 • Summer (DST) AKDT (UTC-8)
ZIP code 99730
Area code(s) 907
GNIS feature ID 1416507[1]

Circle Hot Springs is a hot spring and an unincorporated community in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area of Alaska in the United States. The community is home to a hot spring and is the site of the now-closed Arctic Circle Hot Springs resort.[2] The hot spring can be accessed either by automobile via the Steese Highway or by plane via the small-scale Circle Hot Springs Airport. The area surrounding the hot spring is rich in mining history and retains a certain degree of mystery and folklore.

Geography[edit]

Circle Hot Springs is located at 65°29' N, 144°38' W.[3] Circle, Alaska is the nearest community, located 29 miles NE of the hot spring. Fairbanks, Alaska is 131 miles SW on the Steese Highway.

History[edit]

In 1893 William Greats is reported to have discovered the hot spring, which had previously been used by the indigenous Athabascan inhabitants. Franklin Leach homesteaded 160 acres of the area around the hot springs in 1905 and started construction on a resort sometime thereafter. The population of the resort was 17 in 1930; 14 in 1939; and 36 in 1958. The "Circle Springs" post office was established in 1924.[4]

Circle City, now referred to as just Circle, was originally a mining supply town that was established by L. N. Jack McQuesten in 1887. This trading post and its surrounding vicinity were thought to have been on the Arctic Circle, despite that latitudinal marker being 40 miles to the North. Circle-area gold was a huge draw for prospectors, who sought out the remote area in search of their fortunes. Some prospectors even came to use Circle Hot Springs as a haven from the harsh interior Alaska winters. It was not until March of 1930 that construction on a hotel began, however, when local roads became more reliable.[5]

Mining interest in the area decreased drastically after gold was found in the Klondike in 1897, and then in Nome in 1899.[6] A limited number of miners stayed in the area near Circle Hot Spring after the turn of the century, and gold mining continues to be an attraction to this day.

Attractions[edit]

Although the Arctic Circle Hot Springs resort is now closed for business, the area still sees a hand full of visitors throughout the year seeking a dip in the abandoned hot springs, on a quest to spot the northern lights, or in search of undiscovered pockets of gold. The resort is also considered a paranormal destination by many ghost hunters in the interior. Ray Bonnell, a Fairbanks Daily Newsminer writer noted in a 2013 article that:

"In its heyday Circle Hot Springs attracted visitors from all over Alaska and beyond, and was well-known for its aurora viewing. The hotel supposedly even has its own ghost. Some employees are reported to have seen or felt the specter of Emma Leach [wife of Franklin Leach] roaming the halls or haunting the kitchen"[7]

Ron Wendt, another author and paranormal enthusiast, has written about the spooky nature of the hot springs in his book Haunted Alaska. In one section he relates his personal experiences as a child at the hot springs:

"I can attest to the creakiness and the air of mystery in these ancient abodes. But youngsters often see this sort of thing as fun— never realizing that someone might be watching. We never met a ghost, but as I learned later, not everyone can say that."[8]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Arctic Circle Hot Springs". Fairbanks-Alaska.com. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  3. ^ Orth, Donald J. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. U.S Government Printing Office, 1967. pg 219
  4. ^ Orth, Donald J. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. U.S Government Printing Office, 1967. pg 219
  5. ^ "A Haunting End to Life Around Circle Hot Springs" Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, Posted: Sunday, Jan 6, 2013 2:45 am | Updated: 12:02 pm, Mon Jan 7, 2013. | Accessed: 7:17pm, Sun Dec 14, 2014.
  6. ^ Stone, Thomas. "Flux and Authority in a Subarctic Society: The Yukon Miners in the Nineteenth Century," Ethnohistory Vol. 30, No. 4 (Autumn, 1983) pg 204
  7. ^ "A Haunting End to Life Around Circle Hot Springs" Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, Posted: Sunday, Jan 6, 2013 2:45 am | Updated: 12:02 pm, Mon Jan 7, 2013. | Accessed: 7:17pm, Sun Dec 14, 2014.
  8. ^ Wendt, Ron. Haunted Alaska. Epicenter Press, 2002. pg 28