Charles Lane

Charles D. Lane

Charles D. Lane (November 15, 1840 - 1911) was a US millionaire mine owner,[1] who is recognized as a founder of NomeAlaska. Lane was born in PalmyraMissouri November 15, 1840. His parents were Virginians of Scottish descent.[2] He moved to California with his father in 1852 and almost immediately took up mining. After an unsuccessful attempt to develop a lode mine in Nevada, he achieved his first success on the Snake River in Idaho, followed some years later by a major strike at the Utica Mine at Angels, California. Lane also developed the Fortuna Mine in Arizona.

Lane was a central figure in the industrial phase of mining on the Seward Peninsula, constructing a number of developments in support of the industry, particularly in the Nome and Council areas. An employee of Lane’s, G. W. Price, was present in the Golovin Bay area late in 1898, when the three “lucky Swedes”, Jafet Lindeberg, Erik O. Bloom, and J. J. Brynteson, returned from their discovery of the rich placer deposits on tributaries of the Snake River, near what is now Nome. The three original discoverers formed a second party, including Price and a few others, and returned to the Snake River, organizing the Cape Nome mining district, and staking additional claims.[3]

Lane quickly acquired claims in the Nome area, and in 1899 was listed as co-owner, with Price, of claim. No. 8 Above Discovery on Anvil Creek, which was worked that season.[4] At about this time, Lane joined with capitalists from California and the East Coast to form the Wild Goose Mining & Trading Company.[5] Beginning in 1900, the Wild Goose Company began a series of major developments in support of the early mining industry on the Seward Peninsula. These included construction of the first few miles of railroad connecting Anvil Creek to Nome and a large pumping plant that provided water for mining operations on that Creek.[6] The company acquired large holdings on Ophir Creek in the Council area, and was involved in developments in that district, including building roads, ditches, and another railroad.[7]

As the local representative of the Wild Goose Company, Lane was a primary defendant in the legal proceedings that attempted to invalidate the original claims on Anvil Creek. Despite the machinations of a powerful politician and a corrupt local judge, Lane and the other defendants prevailed.[8]

Lane’s tenure on the Seward Peninsula was brief. In 1905 he sold the bulk of his interests in the Wild Goose Company,[9] and by 1911 he was dead in Palo Alto.[10] His influence extended well beyond his lifetime, however, through the activities of the Wild Goose Company, which continued as a major actor in Seward Peninsula mining until the 1920s.

He died in 1911. He headed the Wild Goose Mining & Trading Co.[11]

Wild Goose Railroad


Although Charles D. Lane was primarily mining man, He took the initiative in developing transpiration infrastructure. In the spring of 1900 construction began on the Wild Goose Railroad. The Narrow gauge railroad was difficult to operate due the squishy tundra that it rest on. Although it reached a speed of 8 MPH, large swaths of time was spend jacking the train carts back on the tracks. C.D. Lane with the financial backing of Dr. J. Dennis Arnold, build the Wild Goose railroad four miles to the anvil claims at a cost of 5,000 per mile.

Ditch Lines


Hydraulic mining was used for mining the hard permafrost located only a few feet underground. Water became a vital resource for mining though the Seward Peninsula with the development of ditch lines necessary to meet demand. The three largest ditch lines consisted of the Miocene, Pioneer, and Seward Ditch. The Miocene Ditch built by W. L. Leland and J. M. Davidson in 1901 with work continuing through the early 1900s. Miocene being the longest ditch covered a distance of 50 miles running from Dexter at Buffalo Creek to Salomon Lake. Capable of carrying 28,500 gallons of water per minute, the Miocene Ditch was indispensable to early mining operations.