George G. Cantwell photograph collection, 1898-circa 1910  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Cantwell, George G.
George G. Cantwell photograph collection
1898-circa 1910 (inclusive)
121 photographic prints, 22 glass negatives, 19 nitrate negatives (3 boxes and 1 folder)
Collection Number
Photographs of the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon Territory including the Chilkoot Trail, Dawson city and mining in Dawson; also scenes in Alaska,
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Selections from the collection can be viewed on the Libraries' Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials curator is required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

George G. Cantwell, a native of Puyallup, Washington, came to Dawson from Juneau in 1898 where he was employed by E.A. Hegg. In 1899, he entered into a business partnership with Frederic N. Atwood. Their specialty was Alaskan views, outdoor portraiture, finishing and supplies for amateurs. The studio was located on 3rd Ave opposite Dr. Bourke's private hospital. In March of 1901 he took a series of underground views by the flashlight process. The partnership seems to have dissolved after June 1901. Cantwell stayed until September of that year when he returned to Puyallup, Washington.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection includes scenes of mining (panoramic views of Bonanza, Gold Hill, Chechaco Hill, Eldorado in addition to underground mining views by the "flashlight process"); postal service by dogsled team; detailed views of packers up Chilkoot Pass; freighting supplies. The album (with 38 loose prints) is presumably a personal photo album of the Cantwell family and includes scenes of a Yukon-Washington trip (home to Puyallup) in 1901, family outings and portraits, camping, fishing, hunting, mountaineering, wildlife shots.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Several prints in this collection show heavily obscured signatures of either Cantwell or photographers Adams & Larkin and this is noted for each item where these signatures appear. It appears that Adams & Larkin probably acquired the Cantwell negatives and put their name on them.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Cantwell Family AlbumReturn to Top

The album was completely deteriorated so it was disassembled. The order of the photographs was retained.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 1-1a 1901?
1/1 1-1b
 George Cantwell's hands which were burned by flash powder
Affixed to the photograph is a contemporary newspaper clipping describing the flash powder incident that resulted in Cantwell's burned hands.
1/1 1-1c
Two white birds standing among rocks and branches
1/1 1-2a 1901?
1/1 1-2b 1901?
1/1 1-3b
Fishing rod, flies and basket of grayling trout on bank of river
Written on photo: Fisherman's Luck.
1/1 1-3c
Three men seated around a large campfire
1/1 1-4b 1901?
1/1 1-4d
 Coiled rattlesnake in the dirt
Written on photo: a Rattler.
1/1 1-5b
Priest standing in front of church altar
Written on verso: [illeg.] at Androffsky Yukon River. (Most likely referring to the Andreafsky River, a 120-mile tributary of the Yukon River).
1/1 1-6a
 Seated man in bowler hat looking through binoculars
Written on photo: A last look at Dawson.
1/1 1-6b
Small group of men and women leaning against a ship railing
1/1 1-6d 1901?
1/2 1-7a
Passenger ship Cottage City at dock
1/2 1-7b
Man in bowler hat sitting in ship air duct
1/2 1-7c
View of land and mountains from the waters of the Inland Passage
Written on verso: Scenery between the sound & Alaska on the inland route.
1/2 1-7d
View of Inland Passage from water
1/2 1-8a
Newspaper clipping about Cantwell to Puyallup after a long stay in Dawson
Text from clipping: Returned from Dawson. George G. Cantwell, of Puyallup, has returned home after an extended absence in Dawson, where he had been engaged in the photographic business.
October 7, 1901
1/2 1-8b 1901?
1/2 1-9a 1901?
1/2 1-9b
House surrounded by picket fence
1/2 1-10a
Bough of tree with fruit on branches
1/2 1-10b
Strawberry plants
1/2 1-10c 1901?
1/2 1-10d
Plate of strawberries with two quarters on the plate for size comparison
1/2 1-11a
 Small group of men and women seated around a dining table
This is probably Cantwell and his family.
1/3 1-12a 1901?
1/3 1-12b 1901?
1/3 1-12c 1901?
1/3 1-12d 1901?
1/3 1-13a 1901?
1/3 1-13b 1901?
1/3 1-13c
Young man and woman in the forest
1/3 1-13d 1901?
1/3 1-14a 1901?
1/3 1-14b 1901?
1/3 1-14c
Woman eating strawberries from small bowl while kneeling in garden
1/3 1-14d
Dog in grassy field with bird in its mouth
1/3 1-14e 1901?
1/4 1-15a
 Man with backpack climbing over fallen log in forest
Written on verso: Following the creek.
1/4 1-15b
Man with backpack seated on log in forest
Written on photo: Only tired.Written on verso: Returning - near end of trail.
1/4 1-15c
 Walton Hohag leaning against tree on forest path
Written on front of photo as W.H. Hohag. Written on verso as Walton Hoahg.
1/4 1-16a 1901?
1/4 1-16b
Two people climbing the side of snow-covered mountain
1/4 1-16c
 Man waving his hat at camera on summit of Mt. Baker
Written on verso: The red man on top of a new mountainFrom accompanying newspaper clipping: An exceedingly interesting article entitled, "An Ascent of Mount Baker," written and illustrated by George G. Cantwell, appears in the August Outing. Mr. Cantwell is the first man to take a camera to the top of this mountain. Local pride should create a demand for many copies of the magazine in Puyallup, where the author has grown to manhood.
September 3, 1903
1/4 1-16d
 Man writing or carving on side of old tree
Written on verso: Regeristring [sic] in the last tree.
1/4 1-17a
 Steaming crater on Mt. Baker
Written on photo: Copyright by B & C.Written on verso: The crater taken from main peak a mile distant.
1/4 1-17b
Cartoon of Cantwell making a photograph on the Tulalip Indian Reservation
Caption on cartoon reads: G.G. Cantwell, who has been spending a few days among the bravs and klootchmen on Tulalip Indian Reservation with his trusty camera.
1/4 1-17c 1901?
1/4 1-17d
Reproduction of a photograph of an Alaskan mountain sheep head by Cantwell
1/5 1-18a 1901?
1/5 1-18b 1901?
1/5 1-19a 1901?
1/5 1-19b
 Small group of men and women standing on large rocks in middle of Salmon Creek
Written on verso: Up Salmon Creek-1/2 mile from camp. All hands wearing pants.
1/5 1-19c
Small group of men and women seated at wooden table under awning tied between two trees
1/5 1-19d
View of trees and river from riverbank at the north fork of the Skykomish River
Written on verso: The stream behind the camp. North fork of Skykomish.
1/5 1-20a 1901?
1/5 1-20b 1901?
1/5 1-20c
 Small group of men and women at camp with three dead raccoons hanging in front of group
Written on verso: Morning in camp just after we had killed three coons close beside the tents.
1/5 1-20d 1901?
1/6 1-21a
Young woman sitting on rock near riverbank with bridge in background
1/6 1-21b
 Small group of men and women sitting in two canoes near edge of Silver Lake
Written on verso: Silver Lake-7 miles from Everett.
1/6 1-21c 1901?
1/6 1-21d
Man standing at edge of river or lake
1/6 1-21e
Woman and small dog on wooden dock
1/6 1-22a 1901?
1/6 1-22b
Man leaning against tree in woods
1/6 1-22c 1901?
1/6 1-22d
Young man leaning against tree with body of water in background
1/6 1-23a 1901?
1/6 1-23b
Sitting room interior with animal heads and photographs adorning the walls
1/6 1-23c 1901?
1/7 1-24a
 Small group of men and women standing in field at base of mountain
Written on verso: At Starr Soda Springs 7 miles from camp.
1/7 1-24b
Two men and two women standing on rocky path
1/7 1-24c 1901?
1/7 1-25a 1901?
1/7 1-25b 1901?
1/7 1-25c
Small group of men and women relaxing at base of large tree on riverbank
1/7 1-25d
Two men, two women and small dog in garden with house in background
1/7 1-26a 1901?
1/7 1-26b 1901?
1/7 1-26c 1901?
1/7 1-26d 1901?
1/8 1-27a 1901?
1/8 1-27b
Seated man smoking pipe near his catch while removing fish from his fishing rod
1/8 1-27f
Man in suit and bowler hat standing at edge of stream with small waterfall in background
1/8 1-28a 1901?
1/8 1-28b
Looking down at river lined by tall trees
1/8 1-28c 1901?
1/8 1-28d
River and trees with building in background
1/8 1-28e
Woman standing at bow of boat
1/8 1-29a 1901?
1/8 1-29b
Small house surrounded by white picket fence
1/8 1-29c 1901?
1/8 1-29d
Men, women and small girl on wooden dock with boats sailing in background
1/8 1-30a 1901?
1/8 1-31c
Man sitting on fallen log with young girl in white on his knee
1/8 1-33e
Double portrait of elderly man in suit
1/8 1-33f
Double portrait of elderly man wearing different hats and holding small umbrella
OS2 1-34
Seated man playing mandolin and eight small individual and group portraits
OS2 1-35
Thirty-one small individual and couples portraits
All photographs affixed to original page of the Cantwell Family Photograph Album, which was disassembled during processing.
OS2 1-36/37
Newspaper clippings featuring George Cantwell and his experiences in the Yukon
All clippings affixed to original page of the Cantwell Family Photograph Album, which was disassembled during processing.
1/9 1-38 1901?
1/9 1-39
Woman standing next to totem pole
1/9 1-40
Young man sitting near potatoes in garden with dead animals hanging from wooden rack in background
1/9 1-41
Small group of men, women and children in a large canoe on bank of river
1/9 1-42
Man gathering eggs from bird nests on rocky hillside
1/9 1-43
Small group of men, women and children maneuvering a large canoe across rocky shore
1/9 1-44
Small group of men, women and children in a large canoe leaving shore
1/9 1-45 1901?
1/9 1-46
Raccoon holding paws under water spout
1/9 1-47 1901?
1/9 1-48
Quail standing in grass
1/9 1-49
Owl perched in mossy tree
1/9 1-50
Bird perched on fence post
1/10 1-51
Rolling hill behind thin line of winter trees with sun on the horizon
Written on verso: Winter sun seen from the divide.
1/10 1-52
Person digging in mound of dirt in snow-covered field
1/10 1-53 1901?
1/10 1-54
Three men cleaning caribou heads in front of log cabin
Written on verso: At work on some caribou heads.
1/10 1-55
Man in barren field shooting at small animals
1/10 1-56
Small group of men cooking meadow larks in forest clearing
1/10 1-57 1901?
1/10 1-58 1901?
1/10 1-59
Small town at base of snow-capped mountain range
1/10 1-60
Aerial view of Glenora, British Columbia on the banks of the Stickeene River
1/10 1-61
Small group of men and women ascending snowy slope of Mt. Rainier
Written on verso: Climbing Mt. Rainier Aug. 6-1896. Cantwell was in the first expedition to reach the summit of Rainier, also Mt. Baker.
August 6, 1896
1/10 1-62
Small group of men in suits playing guitars, banjoes and mandolins in music room filled with organs and pianos
1/10 1-63
 Two people in cow suit standing in middle of snowy street
Written on verso: This cow was made in the taxidermy shop for a production of "Evangeline" at a theatre here.
1/10 1-64
Two men sinking a gold mining shaft

Journey to the KlondikeReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/11 2
 Large group of Klondike Gold Rush stampeders searching for bodies after the Palm Sunday Avalanche at Sheep Camp on the Chilkoot Trail
The deadliest event of the Klondike gold rush occurred on Palm Sunday, April 3, 1898, between Sheep Camp and the Scales on the Chilkoot Trail. Numerous snow slides took place on that day, and over 60 stampeders (gold prospectors) ultimately lost their lives.The Palm Sunday avalanche, as it came to be known, was one of the most widely reported events of the gold rush.
April 3 or 4, 1898
1/11 3-5 1898?
1/11 6-7
 Large group of stampeders with gear gathered at the Scales waiting to ascend Chilkoot Pass
The Chilkoot trail rose 900 feet to the base of the Chilkoot Pass to an area called the Scales. This was a rough rock-strewn area so named because it was the last place where travelers could have their packs reweighed, and adjustments could be made to their payments. The Scales was also used as a place where travelers could store their provisions and supplies while going to lower levels to get the remainder, before continuing on their journey up the Pass.
1/11 8 1898?
1/11 9 1898?
1/11 9a 1898?
1/11 10
 Two men standing on ice with packed sleds outfitted with sails
Written on photo: Over the ice to Dawson.
1/11 11-11a
 Small group of men and women with dogs and sled standing outside Roadhouse 54
Written on photo: Doughnuts & Coffee.Roadhouse 54 was located near Dawson, and was so named because it was located at the fifty-fourth claim below "Discovery", i.e. the first claim staked out on Hunker Creek.
1/11 12
 Small group of men with pack dogs, horses and sleds at camp on the Dalton Trail
The Dalton Trail is a 246-mile trail that runs between Pyramid Harbor, west of Haines, Alaska in the United States, and Fort Selkirk, in the Yukon Territory of Canada, using the Chilkat Pass. In 1900, the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway was completed to neighboring Skagway, and this ended much of the traffic on the Dalton Trail. The west portion of the present-day Haines Highway follows much the same route as the Dalton Trail.
1/11 13
 Small group of men constructing a boat for travel down the Yukon using a woodcutting technique known as "whipsawing," probably at Lake Lindeman
Klondike stampeders set up camp along the shores of Lake Lindeman and Lake Bennett during the winter of 1897-1898 where they had to wait for the river ice to break before they could set sail down the Yukon into Dawson. Most stampeders needed to build their own boats, having declined to drag a boat over the pass. The preferred wood cutting technique was known as "whipsawing" in which logs placed on stands were sawed by one man standing on top of the log with one end of the saw and a second man standing below the log holding the other end.
1/11 14 1898?
1/11 14a 1899?

Mining in the YukonReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Discovery Claim
Box/Folder item
1/12 15
 Looking down at miners and camps at the Discovery Claim on Bonanza Creek
On the afternoon of August 16, 1896, the first piece of gold was found in the Yukon by prospectors camping near Bonanza Creek (then Rabbit Creek). Located around 17 miles south-southeast of Dawson City, it is considered to be the place where the Klondike Gold Rush started.
1/12 16
 Mining claims on lower Bonanza Creek with snow-covered hill in background
Written on photo: Hill Claims, Lower Bonanza.
1/12 17 1900?
Eldorado Gold Mine
Box/Folder item
1/12 18
 View of Eldorado mining camp with rolling hills in background
Written on photo: Looking up Eldorado from #10.
1/12 19 1900?
1/12 20
 Two miners with pickaxes and shovels working an underground mine at the El Dorado mining claim
Written on photo: Underground on #16 Eldorado. Adams & Larkin signature (heavily obscured) appears in lower right corner.
March 1901
1/12 21
 Small group of miners underground filling a cart with dirt
Written on photo: Following the paystreak underground. 44 Bonanza. Adams & Larkin signature (heavily obscured) appears in lower right corner.
March 1901
1/12 22
 Three miners underground using steam to thaw the frozen earth
Written on photo: Thawing with steam, #16 Eldorado. Flashlight by [illeg.]. Adams & Larkin signature (heavily obscured) appears in lower right corner.
March 1901
Cheechako Hill & Gold Hill
Box/Folder item
1/12 23
 View of Cheechako Hill (Cantwell 53)
Cheechako Hill was named for the newcomer "cheechakos" who ignored the advice of seasoned sourdoughs and dug into the hills above the rich Bonanza and Eldorado creek beds. Oliver Millet from Lunenberg, Nova Scotia was the first to attempt mining for gold in the high hills overlooking the creeks, after his claim on the El Dorado came up empty. The hill became one of the richest areas in the Dawson district.
1/12 24
 View of mining operation on Cheechako Hill
Written on photo: Photo by Cantwell.
1/12 25
 View of Bonanza Creek taken from Cheechako Hill
Written on photo: Adams & Larkin. Looking down Bonanza from Chechaco [sic] Hill. Cantwell signature (heavily obscured) appears in lower right corner.
1/12 26
 Bird's-eye view of mining operations at Cheechako Hill and Gold Hill
Written on photo: Gold Hill. Chechaco Hill.
Sulphur Creek
Box/Folder item
1/13 27
 Three men standing near mine shaft opening with one man bent over pan containing large rock
Written on photo: Big nugget from Sulphur Creek.Visual evidence suggests that this photograph is most likely a composite print, as central figure appears superimposed against snowy background.
1/13 28
 View of mining camps near Sulphur Creek
Written on photo: 29 & 30 above Sulphur.
Unidentified Mines
Box/Folder item
1/13 29 1899?
1/13 30 1899?
1/13 31-31a
 Dog pulling a mine cart through an unidentified mining tunnel with two miners in background
Written on photo: Dog miner at work in a drift. Adams & Larkin.Drift mining methods were used extensively to mine placer deposits (an accumulation of valuable minerals formed by gravity separation during sedimentary processes) during the gold rush. During summer, surface deposits could be worked, but some placer deposits were buried too deeply; through drift mining methods, miners were able to recover much of the gold buried under the permafrost, with high-grade gravels to be washed during the spring thaw.
1/13 32
 Small group of men clearing a path through an unidentified mine
Written on photo: Firing a drift.Drift mining methods were used extensively to mine placer deposits (an accumulation of valuable minerals formed by gravity separation during sedimentary processes) during the gold rush. During summer, surface deposits could be worked, but some placer deposits were buried too deeply; through drift mining methods, miners were able to recover much of the gold buried under the permafrost, with high-grade gravels to be washed during the spring thaw.
1/13 33
 Small group of miners with pickaxes and shovels working in an unidentified underground mine
Written on photo: Bed Rock Underground - 37 Above Hunker. "Cantwell Photo 62" (heavily obscured) appears in lower right corner.
1/13 34 1899?

Life in DawsonReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/14 35 1898?
1/14 36-36a
 Two men in foreground watching Dawson City burn
Written on photo: Dawson Fire Apr. 26, '99.With the many wood buildings in Dawson, fire was a constant menace. Two majors fires broke out in 1897 and 1898, both started accidentally by the same dance-hall girl, Belle Mitchell. But the worst blaze occurred on April 26, 1899, when a saloon caught fire during a strike by the newly-formed Dawson Fire Brigade. With all the wealth around town, it seems the town fathers didn’t see fit to pay their fire fighters a decent wage. Over 100 buildings were destroyed in the blaze, with damage reaching over $1 million in the day’s money.
April 26, 1899
1/14 37 July 4, 1899
1/14 38 December, 1899
1/14 39 1899?
1/14 39a
 Large group of men gathered in front of post office in Dawson City
Written on verso: Waiting for mail in Dawson.
1/14 40
 Group of men standing before smallpox quarantine tents on Dog Island near Dawson City
Written on photo: Dawson Smallpox Quarantine Station.The first case of smallpox in the Yukon Territory occurred in Dawson City on June 3, 1900. For the purpose of isolating smallpox patients, the Yukon Council established a quarantine station on Dog Island, about two miles down river from Dawson City. The quarantine station provided not only for the complete isolation of patients, but also the potential to dock quarantined steamer ships at that location should an outbreak be detected aboard.
June 1900?
1/14 41
 Large group of formally dressed men and women gathered at the Palace Grande Theatre for the annual St. Andrews Ball in Dawson City
Written on photo: St. Andrew's Ball, Dawson Nov. 30, 1900. Cantwell Photo. Dawson, Y.T.
November 30, 1900
1/14 42
 Panoramic view of Dawson City from the south bank of the Yukon River
Written on photo: Dawson 1900. Cantwell Photo.
1/15 43
 Looking down snow-covered street at storefronts in Dawson City
Written on photo: Dawson at 60 degrees below.
1/15 44
 View of several government thermometers showing temperature of 68 degrees below zero in Dawson
Written on photo: Adams & Larkin photo 49. Cantwell's name heavily obscured in lower right corner.
January 15, 1901
1/15 45 March 22, 1901
1/15 46
 Bird's-eye view of Dawson and the Yukon River
Written on photo: Dawson, June 1901. Adams & Larkin.
June, 1901
1/15 47
 Aerial view of Dawson City at midnight
Written on photo: Adams & Larkin Photo. Cantwell's signature heavily obscured in lower right corner.
June, 1901
1/15 48
 Long line of men sitting on sidewalk in front of banking & mining offices
Written on photo: On the shady side of Easy Street.
1/15 49-50
 Malamute team of U.S mail carrier Ben Downing loaded with mail leaving Dawson
Written on photo #49: U.S. Mail Leaving Dawson. Adams & Larkin Photo. Dawson, Y.T. 66. "Photo by Cantwell 66" heavily obscured in lower right corner.Written on photo #50: "Adams & Larkin Photo" written directly over barely obscured "Cantwell Photo" in lower right corner.

Klondike ScenesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/16 51 May 17, 1899
1/16 52
 Street scene in front of the Grand Forks Hotel, Grand Forks, Yukon Territory
Grand Forks was first settled in 1896 and became the second largest settlement in the Klondike, with approximately 10,000 people living in or near the town during the gold rush. Located at the confluence of Bonanza Creek and Eldorado Creek, it was the only community besides Dawson City to have its own municipal government.
1/16 53 1900?
1/16 54 1900?
1/16 55
 View of wooden burial cache on snowy hillside above Moosehide Creek
Written on photo: Indian Grave, Moosehide Creek.
1/16 56
 Man feeding two moose calves in front of log cabin
Written on photo: Moose calves.
1/16 57 1900?
1/16 58 1900?
1/16 59
 Three men with dogs and dogsled in snowy forest
Written on photo: On the Trail.
1/16 60 1900?
1/17 61
 Fishing supplies and wooden basket filled with trout on riverbank
Written on photo: Grayling, the Trout of the Yukon.
1/17 62
 Athapascan boy in winter furs standing in the snow
Written on photo: One Little Injun.
1/17 63
 Two men working in garden surrounded by wooden fence
Written on photo: A Klondyke Garden. "Adams and Larkin Photo" appears heavily faded in lower right corner.
1/17 64
 Two men displaying their haul of King Salmon near boat on riverbank
Written on photo: King Salmon of the Yukon. "Adams & Larkin, Dawson, Y.T." written in lower right corner.
1/17 65 1900?
1/17 66 1900?
1/17 67
 Fairbanks Winter Stage loaded with passengers in front of Orr's office in Valdez, Alaska
Written on photo: Ed. S. Orr & Co. Valdes - Fairbanks Winter Stage. Cantwell.
between 1906 and 1910
1/17 67a 1898?
1/17 67b 1898?

Numbered Series of Cantwell PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/18 68 undated
1/18 69 undated
1/18 70 undated
1/18 71
 Bird's-eye view of Prince William Sound (Cantwell 119).
Written on photo: Prince William Sound from Upper Terminal S.G. Co. Tram. Landlock Bay.
1/18 72
 Looking across Valdez Bay (Cantwell 134).
Written on photo: Midsummer - Valdez Bay.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Geographical Names :
  • Alaska--Photographs
  • Baker, Mount (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Dawson (Yukon)--Photographs
  • Yukon--Photographs