Laurel Downing Bill continues her story about Alaska in the series called Aunt Phil’s Trunk in Volume Two. The period 1900 – 1912 were years, which brought significant changes in the development of Alaska. The contagious gold rush fever infected many prospectors who endured the savage cold while seeking a better future. While dedicated men toiled years searching for gold, others quickly gained prosperity providing goods and services to these miners. They included merchants, ferry captains and vaudeville entertainers. Towns rose where gold was found, and the introduction of the postal and railway systems helped form vital communication links. Judge James Wickersham was instrumental in creating Alaska’s judicial system, which was desperately needed as crime escalated. Other men with vision ventured further into the Yukon, which saw few white men. Their attempts to prove the Yukon stored riches paid off and prospectors soon settled there. Alaskan mountains attracted numerous daring climbers who wanted recognition for being the first to reach their icy peaks.
Laurel Downing Bill has documented another wonderful historical journey in this book filled with 350 fascinating photos to complement some of Alaska’s interesting historical facts and stories. Her family was a part of this rich heritage as they were early prospectors. The poet and artist, Robert Service lived here, capturing its beauty through poetry and paintings. I found the assorted stories interesting, but thought provoking, too. Politicians displayed their negative and positive influences in Alaska’s development. Aunt Phil’s Trunk: Volume Two is a thought-provoking and informative book that will captivate both younger and older readers.