Described as either a floating workhorse or a mechanical gold pan, Gold Dredge 8 extracted millions of ounces of gold from the frozen Alaskan ground. Today, Gold Dredge 8 National Historic District serves as a monument to the hard working miners who built Fairbanks. Gold Dredge 8 is also a National Engineering Landmark.
Gold Dredge 8 operated between 1928 and 1959 and played an essential role in mining and the economy of the Tanana Valley. It is said that dredges and mining saved Fairbanks. In 1942, gold mining suffered a serious setback; the War Productions Board issued it’s famous Order L-208 which forced the closure of all gold mines in the United States for the duration of World War II. After the war was over, very few mines re-opened. By the time the war ended, the miners that once ran the gold mines were in other professions and their wage levels had increased too high for gold mining to support. But Gold Dredge 8 was one of the few mines that did re-open and ran successfully until it was shut down for economic reasons in 1959.
In 1984, the dredge was opened for tours. The Binkley family has run a successful sternwheel attraction for over 60 years and added gold mine tours in 1994. They have been working to share our rich gold mining history with visitors ever since.