History

McCarthy, Alaska was not the first town established to support the mining town of Kennicott. The town of Blackburn was first established in the early 1900’s as a settlement of hopeful workers and businessmen. In 1911, the Blackburn Roadhouse was built. It was a two-story structure built with logs and milled wood, and at the time it was considered the “biggest log structure in the district.” After a two year boom, Blackburn faced a sudden economic downturn caused by the Shushanna gold rush. Because its location was not on the direct route of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway, Blackburn did not endure. The Blackburn schoolhouse was hauled to Kennicott and the remaining buildings fell into disrepair. All that remains are indentations where buildings once stood, piles of wood, and one standing outhouse along the driveway in.

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Mt. Blackburn is the highest peak in the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska. It was named in 1885 by Lt. Henry T. Allen of the U.S. Army after Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky. Dora Keen began her two ascents of Mount Blackburn from the town of Blackburn. And Martin Radovan began his Alaskan career here in Blackburn, Alaska.

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