Gold Fever

In the midst of the Great Depression, the Spokane Chamber of Commerce declared that the gold rush was on in Spokane Washington. Captain J. Richard Brown, who was a mining engineer, gave 9 speeches at the relief kitchen on Trent avenue in hopes of luring unemployed men and women to the mining school. The school was scheduled to open on June 9th, 1932. There was no cost to attend the school, but after the school was complete the prospectors would have to pay their own way.

On the 10th of June the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that there was 2000 men and women who attended the school. Lectures were held at the Civics buildings and hands on training took place in Peaceful Valley on the riverbank. Instructors showed the students how to pan for gold and operate mining equipment.

The purpose of the mining school was to train unemployed men and women to go out into the hillsides of Montana, Idaho, Washington and British Columbia to pan for gold. A craze swept over the area as a result of the mining school. Mining suppliers quickly sold out of pans as a result. Gold fever had struck the citizens of Spokane. Thousands of men and women set out in hopes of finding gold. Despite their enthusiasm, there was little gold to be found.



Audio File 1
The curious origin and fate of the Depression-era placer mining school in Peaceful Valley.
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