History

Originally named Slate Creek, the settlement of Coldfoot began around 1898 when thousands of green stampeders flooded to the area in search of gold. The name was changed when a group of prospectors got "cold feet" about wintering in the district and headed south. At its height, Coldfoot had one gambling hall, two roadhouses, seven saloons and 10 "working girls" (many of the local creeks are named for these friendly women). Within a few years, the town boasted its own post office. Mail was delivered once a month from Fort Yukon, in the winter arriving by dogsled and in the summer arriving by foot.

By 1912 the miners relocated to the richer ground in what is now known as Wiseman, 13 miles north. Coldfoot was just a memory and many of the buildings in Coldfoot were used for firewood or brought to Wiseman. Today just a couple of cabins and the old graveyard remain in Wiseman.

In the early 1970's, during the construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, Coldfoot started coming back to life when a bustling pipeline camp was established not far from the original town site. All that is left is a couple of shop bays still being used by the Department of Transportation at their Coldfoot camp.

In 1981 Alaskan dog musher, Dick Mackey, set up an old school bus here and began selling hamburgers to the truck drivers. The truckers found that Coldfoot was a convenient halfway place to stop and wanted to help make it a more comfortable place to relax while having a cup of coffee and something to eat. They started to drop off the packing crates that had been used to haul the pipeline insulation, to be used as building materials. During their stops here, the truckers began to pound nails and helped to build the Coldfoot truck stop. They helped raise the center pole (the cash register is beside it now) and you can read their engraved names on the pole. The pole is still used as a communications center with messages hung for the truckers, miners and other folk in the area.

 
 
 
       
©2012 Coldfoot Camp
Credits: George Lounsbu