Ellamar, Prince William Sound

Ellamar is a ghost town on Virgin Bay in Prince William Sound, Alaska, south of Valdez and near the village of Tatitek. In 1897, prospectors stumbled upon an outcropping of high-grade copper and staked a claim. They dug a shaft 100 feet (30 m) deep with dynamite, diamond drills and shovels and then excavated a horizontal tunnel toward the copper deposit. The extracted copper ore was then shipped to a smelter in Tacoma, Washington. 

Within ten years of its discovery, the workings of the mine had been extended to include a shaft 600 feet (183 m) deep, with a network of horizontal drifts branching off in various directions every 100 vertical feet (30 m). A bustling community grew up around the mine as the workings grew more extensive and the property’s copper-fueled profits soared. 

By 1912, copper production at Ellamar was in decline. The rising subterranean groundwater, extensive surface run-off, and seawater from a constantly leaking cofferdam flooded the 600 feet (183 m) and 500 feet (152 m) levels of the mine, and massive pumps were required to keep the 400 feet (122 m) level open for work. With the rumblings of war in Europe in 1914, and the economic uncertainty brought by the conflict, the mine was closed. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore the site of Ellamar and Virgin Bay.