Bart Thane in his office
Bartlett Lee "Bart" Thane was a mining engineering student at the University of California, Berkeley, when he first came to Alaska in 1897. He worked at the Sumdum Chief Mine south of Juneau that summer and returned to California to complete his studies.
Thane graduated from Berkeley with a degree in mining engineering in 1899 and returned to Alaska. In 1903 he became the first superintendent of the Eagle River Mining Company. He also promoted gold mining in the Berners Bay area and formed the Kensington Gold Mining Company.
Cal footbal team (1898) Quarterback Bart Thane, Middle row, second from left)
By 1911 Thane had become the General Manager and Superintendent of the Alaska Gastineau Mining Company. It was Thane's vision to develop the Perseverance Mine, which had just been a seasonal operation, into a world-class gold mine. His plan had three main points: to develop tidewater access by tunneling from Sheep Creek Valley to the Perseverance Mine; to build an innovative mill at Thane; and to power them both with year-round hydroelectric power. Thane's vision became a reality and by 1915 the Alaska Gastineau's mine and mill were operational.
Thane was one of Juneau's leading citizens at the time. He lived with his wife and daughter in a house at 213 7th St., which was later purchased by Judge Wickersham and is known as the Wickersham House.
Bart Thane on Salmon Creek Dam
Unfortunately, even with Thane's vision, innovation and managerial skill, things did not work out well at the Alaska Gastineau. The mine was not profitable and closed in 1921.
With year-round hydro power and the industrial development at the mill, Thane tried to promote the operation as a timber and pulp mill, though he was unsuccessful in this attempt. With the close of the Alaska Gastineau, Thane's reputation was damaged and he did not work in mining after that.
Thane died of pneumonia in New York City in 1927 at age 50.