Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

Charlie Kidd
Charlie Kidd

Charlie Kidd was interviewed on July 31, 1991 by Dan O'Neill at Charlie's fish camp at MacGregor cabin on the Yukon River, which is about a mile and a half below Slaven's Roadhouse. Charlie was preparing to close up his fish camp after the king salmon run had ended and head up the Charley River to hunt moose. Dan O'Neill has described the interview as follows: "Within a few minutes of our landing, Charlie came striding down the beach from the trail into the woods. He wore no shirt or shoes but had on blue jeans and a fur head band. His hair was longer than shoulder length and his beard reached down his chest. He had well-muscled arms and calloused hands. There was no fat on him, but he wasn't skinny. It seemed as though he was expecting me that minute, because when I started to say who I was he broke in and said, 'Oh, you're the historian Steve said was coming.' When we got to the old MacGregor cabin, which looked tidy despite the roof being partly fallen in, Charlie had stirred the campfire to life. We talked for twenty minutes or more about various things: fishing for pike, trapping, the recent fire up the Charley River, dog travel, lining boats, etc. I asked Charlie if he knew what I was up to, and he said yeah, I wanted to ask him about the Coal Creek dredge. I said I'd also like to talk about living on the Charley River since the early 1970s. He said, 'The only thing Steve mentioned was the dredge. I don't really see any point in talking about anything else.' I said that was fine, that it was up to him what we talked about. I hadn't expected to be limited to the dredge as a topic. And Charlie didn't volunteer extended responses -- I think he was uncomfortable being tape recorded. Sometimes Charlie would seem to cross over into the 'life on the Charley River' themes, but I resisted asking him follow-up questions because I didn't want to lure him into talking about the things he'd said he didn't want to discuss." In this interview, Charlie talks about working on the gold dredge at Coal Creek and other miners in the area.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-62

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Jul 31, 1991
Narrator(s): Charlie Kidd
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Working on the gold dredge at Coal Creek in the early 1970s, and details of the dredging operation

2) Division of labor in the gold dredging operation at Coal Creek, the movement of the dredges, and and life in the mining camp

3) What he has heard about the Coal Creek operation in the 1930s

4) Relationships between workers at Coal Creek, and some of the daily routine of the mining camp

5) Mechanical breakdowns and maintenance problems with the aging Coal Creek dredge, and production expectations of the dredge owners

6) Woodchopper Road, Joe Vogler and the National Park Service

7) Old timers at Coal Creek and their lifestyles

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: mining - Coal Creek\ Cobin, Dan\ Wolff, Ernie\ Matthews, Ed\ Coal Creek\ Kidd, Charlie\ Bayless, Joe\ Abrams, Don\ Coal Creek - dredge\ F.E. Company\ gold - recovery\ mining - goal\ mining - equipment|

Section 2: Coal Creek - work\ Coal Creek - dredge\ Cobin, Dan\ mining - equipment\ mining - Coal Creek\ Slaven's Roadhouse\ seasonal lifestyle\ mining camp - meals\ Coal Creek - economics|

Section 3: Coal Creek - work\ mining - Coal Creek\ Coal Creek - history\ Coal Creek - transportation\ mining - thawing|

Section 4: Ruckle, Dale\ Bayless, Joe\ mining camp - meals\ mining camp - lifestyle\ mining - Brazil\ Coal Creek - work\ mining - equipment\ Schwatz, Al\ Matthews, Ed|

Section 5: Coal Creek - dredge\ mining - equipment\ gold - recovery\ Abrams, Don\ Ruckle, Dale\ Cobin, Dan\ Bayless, Joe\ Au Placers\ Wolff, Ernie\ Coal Creek - economics\ "gold bug"|

Section 6: Woodchopper Creek\ Patty, Ernest\ North Country Challenge\ Au Placer\ Woodchopper - road\ mining - equipment\ mining - Woodchopper\ Vogler, Joe - Woodchopper\ National Park Service - permits\ Weber Creek\ Coal Creek - history\ Coal Creek - economics|

Section 7: Slaven, Frank\ MacGregor, George\ cabins - MacGregor, George\ mining camp - old timers\ lifestyle - subsistence\ blazo cans\ bush living - floods\ bush living - seasonal changes\ fishing - subsistence\ trapping\ Circle\ Alaska Natives - prejudice against\ Biederman's Camp\ fishing - subsistence\ fishing - commercial\ peregrine falcons\ Ambrose, Skip|