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Max R. Hirschberg

MAX R. HIRSCHBERG has traveled nearly the entire length of the Yukon on a bicycle. This trip over uncertain trails and sometimes over country where there were no trails, across 2,000 miles of the snow-covered earth, is a noteworthy journey. If he had done no more than this in Alaska, this experience in the Northland would make an interesting story. But he is prominently associated with the development of the mineral resources of Seward Peninsula, being the manager of the biggest ditch enterprise in the Port Clarence country.

He was born in Columbus, Ohio, March 25, 1877, and educated in the Columbus and Youngstown high schools. The family moved to New York in 1893 and Max obtained a little print shop and learned "the art preservative of all arts." He had an ambition to be an electrician and obtained employment in the Incandescent Electric Light Company of New York where he gained a practical knowledge of the electrical business. Attracted by the Klondike strike he started for Dawson in 1897. When he arrived at Juneau the season was growing late and the Dyea Pass was blockaded. He and his party concluded that there was danger of the river freezing before they reached their destination and determined to remain in Juneau until the following spring.

In the spring of 1898 they started across the pass a short time before the disastrous snow-slide at Sheep Camp. They escaped the slide but their entire outfit of 5,500 pounds was covered by the avalanche. His first mining experience was digging for his outfit, only fifty pounds of which was recovered. They packed this remnant of the outfit to the summit where it was stolen. Disgusted and discouraged, his associates turned back, but undaunted by these misfortunes he determined to con- tinue the journey. After several adventures he reached Dawson, but was unable to find employment in the camp. With meager means he started a road-house. He pros- pected on Dominion and Sulphur Creeks. He left Dawson for Nome March 9, travel- ing on a bicycle. In crossing the Tanana he fell on the ice and broke the pedal of his wheel. He made a wooden pedal and continued the journey. These pedals were not durable and he found it necessary to make a new one every fifty miles.

When he arrived at Shaktolik the ice in the river was breaking. In attempting to cross the Shaktolik River he got in the water and came near drowning. He lost his watch, and his poke containing $1,500 in dust, but saved his bicycle. He was in the water for two hours. Wet and nearly exhausted he resumed his trip. At this season of the year the snow and sunshine make the light very intense, and before Mr. Hirschberg had gone far he became snow blind. During two days, suffering great agony and almost deprived of sight, he wandered over the country. He fortunately stumbled onto a tent and found assistance. He was taken to an Eskimo village and subsequently to a road-house where he remained two weeks recuperating. When he was well and strong he resumed the journey and wheeled into Solomon. At this camp he had the misfortune to break the chain of his bicycle, so he rigged up a sail and attached it to the wheel and sailed over the ice to Cape Nome. In the following winter Mr. Hirschberg rode on a wheel from Dawson to White Horse, so he has traveled the Yukon from White Horse to Uialakleet on a wheel.

He arrived in Nome May 2. 1900 and found employment as a cook on an Anvil Creek claim. During the season he found some float quartz which he traced to the head of Nome River and located the ledge. That fall he went back to the states and organized the Arctic Mining and Trading Company in Youngstown, Ohio. Returning to the Nome country in 1901 he started a store in Teller and made some money for his company out of the merchandise business, and began to acquire likely looking mining property. During this season C. D. Lane came to the Port Clarence country and offered to buy Sunset Creek, a gold bearing stream on the opposite side of the bay from Teller Mr. Lane did not consummate the negotiations, but this incident gave Mr. Hirschberg a valuable pointer. He began quietly to buy and bond mining claims on this creek, and by the fall of 1903 had the entire creek, comprising 104 claims under bond He also acquired a large number of tin claims at Cape Prince of Wales and in the vicinity of Ear Mountain. He returned to the states this season and made arrangements to take up the bonds on the Sunset property and undertake the work of development.  The company's capitalization was increased from $100,000 to $1,000,000, and in the spring of 1904 he returned to Seward Peninsula with a complete outfit to build a ditch from Agiapuk River, which will furnish the water for mining the Sunset property.  The steamship Charles Nelson was chartered in San Francisco to transport the outfit and supplies to Teller.  Eighteen miles of ditch was completed during the season of 1904, and two hydraulic elevators and several giants will begin the work of washing the gravels of Sunset Creek this spring, 1905. While he was in the states in the winter of 1903-'04, he took a course in tin assaying in Columbia College, and subsequently visited the tin mines of Cornwall.  Mr. Hirschberg has great faith in the future of the tin properties of Northwestern Alaska He believes that with adequate capital to develop these tin mines within five years this region will supply all the tin that can be used in the United States.

Mr. Hirschberg adopted the right methods and followed the proper course to win success. He began in a modest way, and from the beginning earned a little money for his stockholders, thereby securing the confidence of the people who were associated with him. This confidence is illustrated by the company's investment of a large sum of money to develop the property, which should be among the best dividend properties of this country.






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