Willow’s first inhabitants were Dena’ina Indians (Athabascan Natives), many still remaining in the area. The community got its start when gold was discovered on Willow Creek in 1897. Robert Hatcher was the first to stake a claim, and soon twelve hard rock mines were operating in the Willow Creek drainage; Independence, Lucky Shot, Gold Chord and Archangel to name a few.
The Alaska railroad (built from 1903-1923) gave further life to gold mining, and soon the area was full of miners, trappers, and homesteaders (who hand-cleared their land in order to grow vegetables or run minx farms).
Mining claims can still be abundantly found throughout the area, claims like this one near an old bridge crossing Willow Creek, and built during the early 1900s circa to accommodate those wishing to stake their claim of a fortune of gold…or not.
Nagaoka Seisakusho 4×5 Wood Field, 90mm Schneider-Kreuznach Super-Angulon lens, f45-1/4 sec, Arista Edu Ultra 200, D76 1:1.