Dwarfed by larger buildings in Seattle’s downtown, the historic Cadillac Hotel is easy to overlook. Damaged by an earthquake in 2001, the old three story hotel structure was slated for demolition before being saved and preserved by Historic Seattle. Today, the Cadillac Hotel once again welcomes visitors, but this time they come not for lodging but to visit the Seattle, Wash. branch of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
Klondike Gold Rush is unique among national park sites: its two units are located in two states more than 1,600 miles apart. At the Seattle unit, visitors can explore the role Seattle played role in sending settlers and prospectors to Canada’s Yukon Territory during the gold rush days of 1897 and 1898. In Skagway, Alaska, the park's visitor season operates mid-May to mid-September. A museum is open year-round, but the visitor center, the historic Moore House and the Mascot Saloon Exhibit are seasonal.
In addition to 25-minute park films offered throughout the day, the Seattle unit has interactive exhibits that introduce visitors to the lives of the men and women who made the arduous trek north, how they survived and what they had to bring with them.
During the summer, interpretive park rangers offer special programs and talks that range from gold mining techniques to walking tours of Seattle’s Pioneer Square Historical District.
Admission to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Seattle is free. The park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with extended morning hours during the summer season; the park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.