Elizebeth Ogle's in depth interview with Sheila Kelly, part of "Authors: Stories Behind the Book" series, covers the author's experience and twenty years of research in writing the book. They also discuss the theatrical version, "Treadwell Gold," base on the book, written by play Rachel Atkins, and performed at Juneau's Perseverance Theatre in June 2017.

Media Reviews

“Despite its lasting impact, Treadwell has largely fallen from our history books. Yet it’s the forgotten chapter that explains how mining would become a successful venture in the far north. So we can thank Sheila Kelly for filling this void with Treadwell Gold a book that nicely details the rise of Treadwell, offers a glimpse at daily life in the town built atop it, and documents the literal collapse of its fortunes.

“. . . a fascinating story, and an entirely different view of the Gold Rush era”

“Sheila Kelly has given us an engagingly written, and well-illustrated account of this largely forgotten town. She’s done a lot of research and it shows. Treadwell enriched early Alaska, and today’s Alaska is equally enriched by having this missing piece of our history so vividly restored.” Fairbanks Daily-News Miner, David James / Books in Review

“…Kelly chooses to immerse us in the place, the period and the people.  Her book is well research[ed], well written, and well-illustrated, with many photographs from the author’s own family albums.  It is a fascinating, detailed, and very human account of this long-neglected piece of Alaskan history.” Mining History Journal

Historian Reviews

“Sheila Kelly has struck gold with her book Treadwell Gold. Her family was part of the first large-scale industrial mining operation that shaped Alaska and its future. The book is a great addition to published history on the Treadwell Mines.” David Stone, co-author of Hard Rock Gold: The Story of the Great Mines That Were the Heartbeat of Juneau, Trustee of the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation, and Past President of the Alaska Miners' Association

"... Author Sheila Kelly has put together a fascinating insight into an all-but-forgotten period of Alaska History." Joe Upton, Author of Alaska Blues, Journeys Through the Inside Passage, and The Coastal Companion

 “A story told with insight and affection. Treadwell embodied the issues of the time: the Gold Rush, mobilization of labor, the rights of native people, the growth of tourism, and changing technology. The author’s family and their neighbors experienced mine accidents, shipwrecks, fires, labor troubles, epidemics, and the romance of a frontier town.” Eleanor Swent, Former Director of the Western Mining in the Twentieth Century series, Regional Oral History Office at University of California-Berkeley Bancroft Library

Reader Reviews

This is history at its best: readable, entertaining and informative. Through interviews and careful reading of historical documents Sheila Kelly expands her family's story of life in the gold-mining town of Treadwell, Alaska to a full-blown history of the rise and fall of the Treadwell mines and their company town. Details of daily life in town and mines make the tale fascinating. By placing her story in the context of Alaskan development and American labor and mining history, Kelly adds to our understanding of both.

Few people outside the Juneau area of Alaska have heard of the Treadwell mines or the now defunct town of the same name. Yet Treadwell's early growth was a catalyst for Alaskan development: launching a lucrative Alaska shipping industry and repaying the U.S. purchase of Alaska more than three times over. The mines' catastrophic cave-in produced a gripping story reminiscent of the Titanic, and a timely reminder of how greed can blind a company's management to impending disaster even when the signs are clearly visible. Sheila Kelly's excellent writing immersed me in the story and kept me turning pages to the end. A plethora of wonderful black and white photographs of the town, the mines and their workers added to my enjoyment. Elise Hulsizer, Amazon Reader Review

Generally, I am not a reader of nonfiction. This account of hard rock gold mining near Juneau in the earliest years of the 20th Century captured my attention by weaving together extensive historic detail, interesting descriptions of mining technology, and tales of life in a company town. Illustrated with many interesting photographs, the book vividly describes daily life in Treadwell, including the amenities provided by the Company to keep its laborers satisfied, the challenging working conditions inside the mines and the ever present noise of the stamping mills. Against that backdrop, the author places the experiences of her own father and his siblings, whose stories of their childhood in Treadwell, along with those of other families as well, add an important dimension to this record of a major early industrial enterprise in Alaska. When the Company's ambitious efforts to extract as much as possible from the ground beneath the town eventually lead to disaster, the result is reminiscent of much more recent instances of the reckless pursuit of profit resulting in environmental and economic disaster. Nancy Kuhn, Amazon Reader Review

The story of Treadwell gripped me from the beginning, as I learned about Sheila Kelly's family and others building a company town around the biggest lode of gold no one's ever heard of. The town itself was a study in contrasts, from the deafening sounds of the mine to the strains of orchestras playing at Treadwell's country club dances, open to everyone, from miners to company president. And I was fascinated to hear that humane, ahead-of-their-time labor practices were carried out in the midst of massive production periods. Kelly's work, told from a family point of view, is well organized, readable and meticulously researched. This unique book reveals important information about a little-known chapter of Alaskan history. Janice Schwert, Amazon Reader Review