Rampart is located on the south bank of
the Yukon River, approximately 75 miles upstream from its junction with
the Tanana River, 100 miles northwest of Fairbanks. It lies at
approximately 65░ 30' N Latitude, 150░ 10' W Longitude (Sec. 23, T008N,
R013W, Fairbanks Meridian). The community is located in the Rampart
Recording District. The area encompasses 233 sq. miles of land and 8 sq.
miles of water.
The name Rampart refers to the range of low mountains through which
the Yukon passes in this region and which forms the "ramparts" of the
City was established in 1897 as a river supply point for gold placer
mines in the hills and creek valleys south of the Yukon. News of strikes
in Minook Creek, Idaho Bar, Quail Creek, and Eureka Creek, all within 30
miles of Rampart, triggered a rush to the community in 1898 and swelled
the population to as high as 10,000 by some estimates. The photograph to
the right shows the community in early 1898 (click on it to enlarge it).
During its heyday, Rampart had a newspaper, hotels, saloons, library,
fire department, hospital, and a host of stores and businesses that were
typical of the mining towns of that time. The boom was short-lived. New
strikes in the Upper Koyukuk River, Anvil Creek, Nome and Fairbanks
rapidly depleted the population. By 1903, only a Native community
remained among the abandoned homes and businesses.
Over time, the population gradually increased as people migrated from
Minook Creek. By 1917, about 30 Natives and 30 Whites were living in
Rampart. An agricultural experiment station was established by the
University of Alaska across the river from Rampart in 1900 to
cross-breed grains and legumes. By 1920, more than 90 acres were under
cultivation. The station also tested vegetables, strawberries, flowers
and field crops. The farm was closed in 1925. An airstrip was
constructed by the Alaska Road Commission in 1939. A salmon cannery was
established in the 1940s, and a sawmill and logging operation was built
in the 1950s. Residents continued to work in nearby gold mines and the
local store served as supply point for area operations.