In hindsight, of course, buying Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million looks like a stroke of genius. But in 1867, when United States Secretary of State William H. Seward made the purchase, it quickly became known as Seward’s Folly. But then came 1880.

And gold.

And the stroke of genius notion stuck. Here’s a quick review of Juneau's history:

Pre-1870 – Hundreds of Tlingit spent the winters at what is now Auke Bay and summers at various fish camps throughout what we now call Juneau. Fish and berries were harvested. Other food was hunted, trapped and preserved for the winters. John Muir explored and wrote about the area.

Gold Rush 1880 - Joe Juneau and Richard Harris strike gold and stake their claim. Chief Kowee plays a key role in this discovery. Juneau becomes the first new town in America’s Alaska.

Juneau’s Gold Belt turns out to be 125 miles long and boasts three key mines: the Alaska-Juneau Mining Company, Treadwell Mine and the Alaska Gastineau Mining Company.

Territory Capital 1906 - The office of the governor moves from Sitka to Juneau, completing the transfer of the territorial capital.

New Year’s Day, 1913 – An open house is held at the new Governor’s Mansion. Later that same year, the Territorial Legislature meets in Juneau for the first time.

Statehood January 3, 1959 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Alaska Statehood Proclamation, officially welcoming Alaska into the Union as the 49th—and largest—state.

January 26, 1959 – The first Alaska State Legislature convenes in Juneau, Alaska’s Capital City.

Oil Pipeline - Oil is discovered in Prudhoe Bay and, by 1977, an 800-mile-long pipeline is completed to pump liquid gold to the ice-free port of Valdez. Oil revenues boost the state economy, and Juneau grows.

Tourism - Today, close to 1,000,000 visitors are expected in Juneau each year. Most arrive via cruise ship. Tourism is the city’s largest private-sector employer.

Explore more of Juneau’s history by visiting the City and Borough of Juneau.