Dawson City had a very tough early history. By 1897, the population had grown to 5,000. A fire destroyed much of the city that year, and the following winter there was a major food shortage. Approximately two thousand men came down with scurvy. In the spring of 1898, the Yukon River flooded the town, and a typhoid epidemic followed. By the end of the summer, Dawson City’s population was between thirty and forty thousand.
The lucky few who had staked claims in the right areas found their gold. In 1900, it is estimated that over a million ounces of gold were taken out of the area. Gold was selling for $14 an ounce at this time. As late as 1923, gold shipments from the area were valued at five million dollars. Now that most of the gold has been mined, Dawson City relies on tourism to drive its economy.