Sheila Kelly first heard about the Treadwell gold mines as a child. Her father and aunts were born and raised in the town between 1899 and 1925. She was captivated by her aunts’ stories of gracious living on the Alaska frontier in Treadwell, Alaska , a hard rock gold mining town that had country club amenities. Wanting more details about her family’s life, she interviewed other people who had lived there and scoured the archives and collections of historic photos in museums, libraries and personal scrapbooks. Kelly was surprised to learn that Treadwell embodied an important piece of Alaska history. Her research showed this unique company town emerging as a compelling character and not just the backdrop. The family stories became part of the chronicle of a classic drama of corporate-driven gold fever that produced immense riches but ultimately destroyed its source of wealth. Her walks among the present day ruins of Treadwell, now a ghost town on Douglas Island, spurred her resolve to bring the people and the place back to life. Treadwell Gold, An Alaska Saga of Riches and Ruin is the first book to pull the pieces together.
Sheila Kelly was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. She graduated from Gonzaga University there and later received a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs. Working on environmental issues at the local, national and international levels, she was a grassroots organizer, community educator, public involvement consultant and state environmental planner. She serves on the board of the Charlotte Martin Foundation, funding Pacific Northwest programs for youth and for wildlife and habitat preservation. Sheila has written on Alaska and a variety of natural resource issues. She lives in Seattle.
THE KELLY FAMILY - Photo Left: Willy, Nell, and baby Marion, 1902. Nell died in 1905. Willly later married Mayme Sullivan. Photo Right: Back - Granny Sullivan (step-grandmother, Mayme's mother), Mayme, and Willy. Front Row - Marion, Raymond (the author's father) and Honorah "Honey."