Gold was discovered on Anvil Creek in September, 1898, and by the end of the year all of Anvil Creek between the coastal plain and Nekula Gulch was staked. The discoverers were the principals of the Pioneer Mining Company, Lindeberg, Lindblom, and Brynteson, and their associates. One claim, Nine Above, was initially proposed to be staked for Eskimos named Gabriel Adams and Constantine Uparazuck in recognition of their aid. The claim was otherwise staked and litigation over Nine Above lasted for decades.
The operators recovered about 100 ounces of gold soon after their discovery, but it was to late in the season for intensive mining. Intensive mining began in 1899; nuggets weighing between 20 and 25 ounces were found, and in 1900 about 85,000 ounces worth of placer gold was produced on Anvil Creek. Cumulative production from discovery until the end of 1900 was estimated at 145,000 ounces of fine gold.
The valley bottom placer was nearly exhausted by the end of 1902. The width of pay ranged from about 50 feet in the lower canyon to as much as 500 feet above Specimen Gulch. In the canyon, the pay gravel was 3 to 5 feet thick under a thin cover of muck and clay. Most of the gold was on bedrock, but it occurred throughout the gravel and in the top 1 to 2 feet of bedrock. By 1902, bench deposits were being mined, especially on the east side of Anvil Creek.
The first hydraulic lifts were installed in about 1903, and a steam shovel was in use by 1904. Gold from the bench gravels was very slightly purer than gold from the creeks; most of the gold was very close to 900 fine. Dredging of previously mined ground was introduced by 1922 and lasted until about 1929.
Placer gold in Anvil Creek had multiple sources. Some could have been derived from mineralized bedrock exposed on Banner Peak, Bonanza Hill, and the saddle between Anvil Creek and Snow Gulch. Much of the gold, however, apparently came from high-level placers near Nekula Gulch at the head of Anvil Creek. Mining of rich bench deposits on the east side of upper Anvil Creek took place until World War II. Mining commenced again on a moderate scale after the increase of gold price in 1968, especially in the bowl between Nekula and Specimen Gulches. From 1993 until at least 1995, virgin bench deposits on the east side were mined by open-cut methods. These deposits and some of those in upper Anvil Creek could not be mined in earlier years because of conflicts with water supply, roads, and railroads.
The largest nugget found on Anvil Creek was by the Pioneer Mining Co. on No. 5 bench, Sep. 8, 1903, and weighed in at 182 ounces. Anvil Creek is a major gold producer in the Nome mining district; the estimated total gold production is 500,000 ounces.