MOUNT DISTIN, el. 2,115 ft.

This is another popular hike among locals.

  • Use geological survey maps C-1 and D-1.

  • Difficulty: Moderate. The elevation gain is about 1,700 feet. Figure on six hours. There are steep dropoffs. Since this hike takes you three miles off the road, be sure to follow the precautions listed at the top of this publication.

  • Distance: About 5 miles, round trip

Drive the Glacier Creek Road to its crossing of Goldbottom Creek, at approx. 64° 44’ 40" N, 165° 23’ 45" W.

At about ten miles from Nome, this road becomes narrow in spots, with thick mud in others during the spring, and washouts. You’ll want to be driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.

The easiest approach is due north, between Silver and Steep Creeks, to near "x1129," continuing north to Distin’s broad western shoulder, and then east, up to the top.

In July, you’ll want to take your time to enjoy the wild flowers, as every hundred feet or so of elevation one type will dominate as one delicate ecosystem evolves into another.

Mount Distin’s peak is a very narrow ridge. Warning: you’ll be tempted to hike down the south side, but don’t. Below you, out of view, the slope becomes dangerously steep. Retrace your steps back to the vehicle. On the way back you might want to drop down into Steep Creek and enjoy the waterfall. Caution: there is a mining shaft in this area. 

By:Tom Busch


GLACIAL LAKE VIEW hike to hill 1350.

  • Use geological survey map Nome C-2.

  • Difficulty: It’s not real tough but it’s long. Plan to spend all day on this one. You gain about 1,000 feet elevation.

  • Since this hike takes you four miles off the road, be sure to follow the precautions listed at the top of this publication.

  • Distance: About 10 miles, round trip. This trip will give you a nice taste of gold country.

Drive the Teller Road to the Cripple River bridge. 64° 40’ 36" N., 165° 44’ 23" W. You’ll find it at the bottom of a valley after a long descent. Park in the turnout, which is just before the bridge and to the right. This is where Oregon Creek joins the Cripple.

Visible to the northeast is a long, rounded hill with three crests. That’s your destination. You’ll be hiking up Oregon, which is the southernmost of the two streams. Follow more or less alongside it to its left on the open tundra, gradually climbing, for a total distance of about 3 miles, and proceed up the hillock to your left, labeled "x 1040" on the topo.

From 1040, look down into the bottom of the creek valley, ¾ mile south, and you may see some evidence of the old Oregon gold mine. Proceed to the top of the hill. There are three main peaks.

From the top, your view of the surrounding country and the Kigluaik Mountains is excellent. From this vantage point, you have a rare peek at Glacial Lake, nestled in the mountains 10 miles to the north.

Caution: there may be a nesting pair of peregrine falcons high above Snowshoe Gulch, and they don’t like visitors.

You can return the way you came, or hike off the northern tip of the hill, north to the Cripple, which you can then follow to the road. We don’t recommend hiking west off the hill, as the half-mile of flats can be boggy.

By:Tom Busch 



  • Refer to geological survey map Nome D-1.

  • Difficulty: Moderate. You gain 2,000 feet of elevation. At your destination, there are steep dropoffs. Since this hike takes you almost four miles off the road, be sure to follow the precautions listed at the top of this publication. On this hike, you get a bit of everything: whacking through willows, stream crossings, boggy tundra, high, rocky tundra and loose, scrabbly rock.

  • Distance: About 7 miles round trip.

  • Requires two river crossings.

  • Go on a clear day. Like the "Thrilling Kigluaik View," this is a view hike.

Park your vehicle about Mile 26 of the Kougarok Road, around 64° 52’ 55" N, 165° 14’ 30" W. For the safety of others, ensure that your parked vehicle is well visible from both directions.

Hike westerly from the road and cross the Nome River, which is only a mile from its origin to the north.

Two miles ahead of you is a broad saddle. Aim toward the north side, about a hundred feet of elevation up the hill, so as to avoid the low area to your south, which is swampy. Get above the brush and out in the open.

After a mile, you’ll drop down to Buffalo Creek, and take care crossing this stream, which can be tricky.

Proceed up to the broad knoll 1015, admiring the view north up the Buffalo Creek notch as you go, and proceed directly to the top of 2754. The hill is cleft by Hudson Creek: Hike up the eastern of the two shoulders.

At the top, you’ll enjoy a sweeping view of the Sinuk River headwaters valley stretching below you to the north, with peak of Mount Osborn 7 miles away.

You’ll notice that Tigaraha Mountain is mislabeled on the geological survey map: this dark, fanged mountain is 3 miles away, across and up the valley, to your NW. To the SW, enjoy the broad, braided Sinuk River as it meanders west to the Bering Sea.

Just for fun, take the hill’s southwest shoulder down. Don’t descend as far as the swamp, and enjoy stepping across the many bubbling threads of playful Hudson Creek at the thousand-foot level. Retrace your steps to the 1015 knoll, and then back to the road. 

By:Tom Busch

KIGLUAIK VIEW (hike to 3080/2993.)

THRILLING KIGLUAIK VIEW, hike to 3080/2993.

Few locals know this one, as the incredible view is not obvious from the road. It’s one of our very favorites, with a payoff that far outweighs the effort.

  • Refer to geological survey map Nome D-1.

  • Difficulty: Moderate. You gain over 2,000 feet of elevation. Your destinations have steep, sudden 1,200-foot dropoffs on the north side. Like the Grand Canyon, you’re not in jeopardy if you don’t step too close to the edge. The hike is primarily on firm, dry ground with a lot of loose rock. Since this hike takes you two miles off the road, be sure to follow the precautions listed at the top of this publication.

  • Distance: About 4 miles round-trip. Plan on 4 to 6 hours.

  • Go on a clear day when the mountain tops are visible.

Begin the hike at about Mile 27 of the Kougarok Road, just after it turns eastward toward Salmon Lake. Park at about 64° 53’ 22" N., 165° 14’ W. For the safety of others, ensure that your parked vehicle is well visible from both directions.

Hike north, directly toward the top of little knob 666, and from there, follow the broad ridge north. It’s about two miles to 2993. Once you near the top, the view--and possibly the wind--will take your breath away. You will discover that the gentle hill you just hiked is actually a steep cliff on its north side. The peak of Mount Osborn is about 5 miles to the north, the Seward Peninsula’s highest point, at 4,714 feet. You will see that what appears on the topo maps to be hikeable ridges are actually lines of spires and sawteeth. To the southeast, Salmon Lake is visible.

Retrace your steps back to the road. 

By:Tom Busch


COPPER CREEK hike to the waterfall.

  • Refer to geological survey map Nome D-1.

  • Difficulty: Easy. However, a creek crossing is required, and after periods of rain, this creek can be difficult or unpassable. You will descend about 200 feet of elevation and rise another 300.

  • Distance: about 2 miles round trip.

At about mile 28 of the Kougarok Road, about two miles after the road curves to the east, watch for a deep cleft in the hill to the south. Just as the Kougarok Road begins to descend, park. For the safety of others, ensure that your parked vehicle is well visible from both directions.

Hike south toward Nugget Creek, which you’ll have to cross in order to visit Copper Creek, which is its tributary. Some years, the crossing is hopping over rocks. Others, Nugget is not prudently crossable. You’ll have to decide.

After crossing, within a few hundred feet, you’ll encounter the old roadbed of the Wild Goose Railroad. Picture the passenger cars filled with 1905 Victorian-dressed women on berry picking expeditions, and tough miners who depended on this line to carry goods to their camps fifty miles north. You can hike the old railbed in each direction for many miles, and a quarter mile above it, there’s a ditch line that you can take for about a mile in each direction.

Inside the notched Copper Creek valley you’ll find a satisfying waterfall.

If you’re adventurous, hike up the peak to your left (SE), which has a broad summit at 1520 ft., only about 500 feet above the notch of the valley. There’s a long ridge at the top, about ¾ of a mile long, and if you hike to its southern edge, you’ll get a glimpse into a steep and unforgiving area that people probably have not visited for a long time.

Retrace your steps to the road. 

By:Tom Busch


DOROTHY CREEK, hike to the waterfall.

This is a popular hike among locals, an easy hike to a great spot, which begins at the mouth of an extensively mined creek.

  • Refer to geological survey map Nome D-1.

  • Difficulty: Easy. However, our preferred route will require you to gain about 700 feet of elevation. We’ve done it with 8-year-old children.

  • Distance: About 3 miles round-trip. Requires river crossing.

Begin the hike at approximately Mile 24 of the Kougarok Road, 64° 49’ 50" N, 165° 13’ 15" W. Park along the road and head west, crossing the Nome River. There is a private cabin in the area; please respect its owners’ privacy. The mounds of gravel are tailings from mining operations.

Some people hike up the creek itself, and with care, it’s possible to keep dry if your hiking shoes are waterproof.

Hiking up the creek, however, it’s possible to box in a bear, and to avoid that possibility, we usually hike high along hill 957. That’s the hill to your left, on the south side of the creek.

Climb straight up. The only bushwhacking occurs as you cross the Miocene Ditch, about 150 feet above the Nome River. You’ll want to hike near the top of 957, aiming right, as the lower part of this hill is ankle-busting steep. Hiking around the right (initially north-facing) slope of the hill, as it follows the creek, you will eventually find yourself heading south. After about a mile and a half, you will see a small falls below you.

Hike above the falls, and turn west, crossing the stream. Just below the falls on the western side, it’s a daring, but carefully do-able scramble down the steep side to the creekbed. After enjoying the grotto of the falls, we usually hike out along the creek.

On the way out, watch for slippery rocks. As the valley widens, take time to inspect the remains of the old flume that carried Miocene Ditch water across the entrance of this narrow notched valley. At 400 feet, this flume was the second longest along the Miocene Ditch.

By the way, the name Dorothy was first reported for this creek in 1901. Was Dorothy the girlfriend of the first miner to reach the creek? Nobody knows. 

By:Tom Busch



The Miocene Ditch, completed in 1904, snaking along the hills on the west side of the Nome River Valley at a slight grade, carried water from the hills to the gold fields close to Nome for hydraulic mining. This 1,000-foot long flume was the longest siphon in the system.

  • Refer to geological survey map Nome C-1.

  • Difficulty: Easy. You gain about 200 feet elevation. Some of the walking may be swampy, depending upon the year.

  • Distance: About 3 miles round trip.

Drive the Glacier Creek Road to Grub Gulch, about 15 air miles due north of Nome, approx. 64° 44’ 15" N., 165° 23’ W. The gulch will not be marked. From Nome, after a ¾-mile downhill, the road cuts right to cross a creek, and bends sharply left again, with a little 50-foot knob of a hill to the right.

Follow the little trail leading up the knob, and park. Ensure that the grass in the area is not touching the muffler of your vehicle. Vehicles have burned when this has happened.

Hike due east. There’s an old cat trail, if you can find it. Depending upon the year, there may be a lot of brush, which you will want to avoid as much as possible. This is low country, so make lots of noise to alert any large animals to your presence.

As the upward slope lessens, aim slightly to your right, and just to the east of the top of the saddle, you should see the remains of the flume below you. It may only be visible as a line of brush. In addition to the flume, you will have a nice view of about ten miles of Nome River valley. You will plainly see the Kougarok road, which hugs the lower flanks of the hills on the valley’s east side.

There’s a broad, grassy area to the north, which you will want to avoid. Most of the time it’s very wet. Retrace your steps to the vehicle. 


NEWTON PEAK, 5 miles NNE of Nome.

  • Refer to geological survey map Nome C-1.

  • Difficulty: Very easy and relatively safe, even for little kids, though you do gain 500 feet elevation. The spaces are wide open.

  • On a clear day, you have a great view of Nome to the south, the mountains to the north. Distance: about 3 miles round trip.

Drive north on the Teller Road from Nome. As the main road curves to the left, turn right onto the narrow cutoff to the right, labeled "Nome Dexter Bypass." About three miles later, you’ll crest in the saddle between Anvil Mountain and Newton Peak. Near the crest, turn onto a small road to the left. This is the road to Anvil Rock, and you’ll need to park so as to allow other vehicles to pass.

Cross the main road and hike due east up the slope, to the saddle between North Newton Peak and Newton Peak. Proceed south about ½ mile to the very top, where the FAA has a cone-shaped radio repeater. You’ll want to keep kids away from the western edge of the top, which has a steep 300-foot dropoff.

Newton gives you a terrific view of the Nome River valley and the Kigluaik Mountains to the north. Ten miles to the east, you’ll see the long, 600-foot high Cape Nome along the coast. In 1859, a British sailor recorded "C. Name?" alongside this feature on a nautical map, and the notation was mistaken by a royal cartographer as "Cape Nome," giving Nome its name. East beyond Cape Nome you may see what appears to be an island in the extreme distance. That’s Cape Darby, a mountainous hillside about eighty miles away, not too far from the villages of Golovin and White Mountain, which are checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail. Retrace your steps. 

By:Tom Busch


KING MOUNTAIN, about 7-1/2 miles NNE of Nome.

  • Refer to geological survey map Nome C-1.

  • Difficulty: Easy, though you do gain about 900 feet of elevation. There are steep areas but no cliffs. We’ve hiked it with kids as young as 5, and they’ve done better than we did.

  • Distance, about 3 miles round trip.

From Nome, drive north on the Teller Road. Three miles from town as the road curves to the left, you’ll see a narrow cutoff to the right, labeled "Nome Dexter Bypass." Turn onto this road. About three miles later, you’ll crest in the saddle between Anvil Mountain and Newton Peak. King Mountain is directly north of you.

Proceed down the road for about a half-mile, descending the north side of Newton Peak. Watch below you, and along the bottom of King Mountain, for a region that’s not too thick with willows, and that’s not too far from Grouse Gulch, which is the deep cut on King that’s filled with dark willow bushes. Park your vehicle. For the safety of others, ensure that your parked vehicle is well visible from both directions.

Hike down to Dexter Creek and then directly up King. The large graveled area at the head of the creek was mined in the mid-1990’s. At the top of Grouse Gulch, there’s an old cabin, and in that vicinity, you’ll cross the Wild Goose Railroad, which pushed through here in 1903, and was abandoned in 1955. Most of the track was taken up, to be sold to a short line on Catalina Island California (although the steel was too old and was eventually shipped to the Lower 48 as scrap), but near this cabin you’ll find one of the few stretches where the old track is intact. Hike directly up King Mountain.

Somewhere on the south shoulder of King, between the 700 ft. and 900 ft. level, there’s an old hard rock shaft that’s tall enough to stand up in, and only goes back about ten feet. Entering old mining structures is dangerous and should not be attempted. However, this one is tame. From the top of King Mountain, enjoy the super view of the Kigluaiks to the north, the ocean to the south, and the hills surrounding Nome. 

By:Tom Busch


ANVIL ROCK, elevation 1062.

  • Difficulty: Easy, though you gain about 600 feet of elevation.

  • Distance: About 1 mile, round trip.

Nome’s original name was "Anvil City," after this distinctive rock, some 4 miles north of downtown. You can drive to it, but why would you want to, when a hike to the summit takes you through one of the world’s most renowned wildflower locations.

From Nome, drive north onto the Teller Road. After the road curves west, about 3-1/2 miles from town, watch for a turn to the right, labeled "Glacier Creek Road." If you pass Nome-Beltz High School, you’ve gone ¼ mile too far. Glacier Creek Road takes you directly onto Anvil Mountain.

After the road veers left (west) along the side of the hill, look for a convenient place to park. For the safety of others, ensure that your parked vehicle is well visible from both directions.

Hike directly up, avoiding rocky and steep areas. At the top, you’ll enjoy an excellent view of the Kigluaik Mountains to the north, as well as the entire Nome basin.

Around the rock you’ll notice concrete, remains of a World War II gun emplacement. To the east are the four huge parabolic antennas of the White Alice Communications System, which the Air Force built in 1957 and turned off 14 years later. This connected arctic missile radar sites with Fairbanks via several hops. The easternmost antennas (one of which is currently used as an amateur radio repeater) point to Granite Mountain, in the central Seward Peninsula. The western antennas communicated with Northeast Cape on St. Lawrence Island, which then relayed signals to Tin City, about 90 miles northwest of Nome. The Anvil Mountain location could communicate with Tin City directly, but a beam from Anvil Mountain would have continued over Soviet territory and would have been vulnerable to Russian interception. 

By:Tom Busch

The Great Flying Seal

In 1926, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, American financier Lincoln Ellsworth and Italian aeronautical engineer Umberto Nobile were responsible for one of the most remarkable air flights ever witnessed in the far north. These men with a crew of 13 made a pioneering flight over the North Pole in a semi-rigid dirigible designed by Nobile.

These courageous adventurers made the first crossing of the Arctic in the airship Norge (pronounced Nor-geh). They left Spitzbergen, Norway on May 11, 1926 and landed in Alaska two days later. The average speed of the dirigible was 40 mph. The three previous claims to have arrived at the North Pole – by Frederick Cook in 1908, Robert Peary in 1909, and Richard E. Byrd in 1926 are all disputed, as being either of dubious accuracy or outright fraud. Some of those disputing these earlier claims therefore consider the crew of the Norge to be the first verified explorers to have reached the North Pole.

Fifteen hours after leaving Spitzbergen, the Norge dropped U.S., Italian, and Norwegian flags over the North Pole from a height of 600 feet. Soon heavy freezing fog was creating ice particles that the ship’s propellers were flinging into the hull at great force. Throughout the trip the crew could see vast wastes of rough, frozen ocean. A much-relieved crew finally sighted the dark coastline of Alaska after 45 hours of flying. The Norge’s goal was Nome, but worsening weather and winds forced the ship to head west, and after dodging mountain peaks in fog, the Norge eventually made Teller located 75 miles west of Nome. Amundsen was forced to make a landing on the harbor there. While the crew safely debarked, most of the Norge was wrecked by high winds. The residents of Teller helped to dismantle the huge, ominous looking airship.

The landing of the Norge on Norwegian Independence Day in May 1926 must have been an incredible sight to the people of Teller. The residents called the strange looking vessel, “The Great Flying Seal”. Those who witnessed the landing still have a vivid recollection of the event. Some of the salvage was used by the Eskimos. The rubberized outer skin of the Norge was transformed by diligent mothers into rainproof parkas while some of the small metal parts were used as children’s toys and kitchen utensils.

World War II on Seward Peninsula

On 11 March 1941, the United States Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act in order to assist the Allies in fighting fascist regimes in Europe. This act authorized the country to provide supplies to any countries deemed “vital to the defense of the United States.” The Lend-Lease Act of 1941 permitted the United States to lend or lease supplies to allies fighting aggression. It replaced the cash-and-carry policy. Under the Lend-Lease Act, payment could be in kind, in property, or in any benefit accepted by the United States, and payment could be deferred to a later date. The act intended weapons and supplies to go particularly to Great Britain but allowed shipments to any country whose defense was “vital” to the interests of the United States. After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, that included the Soviet Union.

The United States wanted the Soviet Union to continue to fight Germany on Germany’s Eastern Front, so the United States sent equipment and supplies to our Soviet allies. We were allies by sharing a common enemy. To deliver aircraft to the Soviet Union, the United States constructed the Northwest Staging Route, an air route over the Alaska Highway then also under construction. Montana became the point of departure for aircraft being ferried to Russia via Alaska. WASPS, Women Air Service Pilots, often flew airplanes from aircraft factories to Great Falls. In Great Falls, the 7th Ferrying Group of the Air Transport Command took charge. The Ferrying Group transported the planes to Alaska, to Fairbanks, where Soviet pilots accepted command. The Soviets flew the airplanes over the AlaskaSiberia Air Route, from Fairbanks, to Nome’s Marks Field (now the Nome Airport), across the Bering Sea, over Siberia, to the railhead at Krasnoyarsk. The Soviet pilots experienced a few accidents due to weather, equipment problems, or inexperience — most of the Soviet pilots had only a few hours of training in the U.S. aircraft they were flying west, yet most of the planes made it into combat along the Eastern Front.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration began construction of the Nome airfield in 1941, and the Army soon assumed responsibility for what was called Marks Air Force Base. The intent was to protect the northwest coast of Alaska from attack by the Japanese, and military planes based at Nome provided that protection throughout the war. These planes were based initially at Marks Field and later at the nearby Satellite Field. At different times, B-18 and B-24D bombers and P-39F fighters provided the defense of Nome and the northwest coast. The second field was constructed to separate the defensive aircraft of the 11th Air Force from Air Transport Command and Soviet personnel involved in the Lend-Lease activities at Marks Field. Lend Lease became the main activity at Marks Field, though fog at Marks sent all aircraft to Satellite Field or inland landing strips.

From September 1942 through August 1945, Army's Air Transport Command, specifically the 7th Ferrying Group — based in Great Falls, Montana — delivered nearly 8,000 airplanes to the Soviets in Fairbanks.

Nome Overview


The "Three Lucky Swedes, " Jafet Lindberg, Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson,

discovered gold on Anvil Creek in 1898. News reached the gold fields of the Klondike that winter and by 1899 Anvil City, as the new camp was called, had a population of 10,000. It was not until gold was discovered in the beach sands in 1899 and news reached the outside that the real stampede was on. Thousands poured into Nome during the spring of 1900, as soon as steamships from the ports of Seattle and San Francisco could reach the north through the ice. In the treeless location, tents soon covered the landscape, reaching the water's edge, and extending most of the 30 miles between Cape Rodney and Cape Nome. Buildings of finished board lumber began going up as early as 1899, as soon as ships reached Nome from the states with supplies.

The gold camp's "Hey Day" was the first decade of this century. Once the largest city in Alaska, estimates of it's population reached as high as 20,000 but the highest recorded population in 1900 was 12,488. The U.S. Census of 1900 listed one-third of all whites recorded in Alaska as living in Nome.

Due to fires (1905 & 1934) and violent storms (1900, 1913, 1945 & 1974), very little of Nome's gold rush architecture remains. Although most of the remaining examples are not grand, they have a touch of the Victorian detail popular during the gold rush period. Two major events altered the physical appearance of present-day Nome to a great degree. The fire of 1934 completely destroyed the business section on Front Street and portions of residential area surrounding it, changing the character of the commercial district. The other event was World War II. Nome was the last stop on the ferry system for planes flying to the U.S.S.R. for the Lend/Lease program. The airstrip in current use was built and troops were stationed here. Signs of military presence include the numerous Quonset huts and knock-down buildings (usually long narrow buildings put together from five foot sections).

Today, air travel has replaced the steam ship as the chief mode of travel to Nome, and residents make their living from means other than the gold pan and rocker. The legacy from the gold rush remains. That legacy is only a small part of the contemporary community, adding to the flow of people and events from the past 96 years of Nome's history. The Naming of Nome: In February 1899, a group of 42 men who had staked property and mining claims on the Snake River near Nome City, officially agreed to change the name of the new mining camp to Anvil City, because of the confusion with the Nome River, which was located four miles to the southeast, and with Cape Nome, the point of land located twelve miles from the city.

The name change only made the situation even more confusing. The town was locally known as Anvil City for much of 1899, but the United States Post Office Department insisted on calling the community "Nome," apparently because it was thought that a town called Anvil City would be easily confused with the village of Anvik on the lower Yukon. A competing town site had been established at the mouth of the Nome River and it was also called Nome City. The Anvil City merchants feared that the Post Office might decide to move the "Nome" Post Office from Anvil City on the Snake River to Nome City on the Nome River. After a vote was held the merchants reluctantly agreed to change the name of Anvil City back to Nome.

Against it's wishes the city was stuck with the unusual name of Nome. Unlike other towns which are named for explorers, heros or politicians, Nome was named as a result of a 50 year-old spelling error. In the 1850's an officer on a British ship off the coast of Alaska noted on a manuscript map that a nearby prominent point was not identified. He wrote "? Name" next to the point. When the map was recopied, another draftsman thought that the ? was a C and that the a in "Name" was an o, and thus a map-maker in the British Admiralty christened "Cape Nome."

© 2001 Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum, Box 53, Nome AK 99762 (907)443-6630,

The 1925 Serum Run to Nome

What might have been the most important "sled dog race" that will ever be run in Alaska ended in Nome on February 2, 1925, when Gunner Kaassen drove his tired dog team down an almost deserted First Avenue. At stake were the lives of countless Nome children who had been exposed to the dread disease, diphtheria. Kaassen was one of the 20 drivers who took part in the record 674 mile relay race from Nenana to Nome. He delivered 300,000 units of antitoxin serum to Dr. Curtis Welch. The serum arrived in Nome just one week after leaving Anchorage and 127½ hours from Nenana. It was on January 21 that Dr. Welch first diagnosed the diphtheria outbreak in Nome, and immediately sent telegraph messages to Fairbanks, Anchorage, Seward and Juneau, asking for help. The only serum in Alaska was found in Anchorage, where Dr. J.B. Beeson had 300,000 units at the Alaska Railroad Hospital. The problem was to get it to Nome in the shortest time possible. The only two planes available were in Fairbanks and had been dismantled and stored for the winter. A pair of pilots offered to attempt the flight if the planes could be made ready, but it was left to Alaska's governor to decide. Many thought dog teams were the only reliable answer. In Juneau, Governor Scott C. Bone decided on dog teams. He ordered an additional supply of antitoxin from Seattle. Then he called on the Northern Commercial Company, as the largest organization in the Yukon River area, to arrange for relay teams. Men of the Army Signal Corps, at their scattered telegraph stations, also assisted. In Nome, Dr. Welch and the mayor, George Maynard, discussed ways to get the serum to Nome. They suggested sending the serum to Nenana by rail and then sending a team to the rail line, or asking a fast team to start the antitoxin down the Tanana and Yukon Rivers and have a team from Nome meet it about half way. At Anchorage, Dr. Beeson packed the serum in a cylinder, which he wrapped in an insulating quilt. The whole parcel was then tied up in canvas for further protection. The parcel left Anchorage by train on Monday, January 26, in the charge of conductor Frank Knight of

the Alaska Railroad. It was at 11 p.m. on Tuesday that the train reached Nenana and Knight turned over the parcel to the first driver, William "Wild Bill" Shannon. Shannon carried the serum 52 miles to Tolovana with his nine big malemutes in weather that averaged -52˚F, where he handed it over to Dave Green. Green carried the serum 31 miles to Manley Hot Springs with his 8 dogs in temperatures of -30˚F with 20 MPH winds and a wind chill of -72˚F and handed it over to Johnny Folger. Folger, an Athabascan, went the 28 miles to Fish Lake with eight dogs, bad weather, and no serious problems. Sam Joseph, another Athabascan, picked the serum up there and carried it 67 miles to Tanana, with the temperatures still dropping. Titus Nickoli wasn’t a mail carrier but a trapper. With his 7 village dogs and -34˚F weather he carried it 34 miles to Kallands. Dave Corning carried it 24 miles to Nine Mile Cabin with an average of 8 MPH and -42˚F weather. Edgar Kalland and his 7 dogs picked it up at Nine Mile Cabin and went 30 miles to Kokrines in temperatures of -44˚F. Harry Pitka carried it another 30 miles to Ruby with an average of 9 MPH in temperatures of -47˚F and total white-out conditions. Billy McCarty carried it 28 miles to Whiskey Creek with his team of 7 dogs and -43˚F. Edgar Nollner, another Athabascan, left Whiskey Creek at 7P and carried the serum to Galena in 3 hours with a team of 7 dogs and -40˚F temperatures. His brother, George Nollner, with the same dog team carried it from Galena to Bishop Mountain, 18 miles. It was too dark for the dogs to lope, they could only trot.

22 year old Charlie Evans went the 30 miles to Nulato, in 5 hours and temperatures of -64˚F. He had no rabbit skins to cover the groin area of his dogs, and 2 of them began to freeze as they ran. Tommy Patsy went the next 36 miles in 3½ hours to Kaltag passing the half-way point of the race and arriving in Kaltag at noon on Friday, January 30th. At Kaltag, an Athabascan river pilot known as Jack Screw, picked the serum up and took it away from the Yukon River and over a mountain pass, the 40 miles to Old Woman Cabin. The weather was growing worse and he had to face a blinding snowstorm. Victor Anagick, an Eskimo, carried it 34 miles to Unalakleet. Another Eskimo, Myles Gonangnan, carried it 40 miles to Shaktoolik. He had to break the trail the entire way and everyone said it was one of the worst snow storms in history. It took 12 hours for his team of 8 dogs to make the run. He reached Shaktoolik exhausted and frostbitten. Henry or Harry Ivanoff, part Eskimo and part Russian, started from Shaktoolik to Golovin with the serum. Half a mile along the trail, the dog team picked up the scent of reindeer and became tangled in their harnesses. As Ivanoff was struggling to untangle his team, he was met by Leonhard Seppala from Nome. Leonhard Seppala had left Nome intending to rest at Nulato and return with the serum. But he met Ivanoff at Shaktoolik where he took the serum and turned around, heading back for Nome. He carried the serum back over Norton Sound with the thermometer -30˚F. Seppala had to face into a merciless gale and in the darkness retrace his route across the uncertain ice. When Seppala turned the serum over to Charlie Olson in Golovin, after carrying it 124 miles, he and his team, including the famous lead dog, Togo, had traveled a total of 260 miles. Charlie Olson met Seppala in Golovin for the 25 mile run to Bluff. The snowstorm had turned the weather into a blizzard, with 50 MPH winds and a temperature of -30˚F. He and his 7 dogs were knocked off of the trail several times by gusts. In 4 hours and 15 minutes he reached Bluff with frostbitten fingers to prove that he had fought the storm. Olson turned the serum over to Gunnar Kaasen, who took it the remaining 53 miles to Nome. Gunnar Kaassen left Bluff at 10P that night to run the last stretch. Rumor has it that he bypassed Ed Rohn, who was waiting at Safety to take the serum the last segment of the relay. Kaasen had to battle 80 MPH winds and had to trust his lead dog, “Balto”, to follow the trail.

He made it to Nome, but not with out mishaps. Once his sled tipped and he lost the serum in a snowdrift. But Kaassen and the lifesaving diptheria serum reached Nome just in time, and a diptheria epidemic was prevented. Balto, Kaassen's lead dog, owned by Seppala, and was memorialized with a statue in Central Park in New York City. Seppala always felt that his lead dog, Togo, didn't get enough recognition for his 260 mile effort. After Togo died, Seppala had him custom mounted and he is now on display at Iditarod® Headquarters in Wasilla. Balto is on display in Cleveland at the Museum of Natural History.

Created from information provided by the Iditarod Website.

Nome Convention and Visitors Bureau P. O. Box 240, Nome, AK 99762 907 443-6624 * 5/4 - #7

Fort Davis

In April 1900 A military post named Fort Davis was Established on the coast a little more than three miles east of town. It was named after Jefferson C. Davis, general of the union troop station in Alaska when it was transfer from Russia to the united states in 1967.(1)

1) Gold-Rush Nome By: Carrie M. McLain

Lomen Brothers

In 1903, at the height of the Northern gold rush, the Lomen family of Minnesota relocated to Nome, Alaska. Rather than pan for gold, they sought other commercial opportunities in the booming Alaskan economy.

Within a few years, the family owned a men’s clothing store, pharmacy, stationary store, shipping company, a local photography studio and the Lomen Reindeer Corporation.

The father, Gutbrand, acted as a local attorney as well as the Norwegian Vice Consul. One of his sons, Ralph, was the chief of police. His brother, Henry, acted as the photography studio’s manager while another Lomen boy, Alfred, was the primary photographer.

Rather than set up a new shop from scratch, the family purchased an already established photography studio. There they took studio portraits of residents and also sold souvenirs. The majority of souvenir images depicted either members of the indigenous Yupik Eskimo people or transient gold miners prospecting their claims.

In 1934, after three successful decades, the Lomen photography studio burned to the ground during the great Nome fire, destroying over 30,000 negatives and 50,000 prints. Only about 3,000 negatives were salvaged. Despite the enormous loss, the remaining negatives stand as invaluable primary document of Yupik customs and also of the the waves of prospectors seeking their fortunes.

Around the time of the fire, the family’s primary business, the Lomen Reindeer Corporation, collapsed after Congress mandated the return of all Alaskan reindeer herds to the control of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

By 1940 the family had relocated to Seattle, Washington, eager for new commercial ventures in another growing economy.

Nome: Storm of 1913

Nome, Alaska, Oct.7.-Nome's business district practically swept away; hundred of thousands of dollars in property lost; five hundred homeless; ruin and destruction and desolation everywhere, and the end not in sight, is the condition existing here today, as a result of a storm that broke with tremendous fury early yesterday morning and continues unabated. There have been no lives lost.

One mile of Front Street has been washed away. The Elite baths and hotel, a four story building, crashed to the ground at the mercy of the waves at 3 a.m. yesterday. Huge walls of water rushed swirling and eddying over the wreckage and a din like the roar of cannon (sic) struck terror to the people.

The scenes in Front Street yesterday were indescribable. Jewelry stores, warehouses, dry goods stores, restaurants, saloons-all this section of Front Street, has been swept out. Breakers forty feet high swept over Front Street. All hands were commandeered to aid in securing the effects of the stricken businessmen. Thousands of dollars worth of goods have been swept out to sea and with winter at hand a famine is feared, as the provisions and stores of the city have been practically wiped out.

Every building along the beach side of Front Street is in ruins. The Board of Trade saloon and restaurant was among the earlier buildings to suffer destruction.

The life saving station is swept away. Nome spent a night of horror last night. The blackness added to the terror of the scene and the terrific wind and rain continued with greater fury.

At 10 o'clock this morning it is feared the entire business section of Nome will be carried away. The people are working hopefully and with the spirit of the times are facing the situation bravely.

It is estimated that fully five hundred people are homeless.

Every building on the sand spit has been washed away excepting the cold storage plant. This building is weakening and may go any minute. The workers are unable to cope with the water and are confining their efforts to moving goods to places of safety.

The storm first broke Saturday morning. A fifty-mile gale blew but this velocity was soon increased to sixty miles, according to weather observations.

By noon yesterday the calamity was almost at its height. The suddenness with which the storm increased left the city entirely unprepared to receive it. Sunday the storm raged and notice was posted that the steamer Victoria would not sail for Seattle until its abatement. Little alarm was felt in Nome Sunday. By midnight the first signs of approaching destruction were in evidence. The fire bells were rung to summon the people, but before the hastily called meeting had assembled the waved began to pour onto Front Street. Each receding comber carried debris with it.

Daily Alaska Dispatch, Juneau, AK 8 Oct 1913

Nome: Fire of 1905

SEATTLE, Sept. 24.— The steamer Olympia arrived last night from Nome where she left September 15 with news of the fire which wiped out several blocks in the heart of the city on the morning of September 13. The Post Intelligencer's special correspondent at Nome says of the fire:

Fire of 1905.jpg

"The fire started at 3 o'clock in the morning In the Alaska saloon building, owned by Deau & O'Reilly, and was not checked until forty-three business buildings on bath sides of Front street were destroyed. Some twenty or more cabins In the rear of the buildings on the north side of Front street were also destroyed. That the fire was checked in the west was solely due to the prompt action of Scheid & Co., assisted by many willing hands. In the short space of forty-five minutes Scheid & Co. had taken two boilers to the lagoon on River street, made connections with a pump, attached a hose and a stream was playing on the burning buildings. A second boiler was soon in position and another line of hose attached, and then only . did the hundreds of people watching the fire breathe a sigh of relief. „ • ,

When the fire started and during its progress there was little wind. So far as known up to the sailing of the Olympia there were no fatalities. The fire Is supposed to have been caused by the upsetting of a kerosene lamp. An alarm was promptly turned in, but by the time the chemical arrived the flames had gained such headway that little check could be made. »

The inflammable nature of the buildings caused the fire to spread rapidly and this was accelerated by the explosion of gasoline tanks in the buildings on both sides of the street. With each explosion the burning gasoline was scattered far and wide. In the narrow street the heat was so intense that fighting the fire from that quarter became impossible.

The losses are: D. Bianchi, Tacoma grocery, $6000; Monogram saloon, $4000; King & King, grocery; $500; city hall, $5000; Hunter saloon, $8000; Carmen building, $7000; Eagle saloon, $2000: Pioneer building, $3000; bowling alley, $1000; Monte Carlo building, $3000; A. B. C. saloon, $4000; Eldorado building, $4000; Eldorado saloon, $3000; Northern ealoon, $5000; Columbia building, $5000; New York store, $3000; Alaska building, I $10,000; Mather building, $5000; Second Class saloon building, $4000; Secon'l Class saloon, $2500; Royal cafe, $5000; Monopole cigar building, $2000; Royal cafe building, $5000; Gem cigar store, damage $500; Nome cigar store, damage $500; Reception building, $5000; Alaskan Telephone & Telegraph company, $2000; Pacific Cold Storage company, $500; J. V. Bursik clothing store, $8000; Simonsen Brothers, owners of the building. $2000; Dr. Wesley, loss on building, $1500; W. A. Boyce, machine shop, $3000; North Pole bakery, $3500; Lucy J. Campbell, $1300; Butler & Jose building, $2500; H. O. Butler, druggist, $4000; Elite bath house, $6000; J. P. Parker & Co., grocers, $5000; Horseshoe restaurant, $1000; C. J. Junte, barber shop, $2000; North Star restaurant, $3000; Emporium clothing store, $3000; Delmonlco restaurant and building, $3000; The Hub saloon, $20*000; Mrs. S. Carscadden, $1500; Klondike restaurant, $2000.

-Los Angeles Herald, Volume 32, Number 359, 25 September 1905