The "Three Lucky Swedes," Jafet Lindbert, Erik Lindbolm and John Bryneston, discoverd gold in 1898, at Anvil Creek, just above the present day town of Nome. At that time it was an uninhabited area in a territory that was uncharted and little known.
It took months for word to reach the outside world of the fabulous gold strike that had been made, but when it did, thousands of men came from the United States, Canada, Russia, and even Europe. By 1900, two thirds of all white men in the Alaska Territory could be found here, and Nome was for a short time the largest city in the territory.
These statues stand in a Anvil City Square, beside the Gold Pan Monument (Photo on Intro. Page), and in front of St. Joseph's Church.
The Swanberge Dredge, which operated until the 1950's, is preserved today as a historic relic. It is one of 18 mining dredges which once could be found in and around Nome. They crept across the tundra, digging pay dirt, and creating their own float ponds as they went.
The Little Creek Rail Depot, no longer in use, can be found behind the Little Creek Mining Station. A brightly painted old rail truck still sits on the rails, recalling Nome's boisterous gold rush era.
Rustic rest rooms are available behind the Depot.
One of the highlights on my tour of Nome was a visit to the Little Creek Mining Station. Our tour group was greeted by a guide who provided each of us with our own gold pan and taught us how to pan for gold. I actually found several small specks of gold in the bottom of my pan full of gravel and made them into a refrigerator magnet. There is also a small museum with a few exhibits here, and our group was shown an audio-visual presentation about the gold rush of the 1890s.
The finish gate for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race is a beautiful piece of work! And it is just sitting there, along the side of Front Street, waiting to be pulled into place on the street for the dogs to go through when the racers cross the finish line. I couldn't believe it when I saw it there! I figured it would be locked up somewhere. But no, it was just sitting beside the street. It is a huge piece of wood. I can't imagine moving it. I wonder how they do? I want to go back to Nome to see the finish of the race! Wow! What a thrill! And to think, my mom was living there last year and got to see it, and now my son lives there too, and will see it with her this year! I'm jealous!
Unique to Nome is it has a road sytem that allow you to drive to three villages and catch a glimpse of remote Alaska that is hard to grasp without seeing for yourself.
Use Nome as your base and spend 2 or 3 days driving to Council 72 miles to the east, Teller 73 miles to the west or Taylor 85 miles to the north.
I made the drive to Council that takes you along the sandy beaches south of town along the Iditirod Trail past Solomon with "The Last Train to Nowhere" over Skookum Pass until you reach Council, an abandoned gold rush town that once was home to 14 brothels in it's heyday. You can still see a lot there despite the century of Bering Sea storms.
The Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving & showcasing the Nome Gold Rush, Bering Strait Eskimo, aviation as well as contemporary history & culture associated with Nome, Alaska & the Bering Strait region of Western Alaska. The Museum exists to promote & provide education & research to everyone from elementary school children to international visitors & researchers.
The Museum owns an extensive historical photograph collection with over 14,000 images that are available to purchase for publication or personal use
Jafet Lindbert, Erik Lindbolm and John Bryneston, discoverd gold in 1898, at Anvil Creek, near present day Nome. They had no idea what their discovery would cause.
Within a few months, every man with a dream of riches was heading north for the Gold Rush. Nome was actually the largest city in Alaska for a short period.
On Front Street, there are a few souvenir shops. They sell, among other things, carvings made out of tooth ivory. Also on Front Street on the side toward the ocean is a free museum (shown in photo). In town, Old St. Joseph's Church, one of the few surviving buildings from a big fire in 1934. There is also a mural on the public library. The finish line of the Iditarod race on Front Street is marked with a monument. East of Nome is Cape Nome. One can see where rocks have been cut from the cliff to create the seawall protecting Nome. Nome was once hit by a tidal wave. On the road between Nome and Cape Nome, there is an abandoned conveyor belt with iron buckets which dates from the gold rush. Overlooking Nome are some old early warning radar installations.
I would say that my two favorite months of each year is March and June.
March because it's the time of the infamous 'Last Great Race,' the "Iditarod!" This event attracts visitors from all over the world - I've known of people from Sweden, Germany, Spain, Russia, Canada, Africa (I can't remember which country), and India to come and watch the incredibly brave and dedicated Iditarod Mushers 'mush' across the finish line.
June is another great month to visit this region of Alaska - it's the month of the "Midnight Sun Festival," a celebration of having sunlight shining upon this great land which lasts almost 24-hours each day for the majority of summer. During this time, the citizen's of Nome celebrate with multiple activities. My personal favorite is the "Raft Race" that a lot of people get excited over - the raft race participants build their own rafts (no motors allowed!), and start at a bridge on the Nome River to race downstream as swiftly as the waters will let them to a sandspit next to the Dexter Roadhouse (another one of Nome's bars that is located about 5-6 miles North of Nome, provided you take the short road; it's about 10-11 miles if you take the long road).
Another fun activity is the annual "Great Bathtub Race" which is held on Labor Day. Now, if you have never seen anyone being raced down the street in a bathtub filled with water on a cool, Fall day, this is the perfect opportunity to see it happen!
My goodness, fun times - come and see for yourself! :)
Visit Laura, curator of the Carrie McLain Memorial Museum, for a dash to the past (she has also been to present-day Russia).
The Museum showcases the lives of prospectors, the equipment they used, and the entrepreneurs who "mined the miners." Exhibits feature Wyatt Earp, who built a saloon in Nome.
Rare artifacts and photos of the Bering Strait Eskimos. Complete photographic history of Nome -- 14,000 images. Open daily June-September. 5 days/week the rest of the year.
The Visitors Centers is a big hit, from a hilarious video of Nome to stuffed Musk Ox, "Oscar".
Josie graciously informs visitors on all sorts of Nome knowledge. Pick up a few brochures, and see what's happening.
If you are a senior, traveling with seniors or enjoy elder company, stop by the XYZ Senior Center.
Free lunch served Monday-Friday for elders, 60 years and older. Fine food, good company, comfortable environs. Suggested $1 donation.
Norma Niclas – Center Director – helps feed the hungry. Senior citizens get daily meals and meals are delivered to shut-ins. For $5, visitors under 60 years are welcome to dine and meet Nome's elders. Great stories.
This small free museum displays exhibits of Eskimo culture and life from the Bering Strait Region, Nome Centennial and gold rush, and an extensive collection of historic Photographs.
While in Nome, you must do the gold panning, it's fun to do this by yourself and see what you come up with, watching the simmerying gold flecks shine in the sun.