NOME, ALASKA

Like many Alaska communities, Nome is a result of a gold rush. “Three Lucky Swedes” found gold here in 1898, and by 1899, Nome had 10,000 residents. The dredging and panning of gold remained the most important industry well into the 1950s, although by then the Rush was long over and the population was closer to its current size, hovering under 4,000. In 1925, a terrible epidemic of diptheria broke out among the Alaskan Native population, and an heroic emergency rescue was organized to deliver serum by means of dog sleds. Today’s Iditerod dog sled race, which ends in Nome, is a memorial to that rescue. Visit the Claire M. McClain Memorial Museum on Front Street for more information about the history of Nome. Also of interest are the surviving gold dredges, the “World’s Largest Gold Pan,” watching the innumerable migratory birds that summer nearby and fishing in the area’s many rivers.