Nome (Inupiaq:Sitnasuaq) is a city in the
Area of the U.S. state of
Alaska, located on the southern Seward
Peninsula coast on
Sound of the Bering
Gold Pan, Anvil City Square
According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates,
the city population was 3,590. Nome was incorporated
9, 1901, and was once the most populous city in Alaska. Nome is in
the Unorganized Borough
and lies within the region of the Bering Straits Native
(BSNC). The Sitnasuak Village Corporation
(a sort of subsidiary of BSNC) has its land holdings in and around
of Nome claims to be home to the world's largest gold pan, although
this claim has been disputed by the Canadian city of
In the winter of 1925, a diphtheria
epidemic raged among Inuit
in the Nome area.
statewide blizzard conditions prevented
delivery of a life-saving serum by airplane from Anchorage.
A relay of dog sled
teams was organized to deliver the serum
. The annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
commemorates this historic event.
The sled driver of the final leg of the relay was Gunnar Kaasen
; his lead sled dog
. A statue
of Balto by F.G. Roth stands near the zoo in Central Park, New York
ran the penultimate, and longest, leg of the 1925 serum
run to Nome. One of his dogs, Togo
considered the forgotten hero of the "Great Race of Mercy
, another of his dogs, Fritz
, is preserved and on display at the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum
The origin of the city's name "Nome" is still under debate.
The city's name may come from a point of land located twelve miles
(19 km) from the city. Cape Nome received its name from an
error, when a British mapmaker copied a map annotation made by a
British officer on a voyage up the Bering Strait. The officer had
written "? Name" next to the unnamed cape. The mapmaker misread the
annotation as "C. Nome", or Cape Nome, and used that name on his
sources have noted that "Nome" is a place name in one or more
Scandinavian countries, long pre-dating the use on the map in
question, and it is possible that the town was named after Nome, Norway, by a
navigator or cartographer familiar with that place.
In February 1899, some local miners and merchants voted to change
the name from Nome to Anvil City, because of the confusion with
Cape Nome, south, and the Nome River, the mouth of which is four
miles (6 km) south of Nome. The United States Post Office in
Nome refused to accept the change. Fearing a move of the post
office to Nome City, a mining camp on the Nome River, the merchants
unhappily agreed to change the name of Anvil City back to
Geography and climate
Nome is located at (64.503877, -163.399409).According to the
United States Census
, the city has a total area of 21.6 square miles
(55.0 km²), of which, 12.5 square miles (32.5 km²)
of it is land and 9.1 square miles (23.5 km²) of it
(41.99%) is water.
Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Source: USTravelWeather.com 
Eskimo music and dance near Nome,
As of the census
of 2000, there were 3,505
people, 1,184 households, and 749 families residing in the city.
The population density
people per square mile (108.0/km²). There were 1,356 housing units
at an average density of 108.2/sq mi (41.8/km²). The racial
makeup of the city was 51.04% Native
, 37.89% White
, 0.86% Black
or African American
, 0.06% Pacific Islander
, 0.43% from other races
, and 8.19% from two or more
of any race were 2.05% of the
There were 1,184 households out of which 38.9% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 41.7% were married couples living
together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present,
and 36.7% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up
of individuals and 3.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years
of age or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the
average family size was 3.45.
In the city, the population was spread out with 31.9% under the age
of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to
64, and 6.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
32 years. For every 100 females there were 115.2 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.8 males.
The median income
for a household in
the city was $59,402, and the median income for a family was
$68,804. Males had a median income of $50,521 versus $35,804 for
females. The per capita income
the city is $23,402. About 5.4% of families and 6.3% of the
population were below the poverty line
including 4.3% under the age of 18 and 6.9% ages 65 or older.
7 years later (1907) houses have
replaced the tents.
hunted for game on the west coast of
Alaska from prehistoric times and there is recent archeological
evidence to suggest that there was an Inupiat settlement at Nome,
known in Inupiat as Sitnasuak, before the discovery of gold.
summer of 1898, the "Three Lucky Swedes": Norwegian-American Jafet Lindeberg, and two naturalized
American citizens of Swedish birth,
Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson, discovered gold on Anvil Creek.
News of the discovery
reached the outside world that winter. By 1899, Nome had a
population of 10,000 and the area was organized as the Nome mining
In that year, gold was found in the beach
sands for dozens of miles along the coast at Nome, which spurred
the stampede to new heights. Thousands more people poured into Nome
during the spring of 1900 aboard steamships
from the ports of Seattle and San
Francisco. By 1900, a tent city on the beaches and on the treeless
coast reached 48 km (30 miles), from Cape Rodney to Cape
During the period from 1900 – 1909, estimates of Nome's population
reached as high as 20,000. The highest recorded population of Nome,
in the 1900 United States census, was 12,488. At this time, Nome
was the largest city in the Alaska
. Early in this period, the U.S. Army policed the
area, and expelled any inhabitant each autumn who did not have
shelter (or the resources to pay for shelter) for the harsh
Many late-comers were jealous of the original discoverers, and
tried to "jump" the original claims by filing mining claims
covering the same ground. The federal judge for the area ruled the
original claims valid, but some of the claim jumpers agreed to
share their invalid claims with influential Washington politicians.
a Republican party higher-up from North Dakota, took a partial interest in the jumper mining
claims, secured the appointment of his obedient crony Arthur Noyes
as the federal judge for the Nome region, and the two went together
to Alaska to steal the richest gold mines in Nome.
bald-faced theft using the federal judiciary was eventually
stopped, but provided the plot for Rex
’s best-selling novel The Spoilers
, which was
made into a stage play, then five times into movies, including one
version starring John Wayne
and Marlene Dietrich
John Wayne also starred in the movie North to Alaska
, the theme of which mentions
Nome. Wyatt Earp
also stayed in Nome for
a short period.
Fires in 1905 and 1934 and violent storms in 1900, 1913, 1945 and
1974 destroyed much of Nome's gold rush era architecture. The
pre-fire "Discovery Saloon" is now a private residence and is being
slowly restored as a landmark.
In 1925, Nome was the destination of the famous "Great Race of Mercy
", where dog sleds
played a large part in transporting diphtheria
serum through harsh conditions. In
1973, Nome became the ending point of the 1,049+ mi (1,600+ km)
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog
held in honor of the serum run.
World War II, Nome was the last stop on
the ferry system for planes flying from the United States to the
Union for the Lend-lease
The airstrip currently in use was built and troops
were stationed there. One "Birchwood" hangar remains and has been
transferred to a local group with hopes to restore it. It is not
located on the former Marks AFB (now the primary Nome Airport); rather it is a remnant of an auxiliary landing
field a mile or so away: "Satellite Field".
In the hills
north of the city, there were auxiliary facilities associated with
the Distant Early Warning
system that are visible from the city but are no longer in
Total gold production for the Nome district has been at least 3.6
University of Alaska
Fairbanks operates a regional satellite facility in Nome
called the Northwest Campus (formerly known as Northwest Community
Northwest Campus sign
Nome is served by the Nome
City School District
and the following public schools:
Nome's airwaves are filled by the radio stations KNOM
(780 AM, 96.1 FM) and KICY (850 AM
, 100.3 FM
), plus a
repeater of Anchorage's KSKA
, K216BN, on 91.3
Cable television and broadband in Nome is serviced by GCI
, which offer all popular cable
channels, plus most of Anchorage's television stations. Nome also
has three local low-powered stations, K09OW channel 9 and K13UG
channel 13 (both carrying programming from ARCS
), plus K11TH
channel 11 (a 3ABN owned and operated
Nome also is home to Alaska's oldest newspaper, the Nome Nugget
The 2009 movie The Fourth
starring Milla Jovovich
and based on Alien
abduction phenomenon entities
is set in Nome.
Nome is serviced by two airports, both state owned:
- Nome Airport - public-use airport located two nautical miles
(3.7 km) west of the central business district of Nome, it has two
asphalt paved runways: 3/21 measures 5,576 by 150 feet (1,700 x 46
m) and 10/28 is 6,001 by 150 feet (1,829 x 46 m).
- Nome City Field - a public-use airport located one nautical mile
(1.85 km) north of the central business district of Nome, it has
one runway designated 3/21 with a gravel surface measuring
Nome has a seaport, used by freight ships and cruise ships.
There are small roads to communities up to from Nome. There is no
road connection to the major cities of Alaska.
There are no railroads going to or from Nome.
- A.H Koschman and M.H. Bergendahl (1968) Principal
Gold-Producing Districts of the United States, US Geological
Survey, Professional Paper 610, p.18.
- http://www.nomealaska.org/port/index.html City of Nome,
- City of
- University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections –
Frank H. Nowell Photographs Photographs documenting scenery,
towns, businesses, mining activities, Native Americans, and Eskimos
in the vicinity of Nome, Alaska from 1901-1909.
- University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections –
Wilhelm Hester Photographs 345 photographs ca. 1893-1906 of
Puget Sound sailing vessels and ships' crews, the Alaska Gold Rush
in Nome and vicinity in 1900, images of logging activities in
Washington state, and San Francisco's Chinatown.
- University of Washington Libraries Digital
Collections – Eric A. Hegg Photographs 736 photographs from 1897-1901
documenting the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes, including
depictions of frontier life in Skagway and Nome, Alaska and Dawson,