Category Archives: Sled Dog History

Hudson Stuck’s Sled Bag

The Episcopalian minister Hudson Stuck, known as the Archdeacon of the Yukon, published five books about his travels and adventures in Alaska, including Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled, published in 1914.

In that book a photograph appears, and a sled bag can be seen hanging from the handlebars. That sled bag is on permanent display at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks. Continue reading

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Leonhard Seppala House

The Leonhard Seppala House was named as one of the Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties for 2020 by the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation, Inc., which is dedicated to the preservation of Alaska’s prehistoric and historic resources through education, promotion and advocacy. Preservation of the built environment provides a vital link and visible reminder of the past, emphasizing the continuity and diversity of Alaska. Continue reading

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Togo’s Serum Run

As the worldwide fight against the coronavirus goes on we are reminded almost daily that pandemics and epidemics have happened before, and we have struggled through them with far fewer resources and much less medical and scientific knowledge than we have now. That is a very real comfort, and lends a bit of perspective to what we are facing. One such epidemic was a deadly diphtheria outbreak which raged across Alaska almost 100 years ago.  Continue reading

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Sled Dog Movies

Last year, 2018, was noted by the Chinese calendar’s zodiac as being the Year of the Dog, but this year, 2019, seems to be the Year of the Sled Dog, as film after film featuring heroic sled dogs is released to movie theaters and home streaming services. There are two movies about the great Serum Run to Nome during the 1925 diphtheria epidemic, one focusing on the champion musher Leonhard Seppala, and the other on his favorite lead dog, Togo. One is an independent production, the other is from the powerhouse film company Disney Studios, but both are absorbing stories, beautifully filmed. Another champion musher, the sprint racing legend George Attla, is the subject of a new PBS documentary, and one of the greatest dog stories of all time is brought to life by a great film legend, Harrison Ford. Pass the popcorn! Continue reading

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Mush with PRIDE

The organization Mush with P.R.I.D.E., established in 1991 as an organization of mushers who were concerned about the care of sled dogs and public perceptions of mushing, supports the responsible care and humane treatment of all dogs, and is dedicated to enhancing the care and treatment of sled dogs in their traditional and modern uses. Continue reading

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The Ascent of Denali

Hudson Stuck (1865–1920), known as the Archdeacon of the Yukon and the Arctic, was an Episcopal priest, social reformer, and mountain climber in the territory of Alaska who co-led the first expedition to successfully climb Denali (Mount McKinley) in June, 1913. He wrote a book based on the climb, The Ascent of Denali (Mount McKinley): A Narrative of the First Complete Ascent of the Highest Peak in North America, which was published in February, 1914 by Charles Scribers Sons, New York.  Continue reading

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Project Jukebox: Mushing

“Dog Mushing in Alaska” highlights stories related to the history of dog mushing in Alaska, showcasing historic oral history interviews and incorporating new recordings into the collection. The recordings included in this project represent various aspects of dog mushing, including traditional use, freighting, mail carrying, recreational use, tourism, sled building, trail systems, dog care, and racing.  Continue reading

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Tribute to a Sled Dog

Prologue: Tribute to a Sled Dog, from “Sled dog : and other poems of the North,” by Charles E. Gillham, associate editor of Field & Stream magazine, an outdoor writer and game biologist. In 1934 he transferred to the Canadian Arctic as a Federal waterfowl biologist, and his arctic service resulted in four books, “The Raw North,” “Sled Dog,” “Beyond the Clapping Mountains” and “Medicine Men of Hooper Bay.” He left Alaska in 1945. Continue reading

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Planet Mackey

Lance Mackey’s achievements were such that they caught the attention of two famous astronomers, and they named a minor planet in his honor. Continue reading

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Sled Dog Mail

Dogs were capable of covering long distances, day or night, and could travel over frozen lakes and rivers and pass through dense forests. By 1901, a network of mail trails throughout Alaska was in use, including a system that followed almost the entire length of the Yukon River. The historic 2,300-mile Iditarod Trail was the main dog trail that carried mail from Seward to Nome. Continue reading

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