Tag Archives: Nome

Alaskan Roadhouses

Alaskan Roadhouses: Shelter, Food and Lodging Along Alaska’s Roads and Trails, by Helen Hegener This 284-page book presents historic photos of dozens of individual roadhouses, along with the colorful histories are first-hand accounts of those who stayed at the roadhouses … Continue reading

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Alaskan Roadhouses

This 284-page book presents historic photos of dozens of individual roadhouses, along with the colorful histories are first-hand accounts of those who stayed at the roadhouses while traveling the early trails and roads of Alaska, including the Reverend Samuel Hall Young, Frank G. Carpenter, Judge James Wickersham, Leonhard Seppala, Col. Walter L. Goodwin, and Matilda Clark Buller, who opened a roadhouse near Nome in 1901, at the height of the Nome Gold Rush. 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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A People at Large

That more or less indefinite region north of the Yukon known as the Chandalar Country owes its name to one given by the early French-Canadian traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company to the singular native tribes that ranged there. Because these came from none knew where, recognizing no boundaries and taking to themselves no local designations, they were called gens de large––people at large. With peculiar fitness the name applies to all Alaskans, for in more ways than one we are a people at large. 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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Across Alaska in 1907-08

In October 1907, his work for the 1906-1908 Anglo-American Polar Expedition completed, Ejnar Mikkelsen set out on a formidable journey home, which would take him west along the Arctic coast from Flaxman Island, where he left Leffingwell to continue doing scientific research and mapping. Mikkelsen’s trail led to Barrow, Nome, Fort Gibbon, Manley Hot Springs, Fairbanks, and then down the Fairbanks-Valdez Trail to Valdez, where he boarded a ship for home. The first part of his journey was made by dogsled, the second half riding in the horse-drawn sledges which travelled the winter trails. 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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The First Iditarod, 2nd Edition

From 2007 to 2012 I travelled across Alaska to visit veteran mushers from the 1973 race who would share their memories of what has since become known as “The Last Great Race on Earth.” The bulk of my book is comprised of the verbatim words of these intrepid men who drove their teams on that first journey to Nome in 1973, captured through recorded and videotaped interviews and many notes and follow-up letters and emails. Continue reading

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All Alaska Sweepstakes

The historic All Alaska Sweepstakes is the oldest organized distance sled dog race in the world, with records kept by the Nome Kennel Club dating back to the first race in 1908. The race, which was held from 1908 to 1917, and commemorated with 75th and 100th anniversary races in 1983 and 2008, is the subject of All Alaska Sweepstakes: History of the Great Sled Dog Race, by Helen Hegener. Continue reading

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