Nome - Encyclopedia

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NOME, a mining town about 12 m. W. of Cape Nome, on the S. shore of Seward Peninsula, Alaska, in 1900 the largest settlement in the district. Pop. (1910) 2600. Gulch gold was discovered near Nome on Anvil Creek in September 1898, and diggings in the ocean beach were first worked in July 1899. The rush to Nome in 1900 was one of the most remarkable stampedes in American mining history; the town soon had hotels, banks, stores, several newspapers and weekly mails from the States, and for part of the year there were, it was estimated, 20,000 inhabitants. This rapidity of growth and the isolation of the settlement raised prices to extraordinary heights, and in other respects created economic conditions remarkable even among Alaskan mining camps. By 1903 the population had greatly decreased, and in subsequent years the winter population averaged about 3500, the summer population from 7000 to 8000. In 1905 the gold output of the Nome region amounted to about $2,500,000, nearly all from placers, though some quartz mining was done. A municipal government and local police force were early organized after the fashion of American mining communities, and United States soldiers from the St Michael reservation aided in the preservation of order. The greatest drawback to the town's prosperity is the lack of any good harbour nearer than Point Clarence, 80 m. W. The winter ice-floes, sometimes 30 ft. high on the beach, render harbour improvements at Nome almost impossible. There is connexion with Seattle by steamer (since 1904) in about 82 days. In 1901 the town was incorporated under the laws of the United States. It is the north-western terminus of the United States military telegraph. It was first called Anvil City; the name "Nome" is derived from Cape Nome, first so called on a chart dated 1849, and said to have been a draughtsman's mistake for the query "? Name" on the original chart.

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