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Alaska Facts and History
Did you know that during the Nome gold rush they were picking up gold, right on the beach? Meet the “Three Lucky Swede's” who started it all in this edition.
Click on the video above to see the movie previews for North to Alaska. And enjoy the memories.
Do you remember the John Wayne movie, “North to Alaska”?
The movie was about the Nome, Alaska gold rush. But while the Duke’s (John Wayne’s) movie was a lot of fun, it was a fictionalized account of a gold strike in Alaska.
The Real Gold Rush Began in 1898
The photo above is Anvil Creek in Nome, in 1902
In 1898, Eric Lindblom, John Brynteson and Jafet Lindberg met in the Circle City mining district and decided to look for gold along the western coast of Alaska.
While Lindberg was Norwegian, the men became known as the “Three Lucky Swede’s” when they struck gold.
Their strike happened in the Nome mining district at Anvil Creek in the fall of 1898.
The photo above shows a steam ship headed to Nome in 1906.
In no time, thousands of prospectors and others, descended on Nome, Alaska looking to strike it rich.
They staked claims along Anvil Creek and tributaries of the Snake River.
By the end of 1899, the population of Nome had swelled to 10,000.
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Gold on the Beach
In the photo above, a man and woman look for gold on the beach at Nome
Many stampeders arrived too late to stake claims near the mouth of the Snake River. So they pitched their tents right on the beach – where they made an amazing discovery.
They found gold right on the beach. The find was quickly called “a poor man’s paradise”.
The beach could NOT be staked and claims were open to everyone. As seen in the picture above, all that was needed was a shovel, a bucket, and a rocker to separate the gold from the sand.
20,000 People in Nome
Soon, the beaches of Nome were filled with a crush of more than 20,000 people.
The bustling town filled with 100 saloons, stores, restaurants, and hastily constructed wooden buildings were everywhere,
By 1900, tents were set up along the beach for 30 miles, from Cape Nome to Cape Rodney.
By 1905, Nome had a hospital, churches, schools, stores, a Post Office and even an electric light plant.
A hothouse on a sand spit across the Snake River provided fresh vegetables.
The photo above is 1905
Some of the first automobiles in Alaska were driving on planks laid out on Front Street in Nome.
End of the Rush
By 1909, the population of Nome had gone from 20,000 to around 2,600.
By 1920, the mining company owned by the “Three Lucky Swede’s” had made around $20 million dollars.
Wyatt Earp Made a Fortune in Nome
Yes, famous lawman Wyatt Earp had made his way to Nome during the strike. He left with around $80 thousand dollars.
“Three Lucky Swede’s”
The original claims of Eric Lindblom, John Brynteson and Jafet Lindberg, the “Three Lucky Swede’s” are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can easily learn more about this incredible time in Alaska’s history.
Take a look at the Nome Gold Rush and discover.
Experience gold fever and the Klondike gold rush. And meet Skagway’s famous con man, Soapy Smith. All in an e-book written by Mike of Anchorage Memories.
Take a look at Gold Fever, Skagway and Soapy Smith and discover.
From Our North Stars (that’s you)
From our Anchorage Parks Memories edition:
“It was great for you to include the bit about ARR Locomotive #556 in your article about the parks. You should check into the status of ARR #557, which is the sister engine to #556. Thanks for your efforts.”
“I first lived near 9th and C and began kindergarten at Denali in 1951. Our family moved to a new apartment. home in 1953. The park strip was where we learned baseball and ping-pong at 10th and E St. Mom was scorekeeper and Dad coached our little league team. We won the state championship in 1957.”
“I grew up playing at the park with the train!”
“We used to call the train on display at Delaney Park “The Moose-gooser” and spent many a winter afternoon/evening at the ice rink next door.”
Becky (by the way, Becky sent us a longer story, but we didn’t have enough room)
“We generally spent most of our “kid time” at Valley of the Moon. So (the) video has a TON of great memories, all the way through. Thank you!”
“I remember this park and the train as a small child. I went to Denali Elementary school and sometimes after school my mom would take me to play on the train. Also remember an ice skating rink at the park. Great articles and great memories. Thank you”
“After school we all went to the Park Strip. Mostly late spring, summer and early fall. I remember the steam engine before the fence. I think everyone was all over it. I learned to play baseball and football on the strip. And I remember the hockey rink on the strip.”
Did You Know?
The photo above was taken on June 12, 1960
Can you tell what’s happening by the signs some people are holding? That’s right, U.S. President Dwight D Eisenhower was paying a visit. Are you in the crowd?
Do you recognize any businesses in the photo?
Get in Touch
Time to put away your shovels and buckets as we say goodbye to the Nome Gold Rush in this edition of the Anchorage Memories VIP Club.
In the photo above are Mary and Mike of Anchorage Memories.
We really do love hearing from our North Stars (that’s the name you earn when you join the Anchorage Memories VIP Club).
Do you have a comment, question, or do you just want to say, “I remember when Ike (President Eisenhower) visited Anchorage.”
You can reply to this email, or you can Contact Us directly.
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary