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Nome Alaska Ghost Town -  Not really.

Photos Mike Sinnwell 2014 June

Make sure you look for the guy standing on the beach looking for gold as the sand runs through his fingers. I went here for the gold. I walked away empty handed.  Yes we drank beer in the Breakers bar and we met Emily Riedel and we saw the Christine Rose and the AU Grabber, and Wyatt Earp's Bar,  etc. But that is definitely a different story.

In 1897 three prospectors from Council City investigated reports of gold near Cape Nome. Storms forced their boat into the mouth of the Snake River, 30 miles short of their destination. Finding gold on nearby sandbars, they continued their search. Eventually they came to Anvil Creek where they panned great amounts of coarse gold.

The lucky Swedes," as the prospectors were nicknamed, were John Brynteson, Jafet Lindeberg, and Erik Lindblom. After resupplying at Golovin, a trading post about 100 miles to the east, they set out again for Anvil Creek. There they formed the Cape Nome Mining District. The three staked 43 claims for themselves and another 47 for friends and relatives.

Word of the Anvil Creek gold strike traveled up the Yukon River to Dawson that winter. Gold camps along the river and Dawson itself emptied as hundreds rushed west to the new strikes.

One day, one of the soldiers at Nome went to get water near the mouth of the Snake River. He found gold in the beach sands. An Idaho prospector named John Hummel went to work with a gold rocker and recovered $1,200 in gold in 20 days. Frenzied digging on the beach ensued. One observer noted "Every man in Nome, be he physician or carpenter, lawyer or barkeeper, dropped his usual vocation and went to work with a shovel and rocker."

After the initial strikes, mining companies organized to recover gold on a large scale. These operations were often financed by wealthy absentee owners. Hydraulic mining with pressurized hoses that could wash larger quantities of rock began. Dredges, too, were introduced. By 1915, 21 dredges worked gulches and streams of the Seward Peninsula.

By 1905 Nome had schools, churches, newspapers, a hospital, saloons, stores, and other businesses. A hothouse on the sand-spit across the Snake River provided fresh vegetables. Some of the first automobiles in Alaska ran on the planks of Front Street. Travelers going to the mines at Council City rode in the warmth and comfort of heated stages. These horse-drawn stages were covered with canvas and equipped with small stoves.