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The Gold Rush Of Nome

The town of Nome sits where the Snake River spills into the Bering Sea. During the 18th century, the Russians would stop around the area while they were fishing or whaling. There was fur traders also that use to stop in the Nome area as well. Prospectors had been through the area and found gold in different creeks but it wasn't until 1898 that a team of three prospectors actually found gold in Nome. Dubbed the "Three lucky Swedes" Jafet Lindeberg, Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson, discovered gold on outside of present day Nome on Anvil Creek.

It was in the fall of the year that the discovery took place but news travlled hard and fast over the winter months. By the spring of 1899 there was a record 10,000 miners in the town of Nome. Of course there was no town at that time. Just some slapped together shacks and tents but Nome was on the map and it was gold that put it there.

The gold in Nome is fine and gold and is washed up on the beaches of the Bering Sea. Miners would just sluice this beach sand much like they still do today as each year the ocean washes up small amounts of gold with it's rising and lowering tides. There was gold everywhere. Miners came from all over the world. There was even a ship with miners from Australia. By 1900 there was thousands of miners and the tent city that sprung out of nowhere was now as long as 30 miles along the coast line.

As with most gold rushes there is the greed factor that comes into play. A lot of the late comers found that most of the creeks and beaches were staked up so a lot of them resorted to old fashion claim jumping. One of these claim jumpers was a fellow by the name of Alexander McKenzie who was a from the Dakotas. He set about seizing mining claims with the help of a crooked judge. It was because of all this claim jumping and crooked behaviour that Fort Davies was built on the Nome River. The fort housed soldiers who were assigned to help keep the peace in this lawless area of thousands of miners.

Millions of dollars in gold were mined out in Nome. By 1905 the town was booming and getting permanent structures. The town had a hospital, churches, schools, newspapers, several saloons and just as many stores. They even had an electrical power house as well as a heated greenhouse provided fresh vegetables. By 1909 the population had reached 20,000. In about 1920 the gold started to run out and the population started to drop as people moved on. The amount of gold that had been mined in the Nome district is at least 3.6 million ounces. It is said that the "Three Swedes" made $20,000,000.

Mining still goes on to this day in Nome. Every summer miners sluice the beaches. There is even a TV show called "Bering Sea Gold" where dredgers work the ocean bottom and the gold is still there waiting to be found.

Discovery claim on Anvil Creek

Nome today

Tents everywhere