Nome is a town (pop.3500) located on the Seward Peninsula in the far west of Alaska, near the International Date Line. It's very remote and cannot be reached by road. There is a local airport, and Nome is also the destination of the famous Iditarod dogsled race.

It became a famous mining town in 1900, after gold was discovered on the beaches. There was a great gold rush and Nome briefly became the largest city in Alaska. Its name actually comes from its original lack of one - "no name" evolved into Nome.

The great explorer Captain Cook is the most likely cause of Nome's name. The legend goes that he found the large cape or outcropping of rock now known as Cape Nome, which presently contains a large quarry, and wasn't sure what to call it. He wrote "no name" on his map, which then was misread or shortened by others as "Nome".

Nome is the only "wet" town in the Seward Peninsula. Translation: all the Eskimos come there to get drunk. Nome itself has more bars than any other building, littering Main Street, and surrounding some churches. There being no alcohol in any other part of the peninsula, none of the Eskimos are exceptional drinkers. When they come into to the "big city" of Nome to sell their Ivory and other commodities, they invariably get caught at the bars, leaving me to dodge drunken Inuits when I walked down the streets.

Nome lies on the southern side of the Seward Peninsula, named after the man who bought Alaska from the Russians for an incredibly low sum. To the east of the town is Cape Nome, for which the town is named. Just to the North is Anvil Rock, a large and recognizable rock outcropping at the top of an impressive hill. The rock looks exactly like a giant's anvil, sitting on top of the mountain waiting for its master's return. The hill also contains numerous deceased military complexes, such as radar stations used in WWII. Old military hardware litters the peninsula, with thousands upon thousands of 55-gallon barrels piled in heaps in random places in the countryside.

Last I knew, Nome is home to the only Burger King in that part of Alaska, and has many characteristics of a much larger city, such as a decent airport. The "Golden Nugget Inn" is the largest hotel, which services the tourists who come to the old mining town. While the gold mining used to be huge in Nome, its relics can still be seen. Driving towards Cape Nome, you pass the famous derelict train, which sits, silent in a field. The old dredge buckets, used by giant machines that scooped the ground up with the giant metal scoops, are now used for everything from storage to flower gardens.

Biographical note: I lived in Nome for two summers while my dad worked for the government doing contracted environmental cleanup work. It involved picking up all those barrels, deconstructing 40 year old fuel storage tanks, and flying around in a helicopter looking for things. A very interesting couple of summers.

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