Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In the winter of 1925, a diphtheria epidemic among Eskimos in Nome was halted when, during fierce blizzard conditions, a sled team arrived with serum. The sled driver was Gunnar Kaasen and the lead sled dog was Balto. A statue of Balto by F.G. Roth stands near the zoo in Central Park, New York, as does one in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. The annual Iditarod sled-dog race commemorates this historic event.
Nome is located at 64°30'14" North, 165°23'58" West (64.503877, -165.399409).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.9 km² (21.6 mi²). 32.5 km² (12.5 mi²) of it is land and 23.5 km² (9.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 41.99% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 3,505 people, 1,184 households, and 749 families residing in the city. The population density is 108.0/km² (279.7/mi²). There are 1,356 housing units at an average density of 41.8/km² (108.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 51.04% Native American, 37.89% White, 1.54% Asian, 0.86% Black or African American, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.43% from other races, and 8.19% from two or more races. 2.05% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 1,184 households out of which 38.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.7% are married couples living together, 12.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% are non-families. 27.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 3.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.79 and the average family size is 3.45.
In the city the population is spread out with 31.9% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 115.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 117.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $59,402, and the median income for a family is $68,804. Males have a median income of $50,521 versus $35,804 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,402. 6.3% of the population and 5.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 4.3% of those under the age of 18 and 6.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The west coast of Alaska was hunted by Inupiat from prehistoric times. However, there was no permanent settlement there until 1898, when three Swedes, Jafet Lindberg, Erik Lindblöm and John Brynteson, discovered gold on Anvil Creek. News reached the gold fields of the Klondike that winter. By 1899 Nome had a population of 10,000. It was not until gold was discovered in the beach sands in 1899 that news about the gold reached the lower United States. Thousands of people poured into Nome during the spring of 1900 aboard steamships from the ports of Seattle and San Francisco. By 1900, a tent city on the beaches and on the treeless coast reached 48 km (30 miles), from Cape Rodney to Cape Nome.
During the period from 1900 - 1909 estimates of Nome's population reached as high as 20,000. The highest recorded population in of Nome, in the 1900 United State census, was 12,488. At this time, Nome was the largest city in the Alaska Territory.
In February 1899, a group of men who had property and mining claims on the near present-day Nome agreed to change the name of the new mining camp from Nome to Anvil City, because of the confusion with Cape Nome, a point of land located twelve miles from the city and Nome Creek, four miles from Nome. Cape Nome had received its name from a copying error, when a Britsh mapmaker copied an annotation from a map made by a British officer had made on a voyage up the Bering Strait. The officer had written "? Name" next to the unnamed cape. The mapmaker misread the annotation as "C. Nome", or Cape Nome, and used that name on his map. The United States Post Office in Nome refused to change its name to Anvil City and the residents of Anvil City were afraid that the post office would move to Nome City, a mining camp on the Nome River. They voted and unhappily agreed to change the name of Anvil City back to Nome.
Fires in 1905 and 1934 and violent storms in 1900, 1913, 1945 and 1974 destroyed much Nome's gold rush architecture.
During World War II, Nome was the last stop on the ferry system for planes flying from the United States to the Soviet Union for the Lend-lease program. The airstrip currently in use was built and troops were stationed there.
In 1925, Nome was the destination of the famous Mercy Race to Nome, where dog sleds played a large part in transporting diphtheria serum through harsh conditions. In 1973, Nome became the ending point of the 1049-mile-long (1690 km) Iditarod dog sled race held in honor of the serum run.
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